By Rohana Sengupta 

Weddings are a joyous and momentous time of the year where we gather family and friends to celebrate the symbol of joint eternal love between a couple (while, let’s face it, our wallets cringe ever so slightly). With that celebration, we shower love by giving the couple gifts that we either find on their registry (which let’s face it, end up being used maybe once in a lifetime, or only on special occasions) or through a check. That gift is a symbol of our love and support for the couple, and that’s why even knowing the sad truth of our gift’s end result, we continue the tradition.

Well, whether you’re a wedding attendee or a couple, there is actually more potential in a wedding gift than you may know. By choosing the right gift on a wedding registry, you could actually change the world, save lives, and end hunger! How fabulous is that? Be in love and spread the love!

Check this out: this year, 2.3 million couples will get married in the United States and will receive $19 billion worth of wedding gifts (that’s a ton of gravy boats that you’ll only be using once in a lifetime). Imagine if each couple added just one more gift to their registries – a gift that would help a family in need. Now, you can register to provide a charcoal-efficient stove for a woman in Kenya and save a woman from cooking over an open fire! And guess what, you can do that for only $35.00 (I think your wallet and/or storage cabinet just stopped wincing)! Want to know how? Keep on reading, we got you covered here at Bibi!

The Adventure Project is an innovative, new approach to charity that also focuses on businesses.They optimize the resources already available to them, by recruiting local individuals to become entrepreneurs, to create a difference and use rigorous data to understand the most effective ways to move individuals out of poverty – for good. This comes from a strong dedication to their beliefs/mission that:
• When local economies thrive, children survive and families escape poverty faster. Increased incomes are also proven to reduce conflict.
• By channeling charity strategically towards jobs that lift people out of poverty, local communities are transformed with life-saving services.

In order to implement their mission, The Adventure Project works with local organizations that have remarkable track records. Each local organization is creating measurable impact, but needs additional funds to scale and train more people. The Adventure Project fills a critical need, called a “Pioneer Gap,” a time when an organization is achieving transformative impact, but lacks the funds to scale and serve more people. They add venture capital so they can deepen their impact and expand their work to new villages and countries. They empower the organizations around them that are already making strides to improve the world and build off of their ideas to create a joint, team effort to solve problems that should have never existed in the first place.

For instance, did you know that over four million people die each year from breathing in toxic smoke from cooking over open fires? In fact, it’s one of the largest – and least known – killers of women and children! Crazy, right? When Becky Straw, co-founder and CEO of The Adventure Project, found this out, she decided to take action. Straw is tying the knot this June and, in creating her own registry, was inspired to initiate this giving campaign. She shares: “As the co-founder of The Adventure Project, I’ve witnessed how a simple stove can transform a woman’s life. So while I have been busy adding pots and pans to our own wedding registry, I wanted to ensure we share our blessings with others. It’s such an easy way to help.” Prior to The Adventure Project and taking the initiative to create this beautiful movement, Straw spent three years helping to launch charity: water, a nonprofit organization bringing safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Straw has consulted for UNICEF’s Division of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, and graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in International Social Welfare.

By creating an opportunity for improved quality stoves, The Adventure Project and Straw are creating an opportunity to create safer, more efficient job opportunities for women (particularly inKenya) and creating a more sustainable environment. “Stoves are made locally and sold by men and women in Kenya. Both masons and vendors earn commission for every sale. Each stove saves a family 20% of their daily expenses, because they use 50% less charcoal per day. One stove saves six trees from being turned into charcoal each year and reduces carbon emissions by 1.5 tons.”

This initiative is only one of the many ways in which The Adventure Project is swiftly making a difference in the world, and we hope that if you are getting married, or you know someone who is getting married, you will add at least one stove on the wedding registry list.

For more information, please check out www.theadventureproject.org/weddings for further details. There is no better gift than the gift of progress. The Adventure Project is a primary example of an organization that advocates this, and they would make a remarkable addition to any wedding registry!

Photography: Esther Havens

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