Central Asia Institute

Rating: 3.08 stars   50 reviews

Issues: International

Location: PO Box 7209 Bozeman MT 59771 USA

Mission: Central Asia Institute (CAI) works with communities in remote areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, to promote education, especially for girls. At home and abroad, CAI is committed to sharing its expert knowledge with the public. Together we can cultivate peace, nurture hope, and change the world, one child at a time.
Results: Central Asia Institute has: - Built and or supported just under 300 schools - Constructed or sponsored 48 women’s vocational and literacy centers - Created 34 public health programs - Established 9 scholarship programs - Undertaken 16 community programs
Programs: Since its founding in 1996, Central Asia Institute has:
  • Built and or supported just under 300 schools
  • Constructed or sponsored 48 women’s vocational and literacy centers
  • Created 34 public health programs
  • Established 9 scholarship programs
  • Undertaken 16 community programs
  • CAI’s service-learning program, Pennies for Peace (P4P), was started in 1994 to teach children that a little goes a long way. By raising pennies to donate to impoverished schoolchildren in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, kids discover their potential as humanitarians and philanthropists. While a penny is virtually worthless in many societies, it can open the door to literacy for a child in Central Asia.
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    EIN 51-0376237
    406.585.7841
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    Community Reviews

    Role: Professional with expertise in this field
    Rating: 1 stars  

    7 people found this review helpful

    I've spent many years in Afghanistan. I donated good money to the CAI nearly a decade ago. Greg Mortenson has been proven a thief. Believe me when I say this: putting up schools in these countries cost's nearly nothing out of pocket, but costs nearly everything out of heart and passion. When I was in the Marines, we built three schools in 1 DAY! You know what took 6 months? Getting students there, getting teachers to stay, getting girls there and getting supplies. Mr. Mortenson, you may think one day that people will see your overall effort as positive. Don't, for a second, think that I will. Spending $1.5 million on domestic travel for yourself. What you've done is beyond forgivable - not because we can't forgive, because we must forgive - but because a man of your malicious moral fiber can never be upstanding. There's a reason you spent your twenties living in a car - if that was even true - because you can only steal your wealth.

    How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

    Badly

    How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

    A lot

    Will you recommend this organization to others?

    No

    When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

    2012

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    Review from CharityNavigator
    Role: Professional with expertise in this field
    Rating: 5 stars  

    2 people found this review helpful

    Regardless of whether or not CAI has exaggerated its reports, one should pay particular attention to the impact that CAI has had at the grassroots levels - on the "local" populations. It appears to me that those higher up the bureaucratic chain are quick to join the bandwagon in pointing out how CAI could have been sounder in its decisions, or conducted better work. However, at the end of the day, let us be realistic. We are dealing with areas of the world where the government, NATO, or US security forces had a minimal presence and most definitely did not address the education needs of the marginalized. CAI has been performing and continues to perform great feats under great challenges.

    Thank you

    A helpful article to put what I have said into perspective:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13125953

    I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

    My conversations with a few individuals from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

    With better transparency and less pay for Mr. Mortenson, CAI should be supported in its work. I think his personal salary in comparison to CAI’s revenues is too high, especially when your compare his salary to those leading international organizations such as the American Red Cross. I suppose further investigations over time will provide CAI the opportunity to restore is image.

    How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

    Life-changing

    Will you recommend this organization to others?

    Definitely

    What is unique about this organization?

    The area where it functions. The scope of its work.

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    Review from CharityNavigator
    Rating: 1 stars  

    2 people found this review helpful

    If you are considering donating money to CAI, please understand that this organization has effectively been committing fraud. I have spent years in the development field and this is not an uncommon result when an individual sets up a program without a good management team, board of directors and other forms of proper oversight. Until the management team admit their mistakes and make the necessary changes you should consider giving your hard earned money to more effective organizations.

    I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

    No need for firsthand experience; the research has been done by many other respected individuals and institutions that confirm the serious deficiencies with CAI.

    If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

    New board, hire a staff accountant (!), admit mistakes, change policy concerning financial support for Mr. Mortenson's activities, replace Mr. Mortenson with a professional NGO manager who has solid experience in both management and international development.

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    Review from Guidestar