What drives innovation, beyond the good idea that begins it? What are the obstacles keeping nonprofits from moving from experimentation to application of scalable ideas? What lessons can we learn from Silicon Valley? And how might artificial intelligence affect our strategies for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
From the CEO
The changing face of U.S. foreign aidWritten by
The proposed cuts to the U.S. development and diplomacy budget may signal a new era in international development. But what’s behind the numbers and what does it mean for U.S. global leadership and for the Sustainable Development Goals?
Technology is integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and the 2030 Agenda is counting on breakthrough technologies to propel social and economic progress. But, when technology advances at an exponential rate, will it open the door to limitless possibilities or to a level of disruption that breeds a whole new set of challenges?
Gender equality and the SDGsWritten by
Whether it’s ending poverty, protecting the planet or ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, it is clear that women need to be at the center of the development agenda. Simply put, countries only escape poverty and conflict when women and girls are healthy, educated, and economically and politically empowered. It turns out that progress for women brings progress for all.
Global health in the age of the SDGsWritten by
Over the past 15 years, we have witnessed major declines in child and maternal mortality and progress in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in countries around the world. Still, an estimated 5.9 million children under 5 died in 2015, mostly from preventable causes. That same year, 2.1 million people became newly infected with HIV, and an estimated 214 million people contracted malaria.
In this podcast, I speak with Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, an eminent physician and CEO of Big Win Philanthropy, an independent foundation that invests in children and young people in developing countries to improve their lives and to maximize demographic dividends for long-term economic growth.
Education and the SDGs in sub-Saharan AfricaWritten by
Over the past decade, there has been important progress in achieving the target of universal primary education. The total enrollment rate in developing regions reached 91 percent in 2015, and worldwide the number of children out of school has dropped by almost half. Still, disparities between children living in the poorest and wealthiest households and between those living in rural and urban areas remain high. How can these disparities be tackled to make education inclusive?
Peaceful and inclusive societiesWritten by
A little more than a year ago, the world rallied around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a historic plan to improve the lives of people everywhere. This past year was a reminder of just how ambitious these goals are and how achieving them will test the commitment of the international community.
The year 2016 turned out to be a time of political, economic and social upheaval — from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the U.S. election of a president vowing radical change to America’s domestic and foreign policies, to ongoing war and conflict in the Middle East and a global refugee crisis. We also witnessed extraordinary achievements, including a peace agreement that ended Colombia’s 50-year civil war and the discovery of a vaccine for Ebola — progress made possible by people working together for the common good.
Banking on the unbankedWritten by
Financial exclusion is a central component of the poverty trap, foreclosing economic opportunities for the “unbanked” and making it almost impossible to start or grow a business. Billions of working people, mostly in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, lack access to basic financial services, with women, the uneducated and migrants especially disadvantaged.
The microfinance movement in the 1970s realized that giving people — especially women — access to even tiny amounts of credit unleashes individual initiative and that creating the conditions for people to be more self-reliant is inherently empowering. As microfinance programs grew into established institutions and as emerging economies have become more formalized, the disparity between women’s and men’s access to financial services has grown. Today, approximately 58 percent of women have a bank account compared to 65 percent of men. This is not only an indicator of inequality, but it also exposes the fact that more than 35 percent of working people are excluded from opportunities for upward mobility.
Trickle-down health careWritten by
Do investments in private hospitals and clinics catering to the wealthy strengthen primary health care systems in poor countries?
At a recent roundtable discussion in New York City, a representative of a private equity group presented plans to build private hospitals in emerging markets, such as Kenya, as one of the best ways to strengthen primary health care delivery. For most of us who have worked on strengthening health systems, investing in hospitals that cater to the well-off doesn’t sound like the best way to meet the health needs of the poor.
Nothing has inspired me more than the sacrifices I have seen African parents make to send their children to school. In Swaziland in the 1990s, I calculated that a typical rural family spent over 60 percent of its disposable income to pay for school fees, books and uniforms. The reason families are willing to devote so much to educate their children was summed up by the pioneering American educator Horace Mann in 1848, when he wrote, “Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.”
As our world has become more interconnected and technology-dependent, the role of education as the primary pathway to social and economic mobility has grown stronger. We now live in the most prosperous era in the history of mankind, but one where a quality education is the price of admission into the 21st century knowledge economy.
As more countries have prospered, the gap between the haves and the have nots — which, in most low- and lower-middle income countries, is the gap between the well-educated and the undereducated — has become a potentially destabilizing factor. Lack of education decreases life opportunities and increases political marginalization, perpetuating and exacerbating social and economic inequality. In an increasingly uncertain and volatile world, educational inequality not only is a main component of the poverty trap, but is also a tripwire for social strife and conflict.