2015 is the year that a series of long-awaited Design Forum convened to open a conversation where a central question will be addressed: “how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?”
This is the culmination of a running stunt called the 10 City Bridge Run which involved me running 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries. Right now as I type this post, I am standing on the verge of the ninth leg here in Toronto. The weather is cold with some snow flurries, and at -9 degrees celsius, there is every possibility it could snow while I am out running. I will be running between the cusp of two years: setting off when the new year turns in Sydney, and ahead of the new year here in Toronto. Bridging the years.
The resolution is to improve child survival.
One way you can help now is by signing this petition to The Hon Julie Bishop MP, who is Australia’s Foreign Minister, where together we will be asking her to be the official champion for this series of Design Forum.
I made two videos along this journey which give a little more information below. Happy New Year!
How will the 10 City Bridge Run play out? It is about participation, but to the extent this occurs is not up to me, but the contribution of others. Here is a broad overview of how I see the initiative taking shape.
This might seem a little wordy, but a workable framework is needed for something that is a little complex. If you see a way to simply this, or just drop stuff off the list please let me know!
While this is an overview to work from, the initiative will be taken ‘one step at a time’.
This is a creative process of inquiry. Your participation is welcome at every point.
- Observing: The 10 City Bridge Run began with observing the United Nations and the MDG, culminating at the late September New York Millennium Development Goals (MDG) High Level Plenary.
- Designing: Prior to commencing the 10 City Bridge Run, a design process will occur to optimise participation and challenge what is expected to be achieved.
- Listening: The November G20 Summit will be monitored closely to hear what decisions are being made influencing development and child mortality.
- Carrying a message: From the time the G20 commences until the conclusion of the 10 City Bridge Run a month later, the 10 City Bridge Run will officially commence in earnest with the running of 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries. Each country is a member of the G20, and each city tells a story in the narrative. Each run is representative of the 24,000 children that die every day around the world.
- Bridge Building: During the running, the intention is to collate 24,000 photographs of human bridges. We want these to be meaningful, expressive and have impact.
- Petition: After the run, the photographs of the bridges will be sent to each leader of G20 member states to express our collective appeal for action in reducing child mortality. The petition will applaud the leaders commitment to making change happen. The petition will hold the leaders to account for decisions influencing extreme poverty they make at the G20 Summit in Seoul.
- Framework: Publish a co-created list of 10 actionable items to make a difference without needing to spend money with a working title of “10 Steps to Social Alchemy”. This will provide a framework for participative engagement during 2011.
- Communication: 24,000 copies of a book with a working title of “Above the Line” containing 1,000 photographs selected from the photographs in the petition will be published and distributed to sponsors, schools and stakeholders.
- Collaboration: Throughout 2011, collaborate with others using the framework “10 Steps to Social Alchemy” and the book “Above the Line” as an inspiration for engagement and action. The focus is on partnerships and enabling change. This embraces an idea shared by Steve Killelea that reducing the emotional distance between ourselves and ‘the other’ who we do not know is the first step to removing stereotypes and achieving a peaceful world where we can begin to make a difference.
- Learning: $24,000 invested into water and sanitation directly through a selected organisation, as well as $24,000 invested into anti-malarial measures through the distribution of 10,000 mosquito nets will provide an opportunity to learn about the effectiveness of aid. How much is needed? How much is enough? Is there a point below which it is does not make a difference?
- Accountability: Holding G20 countries accountable for their actions at meetings in 2011 as well as the 4th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries to be held in Turkey during June 2011.
Did you find this made sense? Clear? Too process orientated? Too complicated? Would you take a minute to give me your feedback?
Thanks for your consideration.
My good mate Luke asked me a question this morning by email. “What is the 10 City Bridge Run actually about?” It is a good question. Here is an answer.
The central question that the 10 City Bridge Run seeks to address is: “How can you build a bridge to help close the gap on extreme poverty?” A response requires to you think and feel, as much as to act.
This is part of a bigger movement about social impact. In this movement, we are each playing a small part in a bigger change. The 10 City Bridge Run is a small part in a well-established ecosystem of other initiatives.
We all should know that extreme poverty is a problem. There is enough news and branding around the issue. But do we know the extent to the problem, or do we know how we might make a difference – a real difference- aside from donating money to charity?
The 10 City Bridge Run presents a global challenge. There is a physical challenge – the 10 sub-marathons across 10 countries, which is more of a symbolic act through a tough and demanding journey.
The bigger challenge, the real challenge, is asking people to engage intellectually; asking people to engage emotionally and take action. Small actions. Like taking a photograph of others building a bridge.
Is it possible? Does it matter? Can one person on their own make a difference? (I would suggest the answers are Yes. Yes. and No.) And these answers are reflective of the bigger questions facing humanity on the issue of extreme poverty.
It is a complex issue. I think it starts with building a bridge to help close the gap on extreme poverty. You might be doing this already, and if so please show us what that looks like by capturing that in a photograph.
There are larger global forces at work. Is the global financial system broken, at least in part? This is the importance of passing a petition to the G20 Summit leadership. Will the petition make a difference? Will President Lee Myung-bak acknowledge the receipt of the petition? There is only one way to find out, and that first requires the collation of 24,000 photographs online.
Please join us.