We can all relate to the frustration of a kick in the guts. It is a very human experience. The feeling when you know something is wrongfully incomplete. Having to wait for something that was expected.
We all ought to be frustrated that the 10 City Bridge Run has taken a further setback through this failure to achieve sufficient funding from the recent crowdfunding campaign to keep moving forward.
The stunt framing this initiative is not really about running, or how far or fast I can run. It paints a metaphor about the challenges involved in opening a global conversation to address the issue of child survival where despite recent progress, the aspirational target set through the MDG remains elusive.
The meaning of the stunt involved in the 10 City Bridge Run has become extended far beyond what was intended or imagined because of the recent setback in failing to meet the crowdfunding target. The stunt mirrors the the inability to reduce child mortality within the 421 days remaining to achieve the MDG before the end of 2015, ahead of a transition to a post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Tony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, has described child mortality as a ‘moral obscenity’, further saying in 2013: “There is no time to spare…The lives of nearly 35 million children are at stake…Each voice that speaks out against the death of a child is a reminder of unfulfilled promises and a call for urgent action.”
Beyond frustration, how ought we to respond to this setback which limits progress? Give up on the journey as too hard and a distraction to more pressing needs? Postpone the remaining three runs into 2015 when it is easier to deal with? Or act now to build a bridge over this obstacle through a triumph of the imagination?
Bill Shore in his 2010 book: “The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men” describes a “narrow but vitally important space between the impractical and the impossible” which he calls the ‘imagination gap’. He writes: “The imagination gap is a place where hope lies waiting to be discovered, and cannot be extinguished once it has. Most failures in life are not failures of resources, or organisation, or strategy or discipline. They are failures of imagination.”
Right now, we have an opportunity by allowing our frustration to help us identify the next steps that might improve the delivery of child survival. This will require the immediate support from a select group of ‘bridge builders’ who have the capacity to enable us to reach the destination of the Design Forum.
Four years ago when I was beginning this journey, one ‘bridge builder’ gave an undertaking to contribute $500 per run in order to give this initiative legs. While that commitment has yet to be honoured, it serves as a benchmark by which other ‘bridge builders’ might show their commitment to this epic journey. I propose that the number of ‘bridge builders’ sought is capped at ten only.