GOOD

From Los Angeles to Cape Town, Lessons Learned at the Pioneers of Health Exchange

In 2011 I launched a project aimed simply at building stronger neighbourhoods in South Africa, starting in Cape Town. My experience is that implementing any ambitious project requires acute focus and stamina – with little time to step back from the canvas to study the gains and output derived. It certainly doesn’t provide the luxury of organized events to compare notes with like-minded social entrepreneurs.


Share your work not just online, but globally. Meet with people face to face.

The opportunity to have people in similar positions evaluate your work, while sharing their stories and lessons – all this against a backdrop of being exposed to even more inspiring projects in a foreign city - scales the heights of a dream scenario for anyone running a social enterprise.

Our project, Name Your Hood, was one of five incredibly fortunate projects to be part of the GOOD Exchange in Los Angeles, in August 2013. In the three years that I have been running Name Your Hood, this was probably the most inspiring week I’ve experienced. Bar our project launch, perhaps.

In five days we were able to not only study social projects in Los Angeles, but also have an audience with the brains and leadership behind such initiatives. This provided immense value in understanding the challenges which entrepreneurs across the planet face, how they address them, and crucially, how their solutions could be put into practice back in South Africa.

Social entrepreneurs' challenges are universal.

The challenges facing us transcend international boundaries. This exchange taught me that often challenges facing a social entrepreneur in Africa are similar to those in Mexico, New Zealand and Brazil. I was able to share my experiences and provide information and advice on introducing and launching the same projects in my country. In so doing, we were each able to appreciate how other projects, or elements thereof, could easily be bolted on to our projects – with the outcome being immensely greater value for those who stand to benefit from the community work which we do.

The ability and opportunity to implement elements of projects will come in time – as it is naturally important to ‘stick to the knitting’ – but at the same time such integration forms part of our collective greater intent.

Unexpected cities can be hotbeds of ideas and innovation. Visit them.

When I heard that GOOD was considering a similar event in Africa, focused more narrowly showcasing groundbreaking health initiatives from the continent, I was moved to suggest Cape Town as a potential venue. For a number of reasons, it made sense. The halogen lamp of the design world is being turned to Cape Town in 2014 as the World Design Capital – with design including health care, innovation in systems design to improve healthcare – and not just on aesthetic design.

Cape Town is home to huge wealth inequalities, but also home to outstanding innovation to meet such challenges. It is therefore a hotbed of great ideas – which I felt could both be shared with visiting innovators, but also be projects capable of implementing other great initiatives from across the continent.

I could appreciate what is required for an event of this nature and was hence able to design a program that included relevant, practical sessions to inspire those heading up the various projects.

From a health innovation perspective, it was an incredible opportunity to have an afternoon of presentations from health innovators around the continent. The exchange of ideas was inspirational and I’m sure that much good will come of such interactions. On a practical level we were able to take the innovators to both formal and informal health clinics where innovation is being pushed to both treat more patients, and to improve health care delivery.

The exchange was invaluable for me and provided a priceless learning experience. I have no doubt that the fellows who were fortunate to be in Cape Town will take similar, practical learnings to boost the amazing work they are doing in their home countries.

Articles
AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less
Health