Thursday, May 8, 2014

In 2014, will family planning be able to sustain the euphoria of London and Addis Ababa?

Young Ethiopians partake in traditional coffee ceremony at the International
Conference on Family Planning.
This was originally published on the website of Global Health TV on Feb. 19, 2014.

2012 was a watershed year for international family planning, with the UK government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation holding the high profile London Summit on Family Planning where new commitments of $2.6 billion were secured, enough to provide contraceptives for 120 million more women and girls in 69 very poor countries by 2020.

In 2013, this effort morphed into a global partnership dubbed Family Planning 2020 (FP2020). The process received a further moral and financial boost in November at the 3rd International Conference on Family Planning in Addis Ababa, where five countries made new commitments (Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mauritania and Myanmar) and FP2020 released its first progress report on successes realized since the London Summit. Ethiopia was chosen as the conference site because of its status as an emerging family planning success story in Africa.

Movers, shakers, thinkers, doers converge on former N.C. mill town

This was originally published by the Huffington Post on April 9, 2014.

One is a British mobile phone guru who has become a storyteller of "reluctant innovators," propelling some of the most exciting social innovations outside the traditional development system.

Another is an architectural wunderkind from Togo in West Africa who leads a team that recycles old plastic bags into building materials.

And a third is a San Francisco Bay Area global health tech innovator who is building a web platform to help African countries make better decisions about HIV drug procurements. He speaks English, Punjabi, Spanish and Mongolian.

The three are very different but have at least two things in common: First, they are hellbent on changing the world. Second, they are converging on the tiny former mill town of Saxapahaw, North Carolina later this month to share their distinctive world views with hundreds of other global thinkers and doers.