:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Thursday, December 25, 2003  

Venture-capital for global social change innovations -- music to my ears!

"The elephant pepper is one of 47 ideas for social change in poor countries that the World Bank recently financed through its Development Marketplace. The bank's grants for these ideas - the farmers got $108,000 - fall a few zeroes short of what the bank usually spends on its projects. But this venture-capital approach is a useful way of looking at social change. It is also a good investment, spurring innovations for very little money...

"Some of the marketplace's winners are projects with global promise. Researchers in Tanzania are training rats to detect tuberculosis. Turkish engineers are helping people who live in substandard housing in earthquake zones to fortify their walls using discarded tires. South Africa's Playpump project provides free clean drinking water by installing wells - each owered by a merry-go-round - in playgrounds or at primary schools. As children make the merry-go-round spin, water is pumped into a tank decorated with messages about AIDS prevention, as well as with commercial ads that are sold to maintain the well. South Africa has already installed 500 Playpumps, which are more efficient, easier to use and cheaper to run than wells with hand pumps...

"One of the Development Marketplace's most cost-effective ideas is helping people in India improve their reading by putting subtitles in their own language on popular music videos shown on TV. Viewers can read along with songs they already know, and initial studies show that the program does help reading comprehension. Such subtitles could be used worldwide to increase literacy, and cost almost nothing."

Comment: this is SO exciting! This is really what the World Bank should be doing more of (and less of the strings-attached, destructive Structural Adjustment Programs).

posted by Anjali Taneja | 12/25/2003 09:31:00 PM | |


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