Global Ideas News Brief: Philanthropy + Toilet malls

Global Ideas News Brief: Philanthropy + Toilet malls

Big changes are coming to Nairobi, Kenya--new staple crops and shopping malls that improve sanitation. Photo: Bija Gutoff/Mercy Corps.

Global Ideas News Brief
May 13, 2014

A weekly roundup of mainstream news about the context in which Mercy Corps works, focused on economic development and innovations.

Funding development

Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World
Stanford Social Innovation Review
To solve today's complex social problems, foundations need to shift from the prevailing model of strategic philanthropy that attempts to predict outcomes to an emergent model that better fits the realities of creating social change in a complex world.

How U.S. Philanthropy Is Inspiring Foreigners to Give
The Atlantic
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have made it their mission to export American-style philanthropy—formalized, systematic, and professionalized giving done in the public eye—with mixed results.

Unlikely partnerships

Green is good
New Yorker
The Nature Conservancy wants to persuade big business to save the environment.

Health and innovation

Peer Pressure Can Be a Lifesaver
NYT
Providing the right tools to fix a problem is only part of a solution, and often the easy part. Changing behavior is much tougher.

A Simple Yet Brilliant $1.50 Sanitation Idea
Fast.Co.Exist
Made by the toilet manufacturer American Standard, this "trap door" seals off open pit latrines that are a major source of disease in the developing world.

The Toilet Malls of Nairobi
The Atlantic
At Iko-Toilet centers, customers can do their business, have a drink, and maybe even get a haircut, all in one place.

Vaccine development: Thinking out of the cold box
The Guardian
Heat is rendering life-saving vaccines ineffective in areas which need them most. What will it take for the drug companies to act?

Economic development

Into Africa: China’s Wild Rush
NYT
For nearly a decade, as China made a historic push for business opportunities and expanded influence in Africa, most of the continent’s leaders were so thrilled at having a deep-pocketed partner willing to make big investments and start huge new projects that they rarely paused to consider whether they were getting a sound deal.

Aid

Every 60 seconds, a Syrian family flees their home
Washington Post
A record 33.3 million people remained displaced within their countries by conflict and violence in 2013, according to new figures released by the Norwegian Refugee Council. The majority of the 8.2 million "newly" displaced came from Syria.

Sorcery at War
NYT op-ed
Casting the conflict in religious terms is a poor way to understand it. The war is caused not by sectarian differences, but by political and economic grievances.

Financial inclusion

Branchless Banking in China
CGAP
CGAP's report highlights the opportunities for greater financial inclusion through technology, specifically the use of agents and branchless banking.

Agriculture

Move over rice, baobab and spider plant could be the new staple crops
The Guardian
A new centre in Nairobi is exploring whether 100 traditional African crops could bring food security to millions of people.

India's elections

Hopes of a Generation Ride on Indian Vote
NYT
Six months ago, when India’s national elections were still only a shape on the horizon, I stood on a service road in New Delhi, listening to an auto-rickshaw driver speak about the state of the country.

Mapping and data

Big Data for Social Innovation
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Nonprofits and other social change organizations are lagging their counterparts in the scientific and business communities in collecting and analyzing the vast amounts of data that are being generated by digital technology. Four steps need to be taken to improve the use of big data for social innovation.

Tracking Nigeria's Worsening Security in Real Time
The Atlantic
For three years, a group of researchers has been cataloging incidents like the kidnapping of schoolgirls in Chibok.

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