Saturday, March 19, 2011

Here's an idea

I just found out about this book with the simple title "Just Give Money to the Poor." Here's a video of one of the book's authors explaining this simple thesis:

Intriguing!  Approaches like this are exciting in part because they're so simple.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good techno-fix, like developing the technology that allows you to have a chain of refrigeration from a pharmaceutical factory to a village in rural Africa.  This kind of thing is awesome, important work, but also expensive, and often doesn't involve a whole lot of input from the villagers themselves.

Something about "just giving money to the poor" that relates to Spark's approach is that it's putting communities at the center of things, and connecting them to the resources they need; communities developing, rather than being developed.  These kinds of approaches alone may not solve every problem -- sometimes you need a global refrigeration chain -- but in terms of "bang for the buck," and empowering development's end users, they can go a long way.

You can read more about the book here and here

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