Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Archive for May 2007

Remixing the Web for Social Change…

The 2007 NetSquared Conference (N2Y2) brought together 21 projects that hope to leverage the web for social change (and hoped to get some to cash to help them do so).  It ended yesterday with the awarding of money to three strong projects.  Though none of the winners fall under the scope of THD, ~15 of the projects do, and they were there pitching their projects to foundations, technologists, and other social entrepreneurs. It was a very constructive and supportive atmosphere and hopefully the projects will be able to put the advice to good use soon.

There were many interesting projects but I was most impressed by With a large network of NGOs and what seems to be the technical expertise to bring web 1.0 and 2.0 infrastructure to them, they have great potential.

You can contribute to both the 21 featured projects as well as the larger list of 150 projects.

Video of the conference should soon be available on

Written by Justin

May 31, 2007 at 1:38 pm

Global Health TV Announcement

Video is really starting to take off, here is more in the way of video outlets (see our previous post on this here), this could be good if done right: “The Global Health Council announces the launch of Global Health TV, a new web-based video site bringing brief news clips from experts and civil society on the major health issues faced by people throughout the world.


The Global Health TV website,, will bring viewers three streams of information, including news and global health policies, highlights of international conferences, and voices from people working on health issues at the community level.”

Written by Aman

May 31, 2007 at 8:06 am

Posted in Global Health, ICT, Media

Reality Check: Technology for whom by whom?

It is time for another reality check (I post these occasionally). I try to focus the blog on solutions, ideas, and how various sectors/disciplines are impacting the global health arena. I am not particularly fond of re-hashing intellectual and armchair debates, you can read plenty of that elsewhere. However, once in a while, a dose of cynicism and a reality check is needed.

In light of the NYC exhibit and NY Times coverage, Design for the OTHER 90%, I thought it would be good to post another perspective that I originally saw at Small Shift. It is great that this exhibit has been brought to the public and equally important it is necessary to discuss why some of these amazing technologies may never be used to their full potential (infrastructure problems, poor design, politics, disconnection from the end users, etc. etc.). Kenyan author, Binyavanga Wainaina has written a scathing opinion about “pure products” that are meant to save the world and how they eventually fade from sight/use. The most relevant excerpts (reprinted in Harpers magazine) are below:

“Biogas. A windup radio. A magic laptop. These pure products are meant to solve everything. They almost always fail, but they satisfy the giver…I am sure the One Laptop per Child initiative will bring glory to its architects… To the recipients, the things have no context, no relationship to their ideas of themselves or their possibilities…”

“Freeplay Radios still exist. You will find them among new age fisherfolk in Oregon; neoblue collar sculptors working out of lofts in postindustrial cities; Social Forum activists and neoGrizzly Adams types everywhere. Angst-ridden victims, all…They are the only people who can find nobility in a product that communicates to its intended owner: you are f#@ked.”

Source: Small Shift on “Glory” by Binyavanga Wainaina

Written by Aman

May 31, 2007 at 8:05 am

Posted in Global Health

LinkedIn for Good & other new sites

“With a network of over 11 million professionals spanning the globe, LinkedIn is an immensely powerful platform. A few of us here decided that we should be doing more to leverage the network to promote positive social change, and LinkedIn For Good is our first step in that direction.” (via a new blog I discovered, Small Shift)

“Each October, more than 550 convene in Camden, Maine, to explore the social impact of innovative technologies, breakthrough scientific discoveries and original approaches to tackling humanity’s toughest challenges. Pop!Tech’ers include preeminent and emerging leaders in science, technology, business, social entrepreneurship, the arts, culture and media…All come together to peer into the future, find inspiration and discover connections to create positive change in the world. ”

“Haiti Innovation is a 501(c) 3, volunteer organization that helps development organizations in Haiti obtain funding for projects by linking them to our network of aid donors through the world wide web.”

“Hot Ideas/Cool Projects is a blog about Global Development Marketplace, an annual competition hosted by the World Bank that awards grants to the best innovative small-scale development projects around the world.”

Written by Aman

May 29, 2007 at 5:06 am

Desk Clearing

I am back into town after having been on the interview and conference circuit and it is time to clean out my inbox. Enjoy the links below.

  • Linking consumers to social causes, link
  • Untapped potential of non-profit brands, link
  • Mobile Phones
    – CDMA, SIM, GSM: a review of basic Cell phone terminology, link
    – Low cost cell phones, link
  • Seven innovations case study (will be added to case study page), link
  • Blogging from Darfur, link
  • Blogging popularity increases – UNC Health System CEO from S.Africa, link
  • Beter late than never, PBS is officially on the social entrepreneurship bandwagon (via social roi), link

Business for good / Business for development stories

  • Sign up for the 2008 social capitalist awards, link
  • OLPC vs INTC (Negroponte-Intel throwdown), link
  • Harvard Business School case studies
    – Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition: Successful Models, link
    – PSI: Social Marketing Clean Water, link
  • World renowned IT giant, Infosys, supports social entrepreneurship, via, link
  • MBAs for good & NYU Stern on social entrepreneurship, link 1, link2
  • Executive on a mission, link
  • Tangentially related – Growth of emerging market companies amongst the Fortune 500, link
  • Tangentially related – Google and gene mapping, link
  • More on Gates Foundation impact on Seattle, link

Written by Aman

May 28, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Let your light shine on…

The NY Times ran a story on BoGoLight today [“Solar flashlight lets Africa’s sun deliver the luxury of light to the poorest villages“] . Solar-powered flashlights may sound excessive until you try buying decent batteries for your flashlight on a typical villager’s income. The BoGoLight project sells two of their lights for $25 – one to the purchaser and the other for a short list of secular and religious charities and US military missions. the BoGoLights are also sold in Whole Foods.

The NYT article immediately brought to mind other non-battery powered flashlights: the shake flashlight and the wind-up flashlight ($8 and up and $5 and up on Google Products). I found the wind-up flashlight available for 25,000 Ugandan shillings (US$14.70) last summer when a traveling salesperson brought them by the Mbarara University. Pricing still leaves these lights out of reach for many and the designs leave something to be desired if they are to serve as regular indoor lighting rather than handheld lanterns. Maybe carbon credits could help subsidize the cost?

There are numerous implications for health and health services: reduced indoor soot, fewer carbon emissions, improved nighttime health services, and many additional applications rich countries take for granted.

If anyone has information on product durability for solar, wind-up or shake flashlights, let us know.

Written by Ben

May 20, 2007 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Innovation

Smithsonian NYC Exhibit: Design for the Other 90%

For readers who happen to be in New York, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum has an exhibit running May 4 to Sept. 23 on designs for development. FrogDesign and SmallShift have more on the exhibit. Everything from the $175 laptop and KickStart’s MoneyMaker Pump to water filters, food coolers, energy systems, and the Jaipur foot prosthesis. From the exhibit’s webpage:

Designers, engineers, students and professors, architects, and social entrepreneurs from all over the globe are devising cost-effective ways to increase access to food and water, energy, education, healthcare, revenue-generating activities, and affordable transportation for those who most need them. And an increasing number of initiatives are providing solutions for underserved populations in developed countries such as the United States.

Encompassing a broad set of modern social and economic concerns, these design innovations often support responsible, sustainable economic policy… These designers’ voices are passionate, and their points of view range widely on how best to address these important issues. Each object on display tells a story, and provides a window through which we can observe this expanding field.

Written by Ben

May 17, 2007 at 10:34 am

Posted in Innovation

Global Biotech Heroes: Biotech for Development

Only time for a quick post, I will be traveling for the next week. While doing some homework of my own on the biotech industry I ran into the following cool set of articles:


“Scientists from around the globe use biotechnology to improve the developing world, from new crops and medical treatments to biofuels and adding diversity to the research community. The following profiles introduce some of the lesser-known leaders.” Full set of articles here.

Written by Aman

May 16, 2007 at 7:43 am

Posted in Global Health

Microfinance and remittances

There’s been a buzz about MicroPlace, a startup firm in microfinance, designed to compete with Kiva, Prosper and Zopa – which THDblog posted about back in November. The MicroPlace story was scooped in March at Auctionbytes which noted that eBay had acquired MicroPlace with the goal of “maintaining a web-based, eBay-like marketplace to connect ordinary people (with investable assets as little as $100) with microfinance entities that need capital”. Although the micro-loans are philanthropic in the immediate foreseeable future, eBay’s move to develop the mechanisms for greater p2p transactions has potential single bottom line implications for the lucrative remittance services markets ($230 billion in 2005) in addition to making socially minded loans – a market itself estimated at $300 billion in the next 10-20 years (PSDblog).

Written by Ben

May 15, 2007 at 1:18 am

Interview with the organizers of “Vouchers for Health”

With the sponsorship and coordination of the Packard Foundation, KfW, and USAID/India, Tania Dmytraczenko and Mursaleena Islam at PSP-One organized the “Vouchers for Health” conference held outside of New Delhi April 12th and 13th. They agreed to a THDblog interview about the conference’s impact.

BEN: What was the inspiration behind the conference? Could you describe the conference goals?

TANIA & MURSALEENA: Several new voucher programs are being considered or have recently started in a number of Asian countries and the sponsors felt that it was good time to share experiences with other existing voucher programs in health. Although voucher programs are increasingly being funded in developing countries, there has been little dialogue between different implementers on the success and limitations of these programs. The goal of this technical workshop was to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of innovative ideas on voucher schemes to improve health service delivery.

BEN: Looking back, what lessons or key points emerged that ought to be carried forward?

TANIA & MURSALEENA: There were several issues that came out of those two days in Gurgaon.

— Demand-side financing options, such as voucher schemes, provide an important alternative to traditional supply-side financing: vouchers can be used to target underserved populations and voucher redemption rate provide one quick feedback about their use.

— Vouchers can be used to stimulate demand for important but under-consumed services and can be used to engage private-sector providers. Note that in developing countries, many poor seek care in the private sector and pay high out-of-pocket payments.

— Vouchers for a needed service may not be sufficient to increase utilization if there are other barriers to accessing that service. For example, distance and transport costs may be a significant factor and thus the voucher may need to cover transport costs as well.

— Ensuring quality of care is important and often difficult when contracting with providers for a voucher scheme.

BEN: From your perspective what important points or issues remained unresolved?

TANIA & MURSALEENA: There have not been enough rigorous evaluations of existing voucher programs for us to learn about what works and what does not work. We encourage more rigorous evaluations and are waiting for results from some recently-started voucher programs. Many of the voucher programs we learnt about in the workshop are pilot programs – there will be challenges in taking these programs to scale and lessons learned from scaling up will need to be shared.

Written by Ben

May 11, 2007 at 6:00 pm

Fair Trade Photography Battles ‘Development Pornography’


“Upwards of 90% of the images of the majority world that are seen in the western media are produced by white photographers from the USA or Europe. This results in a one dimensional view often driven by a negative news agenda or the need to raise money.”

“Recognizing everybody’s communication rights in the information society is not mere slogan or campaign; it’s an integral part of social justice.” [Photos and quotes from fair trade group – Kijiji Vision site]

In the past month there has been a slate of news from Reuters, MSF and others, surrounding imagery and how western media portrays the world. Imaging Famine is about media representations and was mentioned this week by a Reuters blog. This is nothing new, but the debate is good, and as the Reuters piece points out, they have covered the issues surrounding ‘development pornography‘ previously. Another Reuters writer also picked up on this entire theme: Viewing the poor through Western eyes, I recommend the short read below and checking out the Kijiji/Majority World websites-

Part of the reason for this kind of post-colonial choreography by INGOs is because they are still required to be the visual mediators of the poor world to the rich world. In Western society, our INGOs are inter-cultural gatekeepers. And you would often have for example, the young white INGO nurse talking passionately on television beside starving children…Full story.

The above Reuters piece mentions Kijiji Vision, who were the guests for MSF’s Spring series on the Ethics of Imagery. Kijiji supports and promotes indigenous photographers and has a separate site for purchasing photos, check out Majority World. Two other bits of related content from this week. First, Buffett (son of Warren) donated $730,000 to the journalism school at Nebraska to help student photojournalists record the wants of the world. And finally Together TV (yet another video outlet) has launched more video “in their own words”.


Written by Aman

May 9, 2007 at 5:15 am

Water and Microfinance

The Paris Microfinance Network has a good post from last month that I wanted to note:

“An interesting approach, applying microfinance principles, was launched by the organization ‘Water Partners international’ with an initiative called the WaterCredit Initiative that we believe provides a hopeful unique model. By making small loans to communities and individuals who do not have access to traditional credit markets, WaterCredit helps finance the upfront cost of water and sanitation systems…A working example: in India, WaterPartners provided $105K in loans for safe drinking water and household toilet facilities for urban slum residents.” Read the full entry.

Written by Aman

May 8, 2007 at 9:31 pm

Posted in Microfinance, Water

Berkeley team wins campus IT challenge

I want to acknowledge my team members Melissa Ho, Mahad Ibrahim, and Sonesh Surana for co-authoring the winning proposal (PDF linked here) in the Berkeley CITRIS IT for Society Challenge calling for the integration of next generation mobile phone technologies in the scale-up of Uganda output-based aid voucher services (link to the PDF presentation).

The University of California at Berkeley has a strong record in health services research and development of innovative information technologies. The team proposes to investigate the potential for smartphones to improve health service delivery financed in the Ugandan output-based aid (OBA) model. Findings on the feasibility of using smartphones could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health service delivery with implications for scaling in many developing regions with poor healthcare and limited information technology infrastructure. The proposed strategy will tackle a critical gap in low-income countries’ health care: improving the reporting speed and quality of clinic data between healthcare providers and centrally located managers. Responding to an existing project’s need for improved information infrastructure, the team will test the feasibility of implementing a data reporting system at private clinics treating sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in a largely rural population of southwestern Uganda.

The Berkeley CITRIS IT for Society Challenge takes place as interest continues to grow in the use of mobile computing for healthcare delivery. There have been hundreds of blogposts in the last several months on the topic. I’m reposting ours from Feb 13th just to revisit the topic and a NYT article that got a lot of play in the blogsphere. Talking with researchers since the March 5th article, it’s not clear that Rwandan healthcare providers are as connected as the NYT reported (patient-level data portability is still a difficult goal to achieve at large scale), but I’ll have to get into that in another post.

THD post Feb 13th “Phones 4 Health Partnership with PEPFAR

NYTimes March 5th “Wireless Technology Speeds Health Services in Rwanda

Acumen Fund March 20th “Empowering with mobile phone technology

Written by Ben

May 7, 2007 at 10:48 pm

Business and Global Health: World Inc.

Here are several recent links on coverage related to business and global health OR development issues. For you non-business folks, pay attention, there is a very strong movement that is taking place. As one example of this, see this blog post on a new book – World Inc.

  • Businesses Try to Make Money and Save the World, NY Times

  • Thoughts on sustainability, “social enterprise” and business, great post by Robert Davies @Seeing the Possibilities

  • Business expertise key to helping world’s neediest: A new model to help Africa, Seattle PI

  • Making a profit while helping the poor, via Unitus, Seattle Times

  • eBAY and microfinance (MicroPlace), PSD Blog

  • Another great post by Rob Katz on IBM and BOP and their “Innovation Jam” on May 7th, NextBillion

  • The Boston Consulting Group and their social impact work, via Pienso, BCG link

  • A new blog I just discovered, The Heart of Business, check out their business plan competition, Post

  • Venture Capital and Water (last section in article), Knowledge@Wharton

  • Cross sector approaches to global health, Philanthropy 2173

  • Do-Gooders Flock to Business Schools, US News

Written by Aman

May 6, 2007 at 7:51 pm

NYU Webcast: Paul Farmer on Social Entrepreneurship

The folks at NYU have been getting the word out to bloggers about their webcast this Tuesday (May 8th). Paul Farmer will be their guest as part of their “Social Entrepreneurship in the 21 st Century” speaker series. You can watch the webcast here in real time on May 8th at 12pm US Eastern standard time. Paul Farmer is a world renowned global health expert, leader and motivator.


Written by Aman

May 6, 2007 at 5:40 pm

Posted in Global Health

Garrett’s speech to the IFC: Time for healthy profits to save lives

Laurie Garrett, author of incisive books on public health and senior fellow on global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, recently spoke at the World Bank on the pressing significance of the profit motive in scaling effective health services. If you have time, I recommend reading the full PDF (hat tip to the Acumen Fund blog). Incentivized healthcare as a donor priority has been on the agenda for at least the past 15 years (see more recent World Bank 2004 World Development Report) and donor-supported health programs incorporating large numbers of private healthcare providers can be found in Taiwan and South Korea as early as the 1960s.  (If you can find a copy of this publication, worth a checking out: Kim, Ross and Worth (1972). The Korean National Family Planning Program: Population Control and Fertility Decline.  The Population Council: New York.  Use WorldCat to search your local libraries.)

Although the ideas are not new, the convergence of some donors’ calls for greater accountability and growth of pragmatic social ventures underscore the role of effective healthcare markets in low-income countries.   As always, Garrett is a compelling writer. The following excerpt sums up her call for productive investment in health:

For decades global health has been treated as a charity. Billions of people the world over have, for decades, been dependent on the kindness of strangers for their health and survival. While other fields of development may have encouraged capitalist solutions, health has been treated as if it were too sacred to be besmirched by profits. In the wealthy world every aspect of health, from record-keeping to pill-making; ambulance driving to hospitalization, is a profit center. We seem to feel that if you are living in France, Denmark, Canada, Japan – in those places it’s ok for hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals to realize profits from the health enterprise. We just don’t think that is ok in poor countries.

I think it’s time to tell truth to power: The charity model of global health is racist. It assumes that the health leaders of the poor nations of the world will endlessly get on bended knee, and with outstretched arms beg for alms. It doesn’t matter to whom the begging is directed – the World Bank, USAID, Bill Gates, Bono – it is still begging. The charity model offers no supply or resources guarantees over time. Yet it expects targeted achievements, realized in very short time windows, allowing the donor to brag about the numbers of lives saved, thanks to his beneficence.

I think it’s time to get out of the charity model, and get serious about investment. My take-home message is this: Invest in small businesses, even micro-finance approaches to health. Do not invest in models that promote health by subsidizing outside corporate interests. Rather, build local economies and businesses, employ the unemployed, and do so aggressively.

The second piece of this is related to supplies: sterile syringes, medicines, latex gloves, autoclaves — build global scale supplies procurement and distribution centers. Give the little guy in Malawi a chance to purchase essential supplies as part of an international pool, arguing down unit prices in favor of volume purchasing. Why should a small pharmacist in Lilongwe pay more for aspirin than Wal-Mart?

Intel Inside: Andy Grove’s Solutions for Health Care

Andy Grove argues that simple technology could provide some solutions to the current ‘epidemic of inefficiency’. On April 10th, the Intel co-founder gave a major lecture on technology and health care at the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Public Health. The lecture was covered in CNET by a Stanford Innovation Journalism fellow, Miriam Olsson, and now has been picked up by Wired in a piece by Kristen Philipkoski.

Grove’s key point is that patients need portable medical records – preferably on a chip. In addition, electronic medical records systems should be internet-based so information can be exchanged seamlessly. Currently, systems are hospital-based and have many different providers. Medical errors are increased when patients interface with a new system, as crucial medical history is not transferred, especially complicated prescription regimens and medical conditions the patient may overlook or not reveal when asked in a workup. Let’s not even begin talking about the pitfalls of paper-based folders, which are still in use in a majority of the world.

CNET Highlight:
“If anything is going to happen, we need something more simple than cracking a framework,” Grove said. The system has to be taken apart–what he calls a “strategic triage”–and IT solutions applied strategically to the system’s various ailing parts. He pointed to three critical weaknesses in the health care system: the large number of U.S. uninsured–46 million, or around one third of the population; the deteriorating state of emergency care; and the proportion of the population that is elderly.

As a solution for ER overuse, Grove points to HBS guru Clayton Christensen’s disruptive innovation of ‘retail’ clinics. These clinics would be the first stop for a restricted number of common conditions, where proven diagnostic algorithms would be developed and would allow nurse practicioners and health workers to treat patients. If the case is found to be more complicated, the patient would be referred to specialist care.

Wired goes into more detail with an interview with Grove:
Will reliance on retail clinics increase the chance of incorrect diagnosis and generally result in lower-quality care?

Grove: You have to ask: as compared to what? The current system has 50 million people who have no insurance and therefore no primary care provider or clinician at their disposal. Relative to what those people experience, the risk is greatly reduced. Relative to going to the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic or UCSF (University of California at San Francisco), it’s obviously riskier.

My comment on this is that if you can adequately design a diagnosis algorithm and rigorously monitor outcomes, it is more likely that you will be receiving quality care than in the current system, where evidence-based medicine is not a universal standard.

Secondly, to cope with increasing numbers of patients, as baby boomers age and if the 50 million uninsured are brought into the system, Grove introduces a “shift left” conceptualized by Eric Dishman of Intel, where people receive treatment at home, with medication reminders and hospital interaction mediated by the internet.  Patients would give providers real-time digital updates on their condition, and medical information would be shared efficiently.

When asked about prevention being better than cure by Wired, Grove demurs, “I haven’t seen any evidence of any techniques, electronic or otherwise, that change behavior reliably in a cost-effective fashion. Smoking and obesity are very unfortunate examples of what I’m talking about. Theoretically, (preventive medicine) is absolutely the right answer, but I’m looking for things we can actually do instead of wish we could do or should.”

As he says before when discussing universal health care, he’s a pragmatist on the track of what can be done right now “Altogether I’m obsessed with doability as compared to desirability.”

Written by farzaneh

May 3, 2007 at 7:16 am

Future-Forward: Innovation Journalism

One conduit for increasing innovation and the diffusion of innovations could be Innovation Journalism (InJo). Innovation is a key driver for economic growth, but is under-reported in current news organizations, because innovation topics often cover multiple news beats (tech, business, politics, culture, news). Currently innovation is most covered in technology, and a recent study on innovation journalism in Finland points out a current ‘hyperdominance’ of ICT themes.

David Nordfors heads the program for Innovation Journalism at Stanford, where fellows write and publish their articles on innovation, and coined the word “Innovation Journalism” in 2003.

Here is an excerpt from the wikipedia entry on InJo:

Innovation Journalism may be able to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of innovation systems. By increasing information flow, market players are able to be more efficient by not repeating mistakes and avoiding duplication of effort.

Increased innovation information is useful to:
* competitor organizations, so they can adjust their own product and marketing strategies
* potential investors, to direct capital with better information
* distribution channels, to anticipate changes in technology and to influence the way those changes come to market
* researchers, who often work in secret

By covering an innovation journalism beat (InJo), reporters and editors change the innovation system. This happens on three levels.

1. InJo covers innovations. So InJo is a vector for diffusion of innovations through an innovation system.
2. InJo covers the innovation system. By reporting on the people, processes, and practices of innovators, they improve systems of innovation.
3. InJo covers the interaction of innovation systems. InJp draws attention to risks and opportunities as money and innovations cross language, national, and industry boundaries.

I’ve created a quick summary of what I found most interesting from the last year of the InJo blog below:

David Nordfors notes that a ‘innovation system approach stresses that the innovation process is driven by the flow of technology and information between the actors in the innovation (eco)system. The innovation communication system approach suggests that the flow of attention is key to what gets done or gets dropped in the innovation system.’

The flow of attention is important to move efforts forward, but what I found most interesting on the blog was the concept put forward by SRI President Curtis Carlson, who says that innovation journalism will establish a common language for discussing innovation processes, and therefore, make it possible for society to discuss innovation. This was corroborated by Chuck House, Stanford Media-X executive director, who said that “A reason to why HP could spearhead innovation was that many of the engineers came from Stanford, sharing a unique set of vocabulary for describing electronics, which made it possible for them to efficiently communicate ideas with each other.”

At this point, I’ll let David and Turo Uskali speak for themselves:

“Language is at the core of innovation!

We suggest journalism is even more important in innovation societies than in traditional societies!

Here goes:

1. Innovation is the introduction of something new
2. In order to introduce something, it needs to be communicated
3. Communication requires shared language
4. New things need new words or word combinations to be a part of the language
5. The News makes/spreads the new words to us so that the new things can be included in our language, discussed and introduced.
6. Therefore: Journalism enables society to discuss new things and introduce innovations.

This applies for all journalism covering innovations.

Injo – journalism about innovation processes and ecosystems – is a special case, but a very important one. It disseminates language for discussing how innovation happens in society. So innovation journalism enables society to improve innovation processes, which can affect the rate of innovation even more than the journalism about the innovations themselves.”

To find out more, read the Innovation Journalism blog

check out contributions from current fellows at the InJo Doer

see the InJo wikipedia entry


See them for yourself at the Fourth Conference on Innovation Journalism, Stanford University, May 21-23, 2007.

Written by farzaneh

May 2, 2007 at 5:36 am

Posted in Innovation, Media

Cemforce: Appropriate Sanitation Technology

I learned about this company via the Loo Factory blog which is described at the bottom of this post. Cemforce, established in 1997, specialises in appropriate sanitation technologies for rural communities in Southern Africa. The focus of the organization includes the social enrichment and empowerment of its employees and the communities it serves. Since inception 100 000+ toilets have been installed throughout Southern Africa. The Cemforce Easy Loo systems consist of lightweight precast Glass Reinforced Concrete panels that are fixed together to form a toilet structure. Cemforce is involved in job creation and supporting locally owned enterprise. In 2002, Cemforce enabled Izwelethu-Cemforce a company owned 100% by women, to become a marketer and supplier of all Cemforce Easy Loo products…Izwelethu-Cemforce, has improved access to sustainable, cost-effective sanitation facilities for over 20 000 households.


The Loo Factory‘ is a blog about a British Graduate Engineer who is assisting a small NGO in South Africa to develop a latrine which can be mass-produced (to allow quality control) and lightweight (so it can be easily transported to site). The idea is that this can be sold to the South African government, as part of its ongoing strategy to improve sanitation in the country. The engineer is a volunteer with the British charity ‘Engineers Without Borders’, who posted him to South Africa for 6 months. If you’d like to check it out, go to…

Other related reads:
-The irony of modern slums in India, link
Design for the other 90%, NYC Exhibit, link

Written by Aman

May 1, 2007 at 4:59 am

Posted in Global Health