Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals

This blog's purpose is to connect in an every widening and deepening manner with others across the globe in support of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

Let's be the first generation to end poverty by 2015 with the United Nations' Eight Goal Millennium Campaign.
1. End Hunger 2. Universal Education 3. Gender Equity 4. Child Health 5. Maternal Health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases 7. Environmental Sustainability 8. Global Partnership.

Learn more about what this weblog is trying to accomplish at the new PBworks Wiki.

Speaking Out for the Millennium Development Goals

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What If - Millennium Development Goals Ending Poverty 2015

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Social Entrepreneurship Movement Business Smarts Meets Compassion

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This weblog is continuously attempting to find a balance between progressive compassion and business wisdom. I maintain the view that both are needed.

On 9/25/08, Dr. Jeff Cornwall of The Entrepreneurial Mind wrote again on The New Nature of the Social Entrepreneurship Movement.

The perspective we are hearing from our social entrepreneurship students is that they want to tackle one social problem at a time. They are not interested in massive solutions to problems, as they believe that all this does is create big, inefficient bureaucracies.

He cites a post that "challenges how we have conceptualized our past approaches to solving social problems in this world. It clearly echoes what we are hearing from our social entrepreneurship students, from the MakeZen's Weblog:

It struck me soon after how peculiar it was the way the question was formulated: would I like to join them to FIGHT against women violence? Why do we use the word "fight" that implies violence to get rid of violence? FIGHT against poverty, injustice, war etc. is something that we normally hear in the news, in the mission statements of some NGOs, and indeed in the life mission of some social entrepreneurs as well. It surely carries a negative energy and it will strengthen the other opposing energy. I believe it more and more that true and LASTING changes can never take place from a negative state of consciousness because ignorance will grow stronger when it is being attacked!

So don't fight against war, poverty and injustice- rather- work for peace, for fairness and let peace flow through all your actions in order to create true changes! It's possible, even in the most despair situation!


The Entrepreneurial Mind also wrote way back on 4/22/08 that Social Ventures Need to Have Market Relevance.

Social entrepreneur Sam Davidson was offered the following advice from Josh Kelly, one of the founders of a fair trade coffee venture called Higher Ground. Three guys began the dream back in 2002. Now they roast over 89,000 pounds a year and provide a unique fundraising and marketing model supporting the work on nonprofits with several unique blends.

It would be moronic to push an issue in the marketplace if you couldn't be competitive with it.

More on Sam's observation at his blog:

That is why, Dr. Cornwall advises, we call them social entrepreneurs -- they need to be effective entrepreneurs if they want to help their particular cause.

It is getting both to work,especially in larger organizations, that can be the challenge.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Report for the World's efforts on mdgs: What we did last week

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According to the Oasis California News Blog the U.N. declares MDG event 'exceeded our most optimistic expectations'.

[T]he U.N. announced new contributions and commitments that it said could amount to $16 billion or more. That total included $4.5 billion to get 24 million more children in school by 2010 by way of the Education for All campaign, $1.6 billion to foster food security, $3 billion to launch the Malaria Action Plan, and almost half a billion dollars in new pledges to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, $2 billion related to child mortality and maternal health, and as well as pledges to support national health plans and access to clean water and sanitation, and education.

The complete list of the pledges, which come from government, private sector, non-governmental organizations and other advocacy groups, is available here
Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation held a World MDG Blogging Day on 25 September 2008. They endeavored to be collaborative. In the last week 43 videos were upload to the In My Name YouTube site. In My Name is an ongoing collaborative effort.

The United Nations Blog on High Level Event MDGs came to an end.

Where do we go from here? That's a question I have been asking myself. We have heard well intended platitudes and promises from governmental officials before. There was little mainstream news coverage on the "High Level" event. The issue did not warrant a question in the first presidential debate. There is still Blogging Day and the Stand Up event coming up next month.

The cause did show some ability to organize a response in a short period of time, but despite all the promise of Web 2.0 these efforts still seem somewhat fragmented and unfocused. I have more to read and think about. Did find another mdg blogger :::the:::mdgs::: . As far as where the United Nations are heading:
No other formal statement was issued at the end of the day, but there appeared to be support for Ban's proposal to hold a MDG review summit in 2010.

General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann announced the start of a consultation process to develop a resolution to outline the process for that meeting, according to a U.N. news release.

In the meantime, I can learn more, write more and connect more.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thirsty?

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THIRST

From: jbrenman, 2 months ago


THIRST
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: design crisis)



This is an educational presentation exploring humanity's water use and the emerging worldwide water shortage. It is designed to act as a stand-alone presentation. Enjoy!


SlideShare Link

Friday, September 26, 2008

Millennium Promises Fulfilled By All Skills

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One of the objectives of this blog is to discover and post about different ways people can help with the Millennium Development Goals. Not everyone has to be a doctor in Nigeria, an engineer in Bolivia or an activist in New York. As this blog has shown, people who are accountants can use their skills to make the world a better place.

It does seem to take getting involved in something bigger than yourself. Something that follows principles you can believe in and implements those principles on a global stage.

One organization that does that is UNESCO. One organization helping to make a difference is Felissimo Design House.

The Millennium Promise Competition Winners via graphic:DESIGN:basics updates by no. 2 pencil on 7/15/08


"HELP!" by Lana Sef. DESIGN 21: Social Design Network, a joint-venture project founded by Felissimo and UNESCO to inspire and promote design for the greater good, is proud to announce the results of its Millennium Promise competition. The latest in a series of thought-provoking online competitions, designers of all disciplines were invited to develop a [...]


diigo tags: felissimo, design, mdg, mdgs


Sunday, September 21, 2008

His Holiness - The XIV Dalai Lama on Changing the World by Changing Yourself

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One of the objectives of this blog is to bridge the gap between our local, day-to-day concerns and the extended world view of the Millennium Development Goals. I usually try to keep the posts more focused on the issues this blog deals with, but this video struck me as having something worthwhile to say about the individual struggle to live with integrity in the world. Unless we can see the connection, we will be unable to generate the required change.



A question of changing the world is a question of integrity, be your best destiny.

The Dalai Lama of Tibet discusses ethical leadership for a new millennium to promote dialogue and cross-cultural understanding around the world. [5/2004] [Public Affairs] [Humanities] [Show ID: 8659]

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One Question To Change The World

Sphere: Related Content Another change-agent action from Change.org. When I signed up they were at 69,705 trying to reach 100,000.
  1. Featured Action: Get a Question about Global Poverty Asked at the First Presidential Debate
  2. Only two questions about global poverty have been asked in the history of modern presidential debates - a shockingly low figure. In 2008, voters need to know what Barack Obama and John McCain will do to end the most extreme suffering in our increasingly interconnected world. You can help make sure that changes by signing a petition to debate moderator Jim Lehrer urging him to ask "Just ONE Question" on global poverty at the first presidential debate, September 26th in Oxford, Mississippi. Go to http://www.one.org/debates/ and sign the petition now!
Have a great weekend!

- The Change.org Team





Understanding a dollar a day could be an invaluable resource for the Millennium Development Goals

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Dorothee Royal-Hedinger of C3 communications left a comment on my recent post "Standing, Blogging, Electing - Small Acts of Great...":

Globaldevelopmentmatters.org also has a host-a-screening initiative for the "A Dollar a Day" film series in October, just in time for Blog Action Day!

If you're in the Chicago area, come out for our event:

Or host your own screening - it's easy!

I thought that the concept on which they were trying to educate us deserved more exposure. Other resources on the web dealing with this subject include:

Tech help for the Good Guys big and small

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TechSoup according to their site TechSoup "provides a range of technology services for nonprofits, including news and articles, discussion forums, and discounted and donated technology products. "

TechSoup - The Technology Place for Nonprofits

Powered by CompuMentor, one of the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit technology assistance agencies, TechSoup.org offers nonprofits a one-stop resource for technology needs by providing free information, resources, and support. In addition to online information and resources, we offer a product philanthropy service called TechSoup Stock. Here, nonprofits can access donated and discounted technology products, generously provided by corporate and nonprofit technology partners.

This is another source of what I would call organizational infrastructure resources for change-agent organizations.

diigo tags: technology, nonprofit, community, resources, non-profit

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Taking the Measure of Chronic Poverty

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This weblog is big on the numbers. Helping Understanding With Numbers at the left hand column features sites, including GapMinder, that provide a better understanding of the world through statistics.

The ability to accurately measure the extent of the problems facing the world, the challenge required to overcome those problems, and the effectiveness of the solutions devised takes the number crunchers. This blog has already featured the International Budget Project which builds civil society budget capacity to enhance public participation and to combat poverty and teaches others How to use Budget Analysis to Advance Human Rights (pdf) .

The Chronic Poverty Research Centre is another such organization that uses numbers to educate world leaders and us on the devastating impact of not addressing the Millennium Development Goals.

CPRC is an international partnership of universities, research institutes and NGOs established in 2000 with initial funding from the UK's Department for International Development.

    • Four years ago, the Chronic Poverty Research Centre published the Chronic Poverty Report 2004-05. This was the first major international development report to focus on the estimated 320 to 445 million people who live trapped in chronic poverty – people who will remain poor for much or all of their lives and whose children are likely to inherit their poverty. These chronically poor experience multiple deprivations, including hunger, under-nutrition, illiteracy, lack of access to safe drinking water and basic health services, social discrimination, physical insecurity and political exclusion. Many will die prematurely of easily preventable deaths.

Diigo tags: poverty, odi, mdg

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Standing, Blogging, Electing - Small Acts of Great Change

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There are upcoming chances to participate in social actions against poverty, either Stand Up Take Action or Blog Action Day. These actions should be put in perspective. They are worthwhile endeavors that should be supported, but their worth is enhanced by the number of people who participate. My personal standing for one minute or writing a blog post for a day is like a drop of water. Admittedly, even writing, and maintaining this blog takes only an hour or two out of my day. It is no where near the same level as those dedicating their lives under Others Supporting Millenium Development Goals. Million drops in motion can move mountains but that force needs to be focused.

Another simple act that takes little time, but could have a far greater impact on the Millennium Development Goals, is voting for the next United States President. What takes the most time is educating ourselves. To help in that choice, Global Development Matters is a site provided by the Center for Global Development that includes their blog Election 08.

In the short time since its founding, CGD has rapidly earned a reputation as a unique "think and do" tank, where independent research is channeled into practical policy proposals that help to shape decisions in Washington and other rich country capitals.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Making the Biggest Change Ending Global Poverty

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It's about a month until the Stand Up Take Action Against Poverty and a bit less than a month until Blog Action Day Poverty, both are featured at the top of the right-hand column. It is less than 10 days until the United Nations High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals.

  • The High-level Event will be a forum for world leaders to review progress, identify gaps, and commit to concrete efforts, resources and mechanisms to bridge the gaps. By asking world leaders to announce their specific plans and proposals, the High-level Event will help accelerate implementation and follow-through.

The "event" is an opportunity for countries to evaluate themselves in regards to their progress in reaching the goals.

The focus of this blog is not limited to the actions or inaction of the United Nation members. There are a number of avenues for engagement beyond being a spectator of the global political arena. Change.org provide a number of them earlier this month. Change.org is featured in the right-hand column under Others Supporting Millenium Development Goals. There are a number of other organizations that offer an opportunity for engagement.

Featured Change: End Global Poverty

  1. Over 1 billion people worldwide live on less than $1 a day, and nearly half the world's population lives on less than $2 a day. This epidemic of poverty spans across the globe - from Haiti to Ethiopia to Bangladesh - and touches all the world's cultures, ethnicities and religions. Although overwhelming in scope, there are concrete steps we can take to reduce poverty and signs that current efforts are having an impact. These steps go far beyond simply dumping aid on a country, and instead focus on addressing the many interwoven elements that can together help curb chronic poverty - including children's education, women's rights, improved healthcare, and job creation. Join this community today to help do your part to stop global poverty.
- The Change.org Team

Monday, September 15, 2008

Social responsibility,seeking the good

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This blog has expressed a greater affinity with "best" business practices than might be expected by many of a site dedicated to as progressive of a cause as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. A growing belief that governments, at all levels, are not able to innovate quickly and deeply enough has also led to a greater affinity with libertarian concepts, at least on a tactical level. The main mission remains, regardless of frustrations with old ways to dealing with the world's problems, progressive. Progressive though is a loaded word and there will be a large contingency that will take issue with my claiming that label if for no other reason than I claim that a site that supports free enterprise can be progressive.

This blog has posted on the position that big business should and can make ethical investments. Trouble is that we still worry, and arguably need to, when they do.

An earlier post on the Girl Effect revealed an intense discussion between -Erin Erlenborn of ONE, two commenters who expressed concern over the involvement of Nike, and a Nike representative.

On another blog, I argued for taking lessons from some of the management practices of the DuPont Company. The post also reveals again my bias towards MIT as a change-agent organization. But the PERI - Political Economy Research Institute lists DuPont on its Toxic 100 Table, raising the question whether DuPont is making a valid effort in walking the walk and not just talking.

Id21
takes a balanced view on ensuring big business social responsibility.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a badge of respectability for major companies. But voluntary initiatives to promote socially responsible business practices can never replace protective legislation. Nevertheless, financial incentives would increase their effectiveness and improved inspectorates could encourage small and medium sized firms to improve their labour practices.

So it seems that both the carrot and the stick are needed in working to get businesses to support the Millennium Development Goals.



diigo tags: peri, politics, economics, research, sustainability








Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S President

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Nancy Birdsall, editor for Center for Global Development provided on 8/22/08 The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President.

The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President shows how modest changes in U.S. policies could greatly improve the lives of poor people in developing countries, thus fostering greater stability, security, and prosperity globally and at home. Center for Global Development experts offer fresh perspectives and practical advice on trade policy, migration, foreign aid, climate change and more. In an introductory essay, CGD President Nancy Birdsall explains why and how the next U.S. president must lead in the creation of a better, safer world.
Center for Global Development on 8/22/08 also provided The White House and the World Policy Briefs:

These Global Development Policy Briefs present the key facts and recommendations drawn from chapters of The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President.

The following briefs are available now:

For the next U.S. president, effective development policy is not only the right thing to do, it is crucial to the future well-being of the American people. [The] new CGD volume, The White House and the World, offers practical suggestions.

The "business" of delivering global health services

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MIT Sloan School, GHD Project and MIT teams have made great progress in defining ways to work together to improve health care delivery, including training the cadre of leaders in the field.

The Global Entrepreneurship Lab: Global Health Delivery (G-Lab GHD), the new version of MIT Sloan’s flagship international course, epitomizes the value of this collaboration as it brings together the expertise of MIT faculty with GHD’s experience in implementation.

There is also the need to find creative ways to work with limited resources to make them go further. Below are two doctors, both featured in TED talks, telling of their experiences of dealing with health care issues in the developing countries. Dr. Ernest Madu, talking about the creative tactics he uses to bring good health care to poor communities in Jamaica.

Dr. Ernest Madu: Creative ways to bring health care to the poorest
Dr. Ernest Madu runs the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Jamaica, where he proves that -- with smart design and creative technical choices -- it's possible to offer world-class health care in the developing world. And it takes nothing more than re-imagining the hospital. Watch this talk >>

#Dr. Seyi Oyesola: Rich hospital, poor hospital
Dr. Seyi Oyesola takes a searing look at health care in underdeveloped countries. His photo tour of a Nigerian teaching hospital -- all low-tech hacks and donated supplies -- drives home the challenge of doing basic health care in poor countries. Watch this talk >>

Diigo tags: glab, MIT, global health, mdg, millennium development goals entrepreneurship, MIT, global

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Learning how kids teach themselves, then get out of the way

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TED.com featured Sugata Mitra Speaking at LIFT 2007 about the "Hole in the Wall" project -- Not Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but kids in an Indian neighborhood figuring out (on their own) how to use a PC and mouse, and then teaching their friends. The fundamental underlying question, "How can traditional schools (especially those that are remote and without adequate resources) harness the immense power of children to teach one another?"

Sugata Mitra: Can kids teach themselves?

This fits in with the Millennium Development Goal No. 2. Universal Education, and the One Laptop Per Child program.



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Escaping poverty traps

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In a previous post, I posted about the small interventions that have been recommended by the Millennium Project. We also need to be aware of the challenges in implementing even these small changes.

Andrew Shepherd on 7/2/08 wrote on the Prelude to the Chronic Poverty Report 2008: Escaping poverty traps via Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Blog.

The ODI Blog is featured below under Millennium Bloggers with Minds of Their Own. The post is almost two months old and was found while creating this blog. It is still worthwhile including in these early posts. I have added some updated links.

[It] is clear that many of today's poor will simply stay poor, even if economic growth is sustained. They are caught in one or more of five poverty traps:
  1. insecurity of life or livelihood;
  2. weak citizenship status;
  3. living in a deprived area;
  4. experiencing social discrimination;
  5. or held back by poor quality work.
The second international Chronic Poverty Report, launched next week (event), shows that the poorest can be included in progress. ...(read more)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sounding the alarm against further erosion of the Millennium promises by nations of developers

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Two articles today in the Los Angeles Times demonstrate that the struggle to implement the Millennium Development Goals are not only a matter of realizing the so far broken promises, but to also prevent receding even further from those goals.

Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer on September 8 2008 wrote on


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Dharavi, India's largest slum, eyed by Mumbai developers
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The rich of Mumbai want to turn the prime real estate into high-rises and parks. The poor but industrious residents won't go without a fight.

MUMBAI, INDIA; Reincarnation is Kallu Khan's stock in trade.

While Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, covers a story across the globe in Europe on the same day.

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Spain's environmentalists sound alarm

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A building boom is endangering some of the most precious flora and fauna in Europe, and sucking an already arid region dry.

TOLEDO, SPAIN; A frayed copy of "Don Quixote" was tucked under the front seat of Roberto Oliveros' battered white truck as he sallied forth through the fast-changing plains of central Spain.

Visit latimes.com at http://www.latimes.com

These articles bring into question the viability of Millennium Development Goal number 8. Global Partnership. Although Global Partnership refers more particularly to debt cancellation and fair trade, if the poor have no true voice their ability to negotiate on their own behalf and benefit is meaningless. In regards to the environment, we have 3 types of resources, those that can be renewed, those that cannot be renewed and those that can only be squandered.

Small Interventions = Big Difference is not only doing good work it's also good strategy

Sphere: Related Content I am again reblogging another post by Rav Casley Gera of African Development for the Completely Bloody Ignorant. This time it's UN Millennium Project: small interventions = big difference from 1/12/08.

The UN Millennium Report proposes each country prepare a detailed shopping-list of interventions, from education and health to environmental protection, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Here are some examples:

  • abolishing fees for school uniforms
  • nitrogen replenishment treatment for agriculture
  • free school meals
  • breast feeding support with micronutrient supplements
  • annual deworming of schoolchildren
  • basic health training in villages
  • antimalarial bednets
  • eliminate health fees for essential services
  • increase sexual health
  • expanding AIDS, malaria and TB treatment, for example achieving the "3×5" target of getting 3 million people onto AIDS treatment by 2005 (the report came out in late 2004)
  • slum upgrading
  • establishing off-grid electricity sources for remote areas, including solar
  • legislation to ensure property rights for women
  • campaigns against violence towards women
  • appoint science advisors for presidents and prime ministers, getting women into policy processes, community support for tree-planting.

Read Rav's post to get more background information and related articles. What I liked about his post is that many of the interventions can be implemented now by social-enterprise groups regardless of the actions of the UN and world governments. This is not to allow those governments to abrogate their responsibilities, but one of the hurdles to selling the Millennium Development Goals to the person in the street is that most are unaware of them and don't see any benefits either for themselves or those the MDGs are purported to help. Listening to my libertarian leaning psyche, I can appreciate the advice of Marshall Carter, who is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Medical Center. In this video he leads an MIT class through a case study on corporate transformation, highlighting tips he believes are as salient for engineering students as for those focused on business services.

One of those tips is to have early wins. So achieving small interventions successfully will not only help people but it is an important milestone in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The video is under an hour and is a lecture by a engineer/businessperson, but if the world is serious about not only funding but implementing the Millennium Development Goals, people need to start listening. I have to add that I am a bit disappointed that we haven't seen anything else from Rav for the rest of us "completely bloody ignorant", for a while.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

How effective is social enterprise? Compared to World Government Inaction?

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This blog does not put all of its faith in the well meaning efforts of those trying to influence world leaders into making the responsible decisions regarding the Millennium Development Goals, and it puts even less faith in those leaders themselves.

Without a doubt, those efforts must be made and governments must be addressed and held accountable, but other (borrowing from Jeffery Sachs) innovative on-the-ground interventions addressing these challenges are also essential. The old models of aid are not only being challenged they are being supplanted by social enterprise.

A recent article from Business & Human Rights Resource Centre on 8/29/08 addressed the question of How effective is social enterprise?

[W]hat is social enterprise and can a business have an ethical dimension? [Township Trades] in South Africagives poor people in a township the chance to develop new skillsThe business[trains] localsto make soap from natural ingredients, which is then sold at market stallsJonathan Bland, the SEC's [Social Enterprise Coalition] chief executive [said] "a social entrepreneur's main aim is to use the power of business to address social or environmental issues and use the profits generated to further these goals Howeverin developing countries, where wages are lowerthere is a danger that social entrepreneurs could be viewed as using the "ethical business" tag to reduce overheads[However] Mr Blandsaid "good working conditions, a fair wage, diverse workforce, and employee empowerment are the bedrock of the social enterprise business" [also refers to Elvis & Kresse Organisation, Divine Chocolate]

Open Architecture Network - Making a difference with the Web and Triangular Scale

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Does architecture give us a model as to how we can we use the Web to drive social change? The TED prize is one avenue created to bring about social change. Architecture for Humanity leveraged a 2006 TED Prize to build the Open Architecture Network, linking communities around the globe with architects and designers who can help them solve problems.

In 2006, Cameron Sinclair asked TED to help him build an open-source platform to help architects connect with communities in need of designs. The result was the Open Architecture Network -- a successful website that acts as both a clearinghouse for building plans and a vibrant social network, allows its users to sample, remix and customize design work for their needs. To help Sinclair's wish come true, join the community at the Open Architecture Network's website.
One of the latest examples of their work is their attempt to help Myanmar (Burma) rebuild, with Architecture for Humanity as told by the TED TEDBlog by on 5/6/08.

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Following the devastating Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma), Architecture for Humanity asked for help in rebuilding the country over the long term. They wrote:

While the media will focus its attention on the loss of life, there will be millions displaced in the coming weeks -- and like most natural disasters, there's no plan for long-term sustainable reconstruction. Large aid agencies like Oxfam and Care will be knee-deep in immediate delivery of aid. How will the country respond to the long-term strategic need to rebuild the country?

In the first 6 hours of this drive, AfH raised $4,000 from over 120 donors. Learn more about this appeal >>

This was previously posted at my other site.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Accession of African Activists. A DIY approach to the MDGs

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The last post talked of the failure of developing countries to met their promise of the Millennium Development Goals. This post deals with those taking on the responsibility themselves. They may not speak of the Millennium Development Goals but they are working to fulfill its promise. These, and more, are all from TED Talks Africa, The Next Chapter, which can be found at the right-hand column under Learning More About the Issues.

Ory Okolloh: The making of an African activist
Ory Okolloh tells the story of her life and her family -- and how she came to do her heroic work reporting on the doings of Kenya's parliament. Watch this talk >>

Elene Gabre-Madhin on Ethiopian economics.

Happiness is not just a privilege for the lucky few, but a fundamental human right for all, and what is happiness? Happiness is the freedom of choice. Freedom to choice where to live, what to do, what to buy, what to sell, from whom, to whom, when and how. Where does choice come from and who gets to express it? And how do we express it? Well one way to express it is the market. Well functioning markets provide choices and ultimately the ability to express one's pursuit for happiness.

Euvin Naidoo on investing in Africa

About this talk

South African investment banker Euvin Naidoo explains why investing in Africa can make great business sense.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on aid versus trade

About this talk

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria, sums up four days of intense discussion on aid versus trade on the closing day of TEDGlobal 2007, and shares a personal story explaining her own commitment to this cause.



Unmet Millennium Development Goals News? Maybe, but not Headlines

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Millennium Development Goals unmet says L.A. Times
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September 5 2008 via latimes.com at http://www.latimes.com

The world's wealthy nations have failed to live up to a pledge to help reduce global poverty and disease.

At the turn of the century, 22 wealthy nations, including the United States, vowed to dramatically increase their foreign aid commitments in order to meet 15 goals aimed at reducing poverty and disease in the developing world. The vow to achieve those Millennium Development Goals is reaffirmed every year by leaders of the Group of 8 nations -- yet they are making remarkably little effort to keep it. Not only is development assistance failing to rise as quickly as promised, it has actually been falling in real dollars for the last two years, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations.

The complete article from the opinion section can be viewed at:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-aid5-2008sep05,0,797815.story. A supporting story can be found in their online Science files section, on other links it's the Health section. I find that categorization a bit strange, seems more like world news to me. Clicking on the Sphere Related Content link above this post demonstrates that most of the news is from focused blogs and sites.

Here are more from other major news sources.

Three years ago, the world was ready to mount a new attack on poverty - The... from the Boston Globe at Boston.com.

Donors’ Aid to Poor Nations Declines, U.N. Reports - NYTimes.com from The New York Times.

The point is not that this is not known, but that a major newspapers are saying it, but is that enough? It would have been better if they had directed people to more information on the meeting they spoke about (though some of the online article is hyperlinked), and if they said it more than every seven years. It seems that this newspapers are taking a "politically-correct" institutional stand, but they, and I would argue, nobody else is really doing an effective job of reaching the average person. Let me give my excuse up front, I have only been doing this a month part-time. It seems that the largest planetary collective undertaken to define our future is only being dealt with by government bureaucrats and left-wing progressives, no offense, I am a bit of both.

I realize that I am responsible for my own ignorance. Trouble is that as with most people, I did not realize that I was ignorant. It took somebody from across the globe to educate me on this. I also did not realize, until fairly recently, that I have tools not only to help eradicate not only my own ignorance but that of others as well. This blog is the consequence.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stern: Urgent Action Called For on Climate and Development

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The upcoming UN High Level event is, despite my skepticism from the last post, an opportunity to define a future path to bringing the Millennium Development Goals into reality. In researching the initial resources for this blog I found the following from Center for Global Development posted back on 7/14/08. Once again, the question of need has been established and urgency emphasized. As to the answer of whether or not we will see any bottom to top dialogue or any sense of urgency from the member countries that remains to be seen.

Stern Urges Action on Climate and Development in Third Annual Sabot Lecture

Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change, called for a new form of conditionality – with developing countries setting the conditions for rich countries this time around – in CGD's third annual Richard H. Sabot Lecture. Speaking on "The Economics of a Global Deal on Climate Change," Lord Stern asked whether the global community is willing to invest today to avoid a far-more costly tomorrow.

Lord Stern's presentation (pdf) focused on five main points:

  1. Our atmosphere’s current carbon stock;
  2. The world’s carbon flows;
  3. Carbon-intensive sectors of the economy;
  4. Connecting climate change and development; and
  5. The prospects for a global deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions

CGD outreach and policy assistant Joel Meister summarizes the highlights of the lecture, providing links to video, transcript, photos, and a comment by CGD president Nancy Birdsall.

Read the CGD blog and comment there or comment here below



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More High Level Meetings On the UN Calendar

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A good deal of the effort of getting the word out about the Millennium Development Goals and the activities to support them is Pete and Re-pete. This blog's del.icio.us subscription came up with another worthwhile find, again by del.cio.us user uliversum. I am passing it on here.

Have your say! " Blog on the high level event on MDGs

The high level event referred to is the UN

will convene a High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals at UN Headquarters in New York on 25 September 2008. At the halfway point towards the target date, significant progress has been made, but urgent and increased efforts are needed by all stakeholders in order to meet the Goals by 2015.
It would have been better to my mind to have coordinated such a High-level event with the street level events of Stand Up Take Action and Blogging Day 2008 taking place in October. The latest Doha talks didn't provide any confidence that getting the governments together will result in anything more than redundant rhetorical promises. Still, it's another avenue of potential input.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ending World Poverty Through Entrepreneurial Efforts

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My progressive side just wrote about the efforts of Norway's Government Pension fund to flex its ethical muscles against big businesses such as Wal-Mart. I should make clear though that I see still see a free enterprise as the best, though not only means, of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Now I am not referring to the United Nations reports, but to the on-the-ground changes in the countries where they matter. I am also definitely not a Milton Freidman unfettered free marketer either. I have gained a great deal of respect for the discipline, innovation and inspiration of business people and believe that they should be incorporated into the efforts of social-entrepreneurs. I need to do a more expanded post on social-entrepreneurship some time soon.

One particular resource combining a no-nonsense business mindset with social ideals has been The Entrepreneurial Mind. Dr. Jeff Cornwall's latest contribution in this particular area was on 7/23/08 Entrepreneurship as Tool to End World Poverty. I am paraphrasing his post here.

The Social Equity Venture Fund (SEVEN), funded through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, just launched a competition offering $50,000 in funds awarded for the best ideas to develop new indicators and models for investment in emerging market small and medium-sized enterprises. This competition, and its results, are one concrete step in demonstrating the power of entrepreneurship, and business, as a sustainable solution to world poverty. Here is a link to the submission site. which is up until November 15. The second phase of wiki-based collaboration takes place between November 16 and December 15.

Small world, Ayesha Lakhani, who was one of those who introduced me to the Endpoverty by 2015 in India project, left a comment.

Big business can and should make ethical investments

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Back on 7/20/08 the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre wrote Big business can and should make ethical investments.

Many people think ethical investments are a worthy but inconsequential sideline away from the business of making big money an indulgence for do-gooders. But the example of the second largest sovereign wealth fund (SWF) in the world, after Abu Dhabi's, may give them food for thought. Norway's Government Pension Fund, worth a dizzying 203bn, frequently flexes its ethical muscles. [refers to Wal-Mart, BAE Systems]

They got their story from the Gwladys Fouché's article in the Guardian on Sunday July 20 2008. Her statement that big businesses can and should make ethical investments is an "ought" statement not a "true/false" statement. I not sure I count the Norway's Government Pension Fund, as big business per se. More like a "big business" watchdog populated it would seem by those with an activist's mindset. That should not be surprising as Norway is one of only five countries meeting the basic funding goal for the millennium development goals. The article does raise the question and possibility of ethical investment by businesses. She links to the article on Understanding ethical investment by By David Elms Chief executive, Unbiased.co.uk.

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