Alongside the MDG Review Summit, every nerd’s favourite website, TED.com held events around the world yesterday under the banner ‘The Future We Make’. It was an inspiring night to see so many people there, and indeed around the world via the wider TedxChange event with a desire to make change happen and the wide variety of ways they are doing it.
You can see the presentations streamed from America above, or see the full stream and conversation on the The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website here.
Global Poverty Project staff and interns in New York and London attended, and here are their thoughts on some of the highlights:
- Progress is happening: Melinda Gates,‘we’ve made more progress in the last 10 years than in any other period in history combined’
- Fighting poverty is local: Several speakers spoke about the need to stop having a blanket approach when looking at development, and create individual approaches based on a country’s particular needs. Hans Rosling demonstrated in his speech how meaningless data can become when we generalise it too much, as he focused on child mortality rates, stating ‘The time has come to stop looking at Sub-Saharan Africa as one place. The countries are so different and they should be recognised in the same way as we don’t talk about Europe as one place’ you can see his full talk here.
- The Coke Effect: Melinda Gates asked ‘how is it they can get Coke to these far flung places and if they can do that why can’t governments and NGOs do the same thing?’ The answer lay in their marketing – it was tailored to every specific country they sold to – and social mobilisation – they made sure they got the local communities committed to the brand.
- Local solutions: Mechai Viravaidya talked about the success in family planning in Thailand. Again the success was due to social mobilisation and tailoring their actions to the community with everything from getting the police involved in a ‘cops and rubbers’ campaign to blowing-up condom contests. The theme was also talked about by Graça Michel as she said ‘everybody seems to have a plan for our continent. We need a plan for Africa, by Africans.’
- The pitfalls of transportation donation: Andrea Coleman talked about the need to look at every angle of aid and how much of health work in Africa was suffering from poor transportation due to the fact that people didn’t know how to maintain the vehicles and how her charity – Riders for Health is addressing that.
- New technology: Wendy Hanamura talked about the power of stories for spreading information and how LinkTV’s website ViewChange.org is using semantic technology to generate links between the video you're watching and other relevant content across the web, to give people wider exposure to the non-profit sector as they watch the videos hosted on their site
The event was a truly inspirational one that provided much food for thought and clearly demonstrated how change can and is being made in fighting poverty.