The Impossible is Possible

Six months ago, I posted something on a TED talk by Hans Rosling, and I’m happy to be subscribed to The TED Blog, because Hans Rosling came up again. Remember last time he had some fabulous software for plotting four variables on a single graph? I just stare at the screen and do my best Jack Nicholson, “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” This time he’s got more still.

Subsaharan Africa has done well in the past 50 years, Rosling says, moving from medieval standards to now be equivalent to Europe of 100 years ago. The theme of his presentation as he confirms that we can end poverty: “The seemingly impossible is possible.”

“Famine Porn” and the Marketing of Poverty

Yesterday was the latest in the Idea Exchange Series put on by St. Benedict’s Table and Aqua Books. This one was titled Images and the Selling of Charity: How the Need of the 2/3 World is Marketed to the Rest of Us with John Longhurst, Director of Communications and Marketing at Canadian Mennonite University.

[John Longhurst] has 25 years experience in communications with non-profit organizations. He has worked as Associate Editor of the Mennonite Brethren Herald; directed communications for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA); and as founder and editor of the Dallas (Texas) Peace Times. John is author of the book Making the News: An Essential Guide to Effective Media Relations (Novalis, 2006). Making the News: An Essential Guide for Effective Media Relations He regularly conducts workshops on media relations for non-profit groups. In 1998 he helped organize Canada’s first national conference on how the media covers faith, and helped found Canada’s Centre for Faith and the Media. John is a Faith Page columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press, ChristianWeek (Manitoba) and the Mennonite Weekly Review, and also writes regularly for various church-related publications.

Canada commits $40 million to developing world microfinancing

The Global Microcredit Summit is on right now in Halifax (Canada), and the Canadian federal government today commited $40 million to developing world microfinancing. From the article:

The first microcredit summit, organized in 1997, set a nine-year goal of reaching 100 million of the planet’s very poorest families sometimes defined as those living on less than $1 US a day with microcredit business loans and services. The new goal, to be formally announced at this week’s summit, is to not only bring 100 million poor families into the industry, but to raise their standard of living above the $1-a-day threshold.

(Press Release)

Apparently CIDA already spends $32 million annually on microfinance, which it has been sponsoring for over 30 years, and along with several other countries has been supporting government-sponsored microfinance in Afghanistan since 2003. Who knew?