This program is a great way to motivate students to donate to a great cause. I found an organization called The Fistula Foundation, which raises money to perform surgery on women in Ethiopia who have obstetric fistulas caused by childbirth. These women become outsiders if they have an obstetric fistula because they have a constant stream of urine coming from them. The Fistula Foundation assists by providing the surgery and recovery for these women free of charge and provides them with a new dress to go home in as a fresh start. A complete surgery and recovery cost for one woman is $450 so another RA in my building and I decided to have a three-week penny war program with the goal of raising the $450 so that one woman’s life could be changed. The pennies and any paper money were positive while all silver coins were negative points. We counted each week or when the jars needed to be emptied and updated the totals (when you take the positive points and negative together to get a score which may also be positive or negative) next to the jars so that the residents could strategize and see where their floor was in the competition.
We had mailbox stuffers and flyers for the beginning of the program. The Jars at the front desk also attracted questions and spread the word about the program. We informed the residents of where the money was going to and updated a chart that showed our goal, and how close we were to achieving it. A week into the program we slid “cards” under each resident’s door which was a thank-you note from a fictitious woman with the ailment. It described what she had gone through and how thankful she was of the donations… this tugged at the heartstrings of many residents and motivated them to donate more!
We contacted businesses about donating food and had bagels donated. Then we asked our on-campus food service if they could help and they provided a very cheap floor dinner for the winning floor. We had a feast for the floor that won.
We actually exceeded our goal by over $100 and the residents were very excited about this!
Submitted by Danielle Reed, Resident Assistant, Missouri State University