Ethical Gift Ideas

As an alternative to the normal gift giving why not give something special to the baby or child in your life by giving to people who have not got much at all....

In a world of consumerism and where many babies and children have far too many toys in their cupboards than they need, it can be refreshing to give an ethical or alternative gift. Alternative gifts are inspired gifts where your money is spent on sponsoring a child or supporting communities in the developing world, sponsoring an endangered animal or helping the environment.

To make this type of gift thoughtful and personal, try and find an alternative gift that relates to the interests of the child. Have a look at these sites and you are bound to find something you can link to the interests and personality of the recipient.


Oxfam has an alternative online giving campaign. For example you can purchase a water pump, a camel, sheep or cow, plant trees or assist an individual to start a small business. Your one off donation will help assist a community, family or individual in the developing world. A card with an explanation of the ëitemí you purchased is sent to the gift recipient so that she can appreciate the gift. You will be surprised how interested children can be in gifts like this - it is never too early to start teaching the values of giving and helping others!

World Vision

Sponsoring a child in the developing world can be an enriching, educational and rewarding experience for the whole family. When you have your own child, why not ëtwiní him with a sponsored child over the other side of the world? As your child grows he can write to the sponsored child and develop an understanding of the differences between his life and that of the childís in the developing world.

There are many sponsorship programs to choose from, World Vision is international and claim that 87% of your monthly donation goes directly to the programs.

World Land Trust

For someone who is interested in environmental issues (that should cover everyone) for a small donation you can give them the knowledge that they have helped saved a wildlife habitat. You can choose from wildlife habitats in the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests or coral reefs and mangrove swamps in Asia. This is a unique gift that will help save rare animals such as jaguars, pumas, birds, insects and plants.

World Wildlife Fund

For the animal lover what better gift could you give than to adopt an animal for them! You can choose pretty much any animal you like from polar bears to pandaís, gorilla, cheetah or tree frog. The recipient will be provided with an adoption certificate, photo, fact sheet and in some cases a plush toy replica of the sponsored animal. Your local zoo may do a similar 'adoption' campaign where you could sponsor an animal in the name of the child.

Practical Action

This is another good site to purchase alternative gifts. Here are two examples of child focused projects you can donate to through this website. I am sure once you have a read of the site you will find an appropriate project to donate as a gift to the special baby or child in your life.

Project 1: In Zimbabwe a group of women are working with children orphaned by HIV/Aids to help them support themselves by growing and selling mushrooms. Working with Practical Action the 'volunteer mothers' provide children with essential training so that they can make a small living and support their own education. To help more orphans, 'volunteer' mothers need help to supply more training and expand their mushroom farms.

Project 2: In many remote areas of Kenya, connecting to the electricity grid is impossible and many rely on kerosene to light their homes. Children studying by kerosene often suffer with their eyes and fall behind in their studies. A low cost solar lantern designed by Practical Action, is affordable and can supply up to six hours of power a day allowing children to study and families to power their radio.

Unicef Gifts

Many organizations fundraise by selling gifts. So next time you are looking for a gift why not purchase it through a charitable organization. Unicef has a great railway set, gift cards and books all appropriate for children. There are some great gifts and when purchased the profits go towards the good work that Unicef does.


Birthing Kit Foundation
The Birthing Kit Foundation is dedicated to improving the conditions for women who give birth at home in developing countries.  With an estimate of 385 000 women dying annually in childbirth, many from infections acquired during childbirth, there is a great need for clean birth kits and education in clean birthing practices.  This is a perfect chairty to raise money for at a baby shower in lieu of gifts or at a first birthday party. 

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