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Archive for May, 2007|Monthly archive page

Design that Solves Problems for World’s Poor

In Africa, brazil, mindset 3.0, product design, Third World Products on May 30, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Imagine this: you are an independent, high-end product designer and you have 50 core customers with whom you work, but only three (3) of your design ideas get implemented each year and make it to market. These ideas represent a product experience for the world’s richest 10 percent.Now, let’s turn this thinking on it’s head. What if you have 4 billion core customers and three (3) of your design ideas get implemented each year that benefit directly 90 percent of the poorest people in the world? And, with your ideas you contribute to improving the quality of life, that allows families to eat the entire year, not just part of the year. You contribute to improved health because of your ability to ease the burden of carrying 20 gallons of water three miles, twice daily on the top of your head and on your back. Your design eliminates the possibility of deadly disease because your simple and elegant design allows people to experience safe drinking water. Here are some examples for you to comment on, tell your colleagues and perhaps explore ways to bring these to market with the help of your company or NGO.

The Big Boda is able to carry hundreds of pounds of cargo or two additional passengers easily, at a substantially lower cost than other forms of human-powered utility vehicles. It was designed to transport goods to and from market for entrepreneurs and consumers in developing countries.

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About half of the world’s poor suffer from waterborne diseases, and more than 6,000 people, mainly children, die each day by consuming unsafe drinking water. LifeStraw, a personal mobile water-purification tool is designed to turn any surface water into drinking water. It has proven to be effective against waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea, and removes particles as small as fifteen microns.

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Millions around the world, especially in rural Africa, live kilometers from a reliable source of clean water, leaving them vulnerable to cholera, dysentery, and other water-borne diseases. Water in adequate quantities is too heavy to carry. The Q Drum is a durable container designed to roll easily, and can transport seventy-five liters of clean and potable water. Rolling the water in a cylindrical container, rather than lifting and carrying it, eases the burden of bringing water to those who need it.

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Currently, only 16% of the world’s population have access to the most basic computing technologies. AMD’s Personal Internet Communicator (PIC) was designed specifically to provide basic computing functionality, including Internet access, at affordable prices. AMD’s 50×15 initiative is an effort to develop new technology and solutions that will help enable affordable Internet access and computing capability for 50 percent of the world’s population by the year 2015.

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For more in-depth product information in the coming days and links directly to these products and organizations bringing these solutions to the world, please visit our social community at spangy.com.  Also, please visit one of the most important projects in the world that is taking place now.

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HIV: Market Opportunity with Real World Solution

In Africa, AIDS, micro-enterprise on May 28, 2007 at 6:45 pm

We’ve all heard about the scourge of AIDS leaving many young people as orphans in Africa and all part of the world for that matter.  However, one of the big opportunities is to provide the ability to test people right after they have been infected.  Recent evidence shows that most people pass along this deadly disease shortly after becoming infected.   Our objective is to promote innovative solutions to global social challenges in developing countries.

Since access to medicines is one of the challenges in many developing countries, we should eliminate this hurdle by providing access to drugs.  The HealthStore Foundation® has combined established micro-enterprise principles with proven franchise business practices to create a micro-franchise business model called CFWshops™.

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Franchisees operate small drug shops or clinics strategically located to improve access to essential drugs. HealthStore clinics and shops enable trained health workers to operate their own businesses treating the diseases that cause 70-90% of illness and death in their communities while following HealthStore drug handling and distribution regulations calculated to ensure good practice.  So, if you want to donate time and/or money, this is worth giving some serious thought.  Let the world hear back from you.  Check out their PowerPoint for more on the low cost to making a big impact.

Yak’s Make Nice Thows and Scarves

In Hot Third World Products, mindset 3.0, Sustainability, Third World Products, Tibet on May 17, 2007 at 5:01 am

At Shokay, we aim to impact the lives of Tibetan herders in China oppressed by poverty. Herders will earn incremental income immediately from our direct sourcing of raw yak fiber. Creating greater income for a traditional industry that is environmentally-friendly enables the local nomadic communities to preserve their traditional culture and way of life. As Shokay grows, a portion of our profits will be reinvested back into a community development fund that will serve the communities in areas of greatest need. In the long run, by introducing yak down to the world as a luxury fiber, we hope to increase the value of the raw fiber so that herders in yak-dependent regions (Tibet, Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan, Inner Mongolia, Mongolia, India, Nepal) can generate more income for the same amount of fiber sold. We earn no commission or profits from sharing this wonderful product. Oprah would love this. Look for this later in the year on her “Favorite Things” show. This is real sustainability, not a handout or a one-time feel good donation.

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Economic Oppression Kills: South Africa Apartheid Continues

In affirmative action, apartheid, cause marketing, mindset 3.0, South Africa, Third World Business on May 16, 2007 at 5:07 pm

After years of affirmative action to correct racial inequalities left by decades of apartheid, management of the South African economy remains largely in white hands, a report said Tuesday. Black people were largely consigned to support functions in areas like human resources, corporate affairs and government liaison, according to a report by the Commission for Employment Equity. “The pace of transformation has been painfully slow,” commission chairman Jimmy Manyi was reported as saying.

The number of blacks in top management rose by a “very shocking” 9.5 percent from 2000 to last year. The number of professionally qualified blacks employed by South African companies declined by 7.6 percent, while that of whites rose 6.1 percent. The top management representation of white women, who qualify for limited affirmative action promotion, grew from 4.5 percent to nearly 15 percent — three times their percentage of the economically active population.

The perception for many illegal immigrants is to seek better opportunity for their families and themselves in South Africa. However, I can only imagine that encumbent South African blacks are reaching, if they have not already done so, a level of frustration that this country is bound to explode from within. This is what I believe people are beginning to see. The statistics in the United States reflect a different story to be sure; however, what you do tend to see, I believe, is a striking resemblance of the imbalance of power or representation in terms of corporate roles where minorities and in particular African-Americans tend to be in lower level jobs.

In terms of entrepreneurial endeavors, the scene is startingly different. What you tend to see if you look closely enough is that “high velocity” roles in the fields of high-tech start ups, venture capital, private equity, large scale social entrepreneurship tend to dominate with whites. By contrast, “safer” jobs including HR, compliance and customer service, those jobs with lower levels of risk and pay tend to be reserved for blacks in the United States.

In the case of South Africa, the numbers reflected in this report will change when the Microsoft’s and the global investment banks and large mining companies like BHP Billiton say something and do something even bigger to hold partner companies accountable for such disparity and walk the talk themselves in this region. This is the recipe for change to be sure. Feedback from you.

HIV and India: Intelligence + Ignorance = Unfair Treatment

In famine, third world, world heald, AIDS, India, Gates Foundation, world health on May 14, 2007 at 12:20 pm

Addendum:  Could India learn something from Brazil?  You make the call. Banning sex education on the grounds that it offends Indian sensibilities puts young lives at risk and jeopardizes the fight against  a senior health official said. Six states in India, which has the most people living with HIV/AIDS in the world, have banned sex education for adolescents or refused to implement the curriculum, saying the course material was too explicit or that it was against Indian culture.  For full article, click here.

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On April 1, 2007, India will launch a new phase of its National AIDS Control Program (NACP). Its goals include reducing the number of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections — currently, an estimated 98.5 to 99.5% of India’s 1.1 billion people remain uninfected — improving treatment, and providing therapy to more people. The 5-year program, known as NACP-III, has a budget of about $2.6 billion, two thirds of which is earmarked for prevention and one sixth for treatment (with the remainder primarily for management), and represents a substantial increase in the attention to and spending on HIV–AIDS.

How does this relate to you?

Each year, about 28 million children are born in India. Skilled health care personnel attend less than half of all births; infant mortality is about 55 per 1000 live births. In 2004, only an estimated 4% of all pregnant women received HIV counseling and testing, and only about 2% of HIV-positive pregnant women received antiretroviral prophylaxis, usually consisting of a single peripartum dose of nevirapine. Moreover, HIV-positive pregnant women may benefit from antepartum combination antiretroviral treatment for their own health. Under NACP-III, more pregnant women should receive monitoring of their CD4 cell counts, antiretroviral treatment, regimens designed to prevent HIV transmission (including combinations of antiretroviral drugs), and other services.

In India, as in much of the world, stigma and discrimination present major barriers to controlling AIDS. In 2005, the HIV–AIDS unit of the Mumbai-based Lawyers Collective, which provides free legal aid, drafted comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation.  This means unfair treatment, and this is especially so for women as you see in the video.

In scaling up treatment, India’s domestic pharmaceutical industry has a critical role. A paradox is that Indian companies have become major suppliers of low-cost generic antiretroviral medications to low- and middle-income countries in Africa and elsewhere at a time when there are still major unmet needs for HIV treatment in India. Cipla, a company based in Mumbai, manufactures the largest range of HIV drugs and has the largest market share. Cipla exports 18 times as much antiretroviral medication as it sells domestically, according to Amar Lulla, its joint managing director. Retail drug prices are higher in India than in Africa, in part because of taxes. Eventually, enhanced patent protection for pharmaceuticals in India, which took effect in January 2005, may lead to higher prices.  Do you know of local, regional or global organizations helping to address this problem?  Please share with the community?  What is your solution?

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Obese Kids and the Hunger Season

In famine, hunger season, obesity on May 14, 2007 at 4:19 am

Two compelling extremes and yet, there does not seem to be an easy solution. At one end, there are kids eating high calories foods from China to Chicago. At the other end of the spectrum, 1 year old kids are learning to adapt to missing meals.

When her 7-year-old son, always a healthy eater who liked his fruits and vegetables, suddenly started begging for sugared cereals and potato chips, Sharon Habeck couldn’t figure out where the new cravings were coming from. Then she sat down and watched 30 minutes of his favorite TV show with him. “Burger King, Lunchables, McDonald’s, Pop Tarts, Cheetos, Burger King again. It was all junk food ads, just one commercial after another,” said the Belmont mom. “It was ridiculous.” At the other extreme, children at ages as young as 1, are learning how to accept and adapt to the loss of missing meals. The clip below is 32 seconds was fear in my heart. See what I mean:

The good news is there is a great organization you should checkout that is focused strictly on helping villagers in Africa to get through the hunger season by teaching locals how to raise food on their own.

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Could You Live without Sushi in New York City

In Environment, Overfishing, Sustainability on May 14, 2007 at 12:32 am

52% of fish stocks are fully exploited, which means that they are being fished at their maximum biological capacity. 24% are over exploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. 21% are moderately exploited. Is this similar to “global warming” where it is far enough in the future to not care today? Or is it even more compelling to start doing something now?

 

The diets of 2.6 billion people depend on fish as a source of animal protein. The diets of 2.6 billion people depend on fish as a source of animal protein. Only 3% of the world’s fish stocks are underexploited. 200 million people world-wide earn all or part of their income thanks to fishing and related activities. Do you care about this? Do you believe this is worth a discussion? What do you think?

 

How Do Fish and Mobile Phones Promote Economic Growth?

In Third World Business on May 13, 2007 at 3:35 am

This article from the Economist is the best way to start off the week for sure. The piece is instructive, motivating, exciting, encouraging, makes sense and you can make something happen for yourself or your community or your country it. Here we go:

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“YOU are a fisherman off the coast of northern Kerala, a region in the south of India. Visiting your usual fishing ground, you bring in an unusually good catch of sardines. That means other fishermen in the area will probably have done well too, so there will be plenty of supply at the local beach market: prices will be low, and you may not even be able to sell your catch. Should you head for the usual market anyway, or should you go down the coast in the hope that fishermen in that area will not have done so well and your fish will fetch a better price? If you make the wrong choice you cannot visit another market because fuel is costly and each market is open for only a couple of hours before dawn—and it takes that long for your boat to putter from one to the next. Since fish are perishable, any that cannot be sold will have to be dumped into the sea. For the rest of the article, click here.

Sex Makes You Click…

In handcuffs, jessica cutler, politicians, Senators, Uncategorized, vanity on May 11, 2007 at 6:06 pm

I want to interrupt the continuation of my analysis on Blood Diamonds to share an old observation: sex makes you click. I just read a brief snippet about Jessica Cutler–not bad looking, but nothing to write home about. However, what is interesting is how the freaky side of people in Washington continues to get exposed. From former President Clinton, to Mark Foley’s fondness for little boys to Senate aides who like to talk dirty and use handcuffs. So, if you are an advertiser, here’s the dilemma: people click thereby increasing traffic. But, do they buy anything?

Of course they don’t, but the blogger gets paid nicely for thousands of clicks. If this was on the nightly news, which it likely would be, people would likely listen, make a comment, then say oh well. This is the kind of media that is such baloney and bull crap, that new media strategies often get devalued because of the unsavory nature. What’s a person to do on the web. I likely won’t remember the post I read about Ms. Cutler in a few weeks or share it with anyone–but it sure is somewhat interesting in voyeuristic kind of way.

Oh, and get this, Ms. Cutler gets an entry into Wikipedia for getting paid $400 to screw a married man for lunch. This is how far we’ve come, which sadly is not very far.

Mindset 3.0 Changing How We Think About the Environment

In carbon emissions, commute, Environment, hybrid vehicles, mindset 3.0 on May 3, 2007 at 2:59 pm

I have a complaint–actually more of a beef! There are a number of significant reports that have come out recently discussing climate change, global warming, carbon emissions and the like. My beef is this: can anyone other than people making greater than six figures really “afford” to be concerned about this?

I once lived in an area just across the Golden Gate Bridge called Tiburon, just north of San Francisco. I would notice the cost of housing in the Bay area as this was weekly fodder for my then girlfriend and now wife and I to discuss. What became apparent to me is that the women and men, who perform services in the city, typically have to commute exceedingly long distances in excess of 25-30 miles and often greater than this. So, how do they get to work each day? Drive, of course. But that is just the beginning of the problem for many. The maintenance of a car, the high price of gas, the stress of driving, it all adds up.

Enter hydrogen powered vehicles, hybrids and electric powered cars. While it is undeniable, this would help pollution enormously if every person on their commute had one, but the fact is they are much too damn expensive and unattainable for the masses. Moreover, production capacity for the automotive industry remains geared for gasoline powered vehicles–this is their sweet spot, to be sure. So, what’s a person to do making $55,000 a year with two children and their spouse makes $45,000 for a combined income of $100,000 a year. Well, nothing. The reality is, wages have stagnated, foreclosures continue to increase at record levels, and fuel prices continue to climb. As great an idea as it would be to drive fuel-friendly, “clean” vehicles, it is simply not practical or advisable for a “regular” hard-working people.

Advocates likely have a nice argument to counter this; I have not heard it, but the truth hurts. Movie stars and celebrities can afford to drive a Prius. But making a statement is not what most of us think about–we are consumed with providing for our families and not political or environmental correctness. When auto manufacturers change their mindset completely and build affordable (less than $18,000) and eco-friendly vehicles, carbon emissions will continue to be a problem.

The other and more vexing challenge is mass transit for places like Houston, where I live currently. People here, especially in suburban areas like big. Namely, gas guzzling SUVs that seat eight people. The irony to this is how many people drive alone in this behemoth of a vehicle. Not to mention, commuting long distances in these car crushers.

The United States is the largest contributor to destroying the environment and frankly, most people really don’t care. That’s the reality. Until, people start to care en masse and raise their concerns, go to Congress, boycott, stop coming to work, and so on, long commutes with single riders in gas powered, monster truck like vehicles will continue to be the norm rather than the exception. But right now, we have a choice: buy a hybrid for a 30% premium to help preserve the environment or take care of your family. The choice is made for us–being “green” is simply out of reach for regular people like you and me. For more visit my site at www.spangy.com