Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Big 5 - The End of Poverty

From The End of Poverty, Dr. Sachs outlines the Big 5 technologies that are transferable and could be invested in to get parts of Africa on to the first rung of the economic ladder.

:: Agricultural inputs
fertilizers, water harvesting, small-scale irrigations, improved seeds, storage facilities
[My friend Dean is helping purchase and run - with the eventual turn over - a banana plantation in Malawi.]
Think about studying landscape architecture, civil engineering, agriculture/plant science, biology...

:: Investments in basic health
antimalarial tools [like bednets,] treatment of HIV/AIDS, skilled birth, sexual and reproductive health services

:: Investments in education
vocational training in farming, computer literacy
training in infrastructure maintenance such as electrical, diesel generator, water harvesting, carpentry
[The goal is to know these well enough to be able to train others.]

:: Power, transport and communications services
Power services - electricity - off grid generator - provided for water well pumps, milling grain or other food processing, refrigeration, carpentry, charges for household batteries
Transportation services - getting harvest to market, emergency medical care, shuttling resources back and forth
Communication services - shared village mobile phones connect with the outside world, web connectivity for education, connection and information

:: Safe drinking water and sanitation
protected springs, bore wells, rainwater harvesting storage tank pumping station

If you are in high school or college and you really want to impact the world, then, here is my advice:
Learn one of these technologies. And I mean really learn it - everything about it, how to apply it practically, in a variety of settings, and in the most remote environments you can think of.
Practice your skills repeatedly.
Go to Africa to really practice.
And come back and tell us all about it.

[Related: Notes from Chapters 1, 2, 3, Malaria, 10, and Reith Lecture 1.]

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