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Friday, July 23, 2010

UTBT Fundraiser on July 9th, 2010 in England

On July 9th, a fundraiser was held just outside of London, England in order to bring awareness to our English UTBT supporters. The black tie dinner event was a huge hit and everyone in attendance enjoyed learning about Under The Baobab Tree and our current and future initiatives. We are excited to bridge our US and English supporters in order to have a greater impact on Namaso Bay. The all-day golf event was followed by a beautiful night, filled with casino fun and jazz music. We also had an auction, including UTBT gear and accessories. People chatted and asked how they could help and what else could be done. The theme of the evening revolved around the construction of an onsite clinic. Meg Fitzgerald spoke to the audience about her experiences with UTBT, teaching the audience about Namaso Bay Village, its current situation, and how we must work together in order to bring sustainable solutions to our friends under the baobab tree.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

SF Microfininace 2010 Coverage

SF Microfinance 2010: Greetings from Mayor Newsom

Posted: 2010-05-27 @ 8:01 AM PDT
By Victoria McBride, conference attendee

I think I can speak on behalf of all the conference attendees in saying that Mayor Gavin Newsom’s speech was truly inspirational. This two day conference was created to have to bring people together to discuss the role of microfinance here in the United States. Mayor Newsom pushed that even one step further. While we can explore the amazing progress that microfinance organizations and companies have achieved on a national level, Newsom examined microfinance on an even more micro level: looking at microfinance within San Francisco city limits.

Mayor Newsom took the audience through a brief overview of how San Francisco has been using microfinance over the years to help San Francisco’s poor. Piloted with the Bank On San Francisco program that has now spread across the country, Newsom and the City of San Francisco have continued to expand their microfinance programs to include a payday loan program and savings program for children in San Francisco. The facts Newsom presented were thought-provoking: for example, a child is seven times more likely to go to college if they have a savings account in their name, or that there are more payday loan places in California than Starbucks and McDonalds’ combined. These statistics make the successes that San Francisco has had in implementing microfinance programs all the more inspirational. This type of thinking and activism on the part of Mayor Newsom and the City of San Francisco reinforces my point from my earlier post: that San Francisco is filled with passionate, innovative people committed to creating positive changes in the world through tools such as microfinance.

The programs that Gavin Newsom put in place are great accomplishments, but the city needs to do a better job of increasing their visibility. Having lived in the Bay Area for the majority of my life and following microfinance and community development in the area pretty closely, this is the first time that I heard about programs such as Bank On San Francisco or Payday Plus. And while programs like these are only a first step in combating our poverty problems—knowing that my wonderful city supports initiatives like these make me proud to be a San Franciscan.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Looking Forward to Microfinance 2010 in San Francisco Next Week!

I am so thrilled that this conference is taking place in San Francisco, and can already imagine that this event will be an invaluable learning experience for all attendees.

While on a personal level, I am excited that the conference is taking place in my home town, I am also glad that a conference such as this one is happening in San Francisco because New York and Washington D.C. have generally been the American centers of the international development world. San Francisco is often overlooked in the international development world as an important hub, when in fact, our city is filled with innovative non-profits, passionate entrepreneurs and dedicated activists.

Having worked recently with The Samburu Project and currently with Under the Baobab Tree, two development non-profit organizations, I am excited to explore further in depth the realm of micro-finance, and to learn about how people and organizations like the ones I have worked with can use this tool to expand their scope of work in developing countries around the world. While micro-finance and micro-loans are clearly not a panacea for world poverty, the expansion of this practice in recent years has been interesting to watch as more and more organizations are using micro-lending as an important tool to help their projects and organizations grow, as well as to help many people around the world.

The Kiva Lender-Borrower Meetup particularly interests me. Over the course of my studies at UCLA and beyond, Kiva has arisen time and time again as a micro-finance case study, and I am interested to learn more about the inner workings of Kiva’s microfinance program, and to interface and discuss with people who have had hands on experience with their program.

Additionally, I anticipate that the discussions and information shared at the Leveraging Partnerships to Reach Millions session will be invaluable information to walk away with. I am eager to learn about the advancement of public-private partnerships and about how non-profits as well as government agencies have been using such partnerships to expand and enhance their projects.

2010 San Francisco Microfinance Conference!

Hey Under the Baobab Tree Fans! We're sending part of our team to the 2010 San Francisco Microfinance conference next week, and will be live blogging from the conference. Follow the UTBT blog to stay updated!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Art & Sounds" Fundraiser to Help Malawi-- Free Food and Drinks!

New event to Help Under the Boabab Tree Help Malawi!

March 31st, 2010
Bimma Loft 2.0 located at 681 Fourth St.
(Between Bluxome St. and Townsend St.)
7:00 pm

"Art & Sounds" is an evening full of new artwork on display by notable Bay Area Artists:
Keira Kotler, Paule Dubois Dupuis, Alex Garcia, Yulia Pinkusevitch and Sarah Spitler.
Bimma Loft will be presenting their new exclusive product the "Ovopur water filter by Aquaovo".  Food and beverages will be provided along with music by DJ Timoteo Gigante. Proceeds of the night will be donated to the non-profit  "Under the Baobab Tree" benefiting children in Malawi.  Come enjoy a night of amazing art and design. Special sales and services offered for this night only.

RSVP or 415-243-8888

This event is sponsored by Novo Magazine, Aquaovo, Bimma Loft, UNTITLED gallery and Mangosteen

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Earthquake Chile Magnitude 8.8

To our friends in Chile our hearts go out to you. We will allocate a portion of tonights fundraiser and send it to the upcoming relief funds. I will post links for organizations heading down to help. For those that haven't heard there was a 8.8 magnitude earthquake just struck. They are expecting tsunami to hit Hawaii in 14 to 15 hours. If you have any suggestions for relief organizations please email us so we can help.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chinese New Year's Event recap!

Thank you to everyone that came out and celebrated Chinese New Year's with the Under the Boabab Team! A perfectly clear day over San Francisco, we were able to watch all of SF's 2010 Chinese New Year's Parade. Luckily, our offices overlook the corner of Columbus and Kearny, a prime viewing spot for all the excitement and performances below. Friends, family, and supporters of Under the Baobab Tree came to support us at this fundraiser (and to celebrate Yo Yoshida's birthday-- one of UTBT's founders)-- everyone had a good time, ate well (after all you can't watch the Chinese New Year's parade without enjoying Chinese food!), and enjoyed the festivities. Thank you to all who came! For more information on Under the Baobab Tree and our projects in Malawi, please visit the UTBT website. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

UTBT Chinese New Year's Event!

Hey Under the Baobab Tree Fans! Come join us for our upcoming fundraiser to celebrate Chinese New Year and the year of the tiger!

222 Columbus, Suite 320
San Francisco, CA 94133

5 pm

A fundraiser supporting UTBT
The best view in the city of the San Francisco's Chinese New Year Parade

Delicious Chinese food buffet

Full bar

Silent Auction
Good people, and even better times!

Hope to see you all there!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Our hearts go out to those in Haiti

The news about the earthquake in Haiti came as a shock to all of us, and we're all deeply saddened by the lives lost and the destruction that occurred. For me, it was certainly one of those things where I didn't immediately realize the gravity of the events until a few hours after I had heard the news, when the facts that I had been absorbing all began to sink in: A 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. An estimated 3 million people have been affected and the death toll is somewhere around 50,000. Port Au Prince was essentially completely destroyed.

And as the facts, and stories, and photos, and news reports began to sink in and my heart sunk to my stomach, my immediate thoughts were "How do I help?", "What can I do?"...

So I did some research on how you can help those affected in Haiti (and I wish I could go help out in Haiti, but right now monetary donations are the most effective way to help):

- Donating to the International Committee of the Red Cross ( -- Yes, this is different than the American Red Cross. The ICRC is the global organization of the Red Crosses and Red Crescent organizations, and the only country-neutral Red Cross organization in the world (they're based out of Switzerland, and were founded at the Geneva Convention). They're neutrality mandate means that they never criticize governments, which means they can often be more effective in getting into countries to help in disasters like the one in Haiti. In addition, the ICRC has worked in Haiti for many years. Their website is also a great source for news (

- Donating to the United Nations Development Programme (
The UNDP site is also a great place for news on the quake and relief efforts being made.

- Donating to Oxfam International ( Oxfam has additionally has had a presence in Haiti in the past and have people on the ground there. They are a well reputed international institution (based out of the UK) and have been doing disaster relief and providing international aid for many years.

- Donating to Doctors without Borders (better known as Medcins Sans Frontieres or MSF). They are also a global organization that has been assisting people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. Besides the Red Cross, they are probably one of the most reputed international institutions providing medical aid around the world.

- Texting HAITI from any cell phone to 90999 will automatically donate $10 to the American Red Cross for relief efforts (The American Red Cross is a good organization to donate to, and they already have people in Haiti helping out).

-Texting YELE to 501501 from any cell phone will automatically donate $5 to Wyclef Jean's foundation to help those in Haiti.

Here is an article with many more good organizations to donate to:

Here are some links to good news sources for information on Haiti:
- The New York Times' Haiti Page on Facebook:
- Global Disaster Relief's Page on Facebook:
- The UNDP's Youtube channel:
- BBC's online website:

The different organizations to donate to that are helping in Haiti seem to be endless, but every little bit will help. Under the Baobab Tree's hearts and thoughts go out to every single person that was affected by the quake on January 12th.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

UTBT New Year's Eve Event!

Hey Under the Baobab Tree fans! Are you looking for something to for New Year's Eve? How about an eclectic evening of dance and music in support of Under the Baobab Tree? This event has been rated the best international New Years event in SF by 7 by 7, Flavor Pill, Guardian, SF Weekly, and many more! Check it out!

Eclectic Fever Website
Buy tickets here!