Month: October 2010

One Tribe

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apl.de.ap performing with Black Eyed Peas at O...
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Music interlude provided by the Black Eyed Peas.

Go on! Switch off for 4:41 and relax!

Together we can build a bridge to a better world.

What Can I Do?

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Jacqueline Novogratz of the Acumen Fund in closing a conference at The Aspen Institute asks perhaps the most important question in influencing extreme poverty: What Can I Do?

She observes the most important thing is our human connectedness. Participation. Collaboration. Bridge building.

Elsewhere in her book titled The Blue Sweater, Novogratz tells a story which symbolises how we are all connected.

This clip gives five pragmatic actions anyone can participate in to make a difference. Her sense of urgency and passion for this situation is evident.

The ability of the individual to influence extreme poverty is what the 10 City Bridge Run seeks to address. Not with lone souls fighting against poverty, but rather together building bridges to make a difference through collective action.

Stop and ask yourself now, yes now, seriously- stop and ask yourself:

What can I do?

Shooting Poverty

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Oxfam Canada
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Oxfam explore communicating poverty through film. This is a great initiative shared by my mate Ted featuring a short film: Bang for Your Buck.

In Burundi, Africa, a grenade costs the same price as a pint of beer.

Check out this clip and share it to rate the video. It is a story worth telling.

How can we use creative expression as a way of communicating complex themes, particularly to an audience whose attention is difficult to reach? The audience I am addressing through the 10 City Bridge Run is the leaders of the G20 member states. This is about collective action and collaboration- it is not something I can do on my own, and it represents the voice of many individuals coming together.

How might we best capture ‘human bridges’ on photograph for use as a pictorial petition?

Tell A Story- Your Story

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Cropped image from this file. Ridley Scott in ...
Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott gives good instruction in this clip below titled Life In A Day. It was part of a collaborative video project he started earlier this year.

Scott gives two good pieces of advice in telling a story through capturing an image:

  • It must be personal.
  • Capture what appeals to you as the photographer/curator.

The 10 City Bridge Run is about participation. Not a spectator sport. It is about bridge-building. During the 30 days that I am running I will be seeking 24,000 photographs of ‘human bridges’ which will then be collated and sent to each leader of the G20 member states as a pictorial petition to appeal for action to reduce child mortality as a way of influencing extreme poverty.

What we do matters. It is not about waiting for the G20 countries to act- that is largely outside of our immediate influence. We can determine our actions, and make them meaningful.

Build the bridge. This is a powerful metaphor. How are you going to tell your story of a human bridge and what this means to make a difference?

More from Suzuki: Think locally, act locally

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David Suzuki at a rally for the Global Day of ...

Thoughts from David Suzuki speaking at the Sydney Opera House continue to resonate through this week.

He challenged one of his earlier assumptions in the talk. The previous cry of “Think global, act local” he suggested was well-intended but ultimately ineffective.

To be effective on a global level, he suggested the power of collective action when we “think locally and act locally”.

An important part of this is not being deluded by large brands, government and the allure of the economy. He summed it up this way:

Politicians work within a political cycle. People don’t.

Dissonance in Community Wellbeing

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Reading a number of corporate website over the last few weeks I sense an incongruous use of the terms ‘Community Wellbeing’ and ‘Sustainability’. Have a look yourself. Visit four or five large corporate brands and see if you agree.

‘Greenwashing’ is a term used for the promotion of sustainable strategy with no real substance, or concern for brand and reputation above impact. I would argue there is a similar trend with respect to corporate social responsibility in general.

Who decides on the boundaries for defining community? Where does our responsibility begin and end? Granted that we can’t be respond to every problem or need, and have our own concerns to address.

We live in an connected world. Is there a point of decency as humans where for humanitarian reasons alone we will not allow unthinkable suffering to occur? Or is it just not our problem? Should we just look to the wellbeing of our own community?

What will Africa look like in 2050? How does this question challenge your understanding of the term ‘community wellbeing’?

 

Africa- A Difficult Place to Do Business

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Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecologi...
Satellite image of Africa

Extreme poverty and business development strangely enough go hand-in-hand. Effective business development can help to replace the burden on aid, but it is by no means a silver bullet.

Writing in the Financial Times, Michael Keating last week provided a good reflection about perceptions. This picks up an idea which the Swedish statistician Hans Rosling speaks about often- that is, the term ‘developing country’ is less relevant now than it was in the past. More so, looking at continents are ‘developing’ or ‘developed’ is just plain inaccurate.

The explosive growth of commercial activity in Africa, both local and international, cannot hide the reality that the continent remains a difficult place to do business.

Africa tends to get a worse press than it deserves, much to its own business community’s frustration. No one talks about Asia as a homogenous block in business terms, lumping Myanmar in with Malaysia, or South Korea with Nepal. Africa is equally diverse. Business conditions vary widely among its 52 countries.

Understanding ‘the other’ is an important step towards the eradication of poverty from our world.