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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Achieving Peace, Ending Hunger, Eliminate War

In Africa, mindset 3.0 on June 13, 2008 at 8:25 pm

How could we achieve piece in Iraq? Or end extreme hunger in African countries and here in the United States or eliminate war in Darfur? I was reminded of this during a phone call with my buddy Ralph. We both play golf together and enjoy each other’s company especially when he wins. I realized that if these global, geo-political problems are to be addressed there must be a truly common objective that both parties want badly.

Ralph could not make the early tee-time for this Saturday because something came up; however, he and I wanted desperately to play each other especially since he won last time and I was eager to redeem myself, especially since I give him 8 strokes. So, when he told me he could not make it, I adjusted the time to meet his schedule and realized that while it is the hottest time of day, we both compromised and the change was made. We were both ecstatic to know we would be having a rematch on tomorrow.

After the change was made, I said to Ralph, “why is it so hard to end the war in Iraq”. Of course, my buddy had a few choice words, but the real reason is that if we wanted to end the so-called war badly enough we could. This is the attitude and optimism Senator Obama brings and what people should focus on rather than recalcitrant thinking of staying the course. Just imagine if I said to Ralph: “I don’t want to play at 1:00, it’s too hot and I would prefer to keep our time at 10:00”. The whole dialogue would have been about ME, and it was about achieving an outcome that was beneficial to both and something we could feel good about, since I plan on beating him soundly tomorrow.

Would Senator McCain’s stance be any different in dealing with the Sunnis or Iran or North Korea? As basic as this might sound it is achievable if we open our minds to new thinking. Some might say this is naive, but when you really understand what are the motives and desires and you get the truth on the table we could achieve peace, end hunger and stop unnecessary violence.

Have a terrific weekend to my faithful readers!

World Economic Forum in Africa 2008 – Cast Your Vote Now

In Africa, Environment, Human Condition and Treatment, Third World Business on May 29, 2008 at 4:16 am

If you have a point of view or perspective on what is imporant for Africa’s future or what should be the focus, cast your vote on this exciting interactive feature.  More on this later… but cast your vote.

Mindset 3.0: Ending Famine by Ignoring the Experts

In Africa, famine, mindset 3.0 on December 3, 2007 at 6:52 am

Often consultants come up with chic new terms like Mindset 3.0 and of course most people don’t understand what it means other than it being another buzz phrase.  For most women and men in developed countries, we hear about famine, hunger and the 4 billion impoverished souls who live on less than $2 dollars a day and give it scant thought.    Now, I want to share with you a real-life illustration of what it takes to make American Idol Gives Back a worthless exercise in popular television altruism.  To illustrate: In Malawi itself, the prevalence of acute child hunger has fallen sharply. In October, the United Nations Children’s Fund sent three tons of powdered milk, stockpiled here to treat severely malnourished children, to Uganda instead. “We will not be able to use it!” Juan Ortiz-Iruri, Unicef’s deputy representative in Malawi, said jubilantly.

Farmers explain Malawi’s extraordinary turnaround — one with broad implications for hunger-fighting methods across Africa — with one word: fertilizer

  

Over the past 20 years, the World Bank and some rich nations Malawi depends on for aid have periodically pressed this small, landlocked country to adhere to free market policies and cut back or eliminate fertilizer subsidies, even as the United States and Europe extensively subsidized their own farmers. But after the 2005 harvest, the worst in a decade, Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi’s newly elected president, decided to follow what the West practiced, not what it preached.

In a withering evaluation of the World Bank’s record on African agriculture, the bank’s own internal watchdog concluded in October not only that the removal of subsidies had led to exorbitant fertilizer prices in African countries, but that the bank itself had often failed to recognize that improving Africa’s declining soil quality was essential to lifting food production.  Full article.  This is what Mindset 3.0 is about.

Green, Black and In Charge

In Africa, mindset 3.0, social-tainment on November 15, 2007 at 3:11 am

We’ve heard about the recent announcement of former Vice-President Al Gore joining the venerable venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. However, there are a number of innovative companies that are led by people of color that you should know about. So, Stan O’Neal, if you want to do something relevant and interesting listen up and make the call. Here is one of my favorite picks:

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Their CEO is Tralance Addy, and they are based in Irvine, California. Here’s a brief description of what they do: WHI has unique and creative combination of break-through technology and innovative business models enables the delivery of highly affordable, clean water to even the most remote, low-income rural communities. Led by a team of international experts in science, technology, business and health, WaterHealth is redefining the way potable water is provided to the world’s under served populations. As I recall Jay-Z’s Water for Life series on MTV, I could only help but think about WHI and how they bring a solution. This is why I am always a little suspicious of these celebrity “causes” to be honest. Mr. Addy should be in the picture bringing his solution and get the much needed capital to expand and bring WHI’s technologies to market, while Jay-Z clears the path so to speak. The point is this: we have a great opportunity to participate in the global financial ecosystem, and to do something relevant it’s just not going to get you rich quick and it requires hard work. Check out the video.

Largest Migration on Earth & Rare Gorilla Orphaned: Same as Evening News

In Africa, gorilla, migration on June 12, 2007 at 12:53 pm

This sounds like the evening news, but it’s happening to animals.  In Sudan, more than a million gazelles and antelope are migrating due to the fighting in Darfur where fighting continues to kill millions of rival tribes.  As Dr. J. Michael Fay, a conservationist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, put’s it, “it’€™s so far beyond anything you’€™ve ever seen, you can’€™t believe it,€ Dr. Fay said. €œYou think you’€™re hallucinating.”  In other appalling news, National park rangers are battling to save a 2-month-old gorilla found clinging to its dead mother, who was shot dead through the back of the head.”  These two scenes sound like news from any major urban city in the United States, where people are moving to seek a better life (can you say immigration) or daily robberies over $20 (can you say any city USA).

 

So this says to me, that our so-called developed countries behave like people in undeveloped countries through senseless killings (which of course the perpetrators always believe they are right for their behavior).  Whether you watch the news of rebel leaders in Darfur or gang members in Los Angeles, they have the same logic for their behaviors and tend to be extremely articulate and guile in expressing their views.  So, are we really that much more developed in our behaviors and thinking in certain populations?  This would be a great debate, because the men in Darfur, and other African nations have the same complaints: no jobs, no opportunities for jobs, wanton sexual behavior, drug abuse and addiction.  Fly over the ocean and in the United States, we experience the same set of circumstances.  What do you think? 

Female Genital Mutilation

In Africa, genital mutilation, world health on June 12, 2007 at 3:19 am

For 3-year-old Amira, a law banning female genital mutilation in Eritrea came too late. Wrapped in an orange traditional dress, Amira’s mother, who gives her name only as Gerejet, says she circumcised the child to please her future husband. Like Gerejet and Amira, some 100 million women worldwide have been circumcised, a procedure that at its most extreme involves cutting off the clitoris and external genitalia then stitching the vagina to reduce a woman’s sexual desire.Meriam Mohamed Omar, a former circumciser, pulls the fabric of her purple dress to mimic external genitalia and sticks a small needle through it.

“I used to use a thin stick from a palm tree. You hold the genitalia in two then cut it,” she says. For a more in-depth look at this practice with the World Health Organization site. To stand up to this practice takes courage. This is a good time to take a break from promoting entrepreneurship to discuss what it really means to stand up for something that is not right. I got to thinking, what am willing to stand up for? What are you willing to stand up for?

Norwegian-Somalian Kadra, who became famous in Norway for exposing imam support of female circumcision, was beaten unconscious on Thursday. Kadra was attacked and beaten senseless by seven or eight persons of Somali origin, newspaper VG reports. The video you are about to see contains extremely graphic images and may be disturbing to view.

What are you willing to stand up for?

Living or Conservation: Is There a Choice?

In Africa, conservation, famine on June 10, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Yes, there is a choice, but for most people in Central Africa, killing elephants and selling the meat for profit is a growing business.  For people that live on less than $1 dollar a day, making $6,000 or so by selling elephant meat is a no-brainer.
People in the forest live in such poverty they do not have time to think about animal conservation, said Andrea Turkalo, a researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society who works in the Dzangha-Sangha National Park.  “This country can’t run their health dispensaries, they can’t educate their children, how can you expect them to think about conservation?” she said. “I think people are still killing for ivory, but there has been a shift in the meat trade because of the human demographics. There are a lot more people here.”  Read more for full content.

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.

Diamonds Should Not Be Anyone’s Best Friend

In Africa, diamond trade, Human Condition and Treatment, mindset 3.0, Sustainability on December 27, 2006 at 6:22 am

My wife and I saw Blood Diamond today–you know the post Christmas ritual of many people across the globe to visit their local movie theater. We were both a bit shaken by the intensity of the film, but moreso, we were moved. My wife commented about wanting to rid herself of her diamonds–mind you, they are not 3 carats or anywhere close to it. Nonetheless, I got to thinking of the monstrous diamond I saw in Chris Weber’s ear during an interview while checking out the post-holiday sales for big sceeen televisions.

From a media perspective, this is a tricky issue. On one hand you have liberals declaring not to wear furs. Yet, those same people may likely be wearing a diamond that was mined by a 12 year old boy or not. The videos we see today, are designed to stimulate the senses and make people want things–it’s good marketing hype and actually allows for fewer dollars to be spent by those companies, because African-Americans in particular are very quick to buy–diamonds that it and the bigger the better. How could DeBeers position an ad worth watching despite the new film, Blood Diamond? That is what we will discuss next time. Enjoy the movie clip: