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April 30, 2009

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April 30, 2009

I started subscribing to International Rivers in the 1980s when I got a grant to study and write about Canada's major rivers. It took me across the country finding out how people treated their rivers and how rivers shaped societies and vice versa. I learned that yes water sometimes does run out. Flying over the Nile is unforgettable. It's cheering to see that now the media seems to recognize and respect our most valuable natural resource. International Rivers must take credit for this. It certainly helped make me a lifetime river addict!

The Great!

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

greater awareness in the Canadian public and media about the value of water.

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make everyone in the English/Spanish/French speaking world more aware of the crucial importance of water - and rivers - to our survival, especially as the planet seems to be heating up.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006

April 30, 2009

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April 30, 2009

International Rivers (or IRN as it was formerly known) is a non-govt. organisation that in my opinion is exemplary in its approach and gets to the heart of the problem. By this I mean that in terms of its approach and philosophy towards confronting the very real threats that face the world's rivers, it has always led the way in getting the right balance between public information and pragmatic lobbying and advocacy work behind the scenes. No other organisation that I can think of manages to achieve the same amount of public awareness of environmental issues, while still keeping its original values and visions to protect human rights of communities along with free-flowing rivers. I can speak from my experience of working in the countries of the Lower Mekong Basin, that International Rivers has consistently been vocal and ubiquitous in speaking out for the rights of affected communities in the face of devastating impacts caused by hydropower dams and ill-conceived development projects. As a result, they are widely respected and have achieved much progress in raising thorny issues concerned with individual dam projects and wider development programmes with a variety of actors on all sides of the debate, which might otherwise have been brushed under the carpet. Furthermore, I can vouch for the integrity and selfless commitment of the IR staff members I've had the pleasure to meet and work with over the past eight years, who are totally dedicated to fighting for the interests of rivers and the people that rely on them for lives and livelihoods. This was brought home most clearly by the incredible feat of organising the Rivers for Life meeting of dam affected people from across the world at Rasi Salai in Thailand in 2003. Despite difficult conditions and limited budgets, the staff and local people involved managed to pull off a fantastic conference without the need for a fancy hotel so beloved of more profligate organisations that claim to act on behalf of the environment, that really cemented solidarity amongst the hundreds of people involved to fight on against bad dams, ill-conceived policy, corruption, human rights abuses, poor governance, etc. To sum up, International Rivers encapsulates for me everything that an environmental NGO should embody and I hope it never loses sight of the principles and goals on which it was founded. It deserves praise for the struggles it engages in and light it shines on often hidden issues in the Global South.

The Great!

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

changing awareness of social and environmental issues surrounding dam projects in the Mekong Basin, SE Asia

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting the staff and seeing the dedication and enthusiasm they put into their work, even under very testing circumstances.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated, hard working, knowledgeable, practical, adaptable and good humoured.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

After a quick celebration, start spending some of it to fight the destructive dam building projects springing up across South and East Asia, by establishing good and relevant research to challenge the claims of the dam lobby, and empowering local communities to carry on local struggles and build resilience.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

April 30, 2009

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April 30, 2009

International Rivers have played a crucial role in exposing the fraudulent nature of carbon emissions trading and in defending the rights of riverine peoples from corporate and governmental exploitation. Their research and advocacy are superb. Professor Michael Northcott, University of Edinburgh, UK

The Great!

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

Exposing carbon trade fraud and proposing more appropriate and effective forms of carbon reduction.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 29, 2009

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April 29, 2009

International Rivers does great work supporting communities, promoting good global governance, and protecting precious water resources. Thanks to them for their efforts!

The Great!

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

work on global climate policy

Ways to make it better...

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

More feedback...

Ways to make it better...

we had more time to work together.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 29, 2009

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April 29, 2009

International Rivers works through smart engagement in international processes, solid research, and respectful support for regional partners. The staff are exceedingly bright and capable, and they are deeply committed to IR's mission.

The Great!

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

the increased public awareness of the damaging aspects of hydropower dams.

Ways to make it better...

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

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the wit and charm that accompanies great environmental activism.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

competent, thoughtful and energetic, with a great sense of teamwork.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make the world's rivers run clearer and deeper.

Ways to make it better...

IR didn't have to worry about the financial crisis and could get on with its substantive work.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the tremendous scale of the task compared to the resources available to accomplish it.

One thing I'd also say is that...

the climate change crisis increases the value of water running in streams and rivers at the same time it increases demand for hydropower. IR is an important advocate to see that destructive dams aren't built in the name of renewable energy.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 29, 2009

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April 29, 2009

The best and most powerful NGO around the world to protect rivers. Its efforts to spread public awareness are also substantial.

The Great!

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

Several newspapers.

Ways to make it better...

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

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

To see that its work gest results

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Very kind and helpful

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help local communities to protect their rivers

Ways to make it better...

I have had more time and resources

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 29, 2009

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April 29, 2009

I've followed International Rivers since 1996 and (full disclosure here) served on its board until 2007. I previously worked for five years on the staff of a major foundation and have served on the boards of five other nonprofit organizations. I can say without hesitation that International Rivers is one of the most professional, forward-thinking, courageous, efficient and exciting organizations I've ever had the privilege to know. They have done a better job of combining grassroots, bottom-up activism with effective global policy influence than any other environmental group I know. I recommend in the highest terms to any donor.

The Great!

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

the prevention of destructive river development, the training and empowerment of local communities, and significant influence on the policies of governments and international funding organizations.

Ways to make it better...

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

find the money to increase salaries and benefits of the staff, who are significantly underpaid for what they do.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the professionalism, dedication, openness and cohesion of the staff.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

knowledgeable about all aspects of the environmental struggle surrounding river preservation, courageous in taking the truth to powerful organizations, and highly sensitive to the feelings and needs of local communities.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

prevent the destruction of at least 20% of what remains of the world's most significant watersheds.

Ways to make it better...

much less time and energy were required to raise the funds needed to get the work done.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

going up against industries that are hugely well-funded; and raising awareness of the public at large about the critical role played by watersheds in preservation of both climate and environmental complexity.

One thing I'd also say is that...

a donor gets absolutely maximum leverage out of every dollar given to IR.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 29, 2009

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April 29, 2009

International Rivers is a fantastic organization which is focused on humanitarian environmentalism. They work directly with individuals to get their message out and inspire activism. They are working for the simple cause of human rights to water access and fighting humankind's apparent increasing desire to control nature for the benefit of few. International Rivers is a team of highly dedicated men and women working kindly and cooperatively to better our planet. What could be better?

The Great!

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

the news. The work IR is doing in Patagonia and Ethiopia is huge right now. And they're making progress!

Ways to make it better...

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

recruit harder for volunteers.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the kind, unobtrusive, and effective ways it works to persuade the public to get involved.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated, kind, and well educated on the issues that matter.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

do a hell of a lot of good for the people down stream of rivers which are set to be damed. They could be even more proactive with the big companies which are planning to dam and save many lives (flora and fauna included).

Ways to make it better...

...ummm....

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding and marketing their message

One thing I'd also say is that...

there need to be more organizations like IR who are so committed to the cause of humanitarian environmentalism

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

April 29, 2009

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April 29, 2009

I first learned about the International Rivers Non-profit organization through the retailer Patagonia. I shop them on line because there are no stores in San Antonio where I live. I also shop Patagonia because of their commitment to the environment. Though Patagonia's web site I got involved with International Rivers. About a year ago, I saw a link to petition to save a river. It was then that I started learning the real impact of our rivers on the environments well being. I was amazed. I started receiving regular emails about rivers around the world and how I could help. I am so proud to be part of something greater than myself as well as make a difference seemingly so easy! I am grateful for this organization, as our rivers are the life blood of our world and without their health who knows what will happen to our world.

The Great!

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

Through their web updates.

Ways to make it better...

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

ensure the organization met with as many nonprofit and corporations to discuss how we could work together as well as get communities around the world involved.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

They are very personal and informative.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

on line and are very sincere, caring, and stewards/ stewardesses of our planet!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Make some serious headway in spreading the word and getting people involved around the world.

Ways to make it better...

I lived near the organization and could be part of it in person.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the knowledge of the general publics role in their cause.

One thing I'd also say is that...

any nonprofit out their bettering the planet and our society is not given enough credit.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 29, 2009

more

April 29, 2009

In its careful documentation of the impacts of large dam development International Rivers has managed to put people and the environment on equal standing. The awareness that water IS life resonates in everything that they do. Their work with communities is illustrates the best in collaborative engagement: respectful work that enhances knowledge and the capacity of affected peoples to assert basic rights to life, health, and livelihood.

The Great!

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

the emergence of a global "rivers for life" movement.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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