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Big results from small solutions?

It seems counter-intuitive, but take a look around and notice that some of the world’s most widespread solutions stem from the simplest of ideas. Believe me, I know this-I’m a Bangladeshi. My country, a developing nation with a per capita income of $1400 (as compared to global average of $10,200), has spearheaded the invention of the globally recognized Microcredit and the Sono Arsenic filter. I’m certain the inventors, Dr. Muhammad Yunus and  Dr. Abdul Hussam respectively, along with the world, triumph over the simplicity of these solutions. They really are that simple.

For those unaware, microcredit is the granting of very small loans to poverty stricken communities/people that show potential in repaying it through entrepreneurship. There’s no need to explain the economic implications of such financial innovation because the results speak for themselves. From worldwide women’s empowerment to the sprouting of new industries, microcredit has proven to drastically improve the quality of life for millions of the impoverished. Similarly, the Sono Arsenic filter, with it’s simple design and $40 cost, can filter water of fatal impurities for 2 families. What was once a critical arsenic poisoning crisis in Bangladesh, is no longer. This is incredible! 

Dr. Yunus
Dr. Yunus

 

As my first post, I want to emphasize the importance of small actions inspiring huge results. Sort of like a Jolkona (water droplet) creating ripples in a pool of water. You can be the small drop that brings ripples of change in your community, in your world. Take a look at the projects the Jolkona Foundation has listed on this site, and you might just find your opportunity.

I’m excited beyond belief for my upcoming trip to Bangladesh! I hope to witness more examples of what I call, the Jolkona Effect. What are some other examples that you know of today? How are they simple? How are they widely effective?

But more importantly, what are your ideas and visions of small solutions providing widespread change?  Who knows…maybe we’ll speak of you one day!

Comments

5 Comments, RSS

  • Pratyusha Banik

    says on:
    June 18, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    This sounds awesome! It reminds me of a show I watched on PBS about a year ago talking about a man who designed and implanted merry go round water pumps into rural villages in Africa. Bascially when children play on this merry go round, clean potable water is pumped into a tank, and this tank delivers the water to the whole community. This way the children of the village can have fun while pumping water. I think this is very innovative and creative idea exemplary of how little ideas can have big impacts.
    If you want more info on it, here is a site: http://www.inhabitots.com/2009/03/05/play-pump-the-merry-go-round-water-pump/

  • Nadia

    says on:
    June 19, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Love your thoughts so far and look forward to hearing more from your trip to Bangladesh! I actually learned about the play pumps in one of my public health courses last year and love the idea…its a small solution that is sustainable and yet provides a big impact! It’s inspiring to know that there’s so many small solutions like these examples …now the challenge is finding them and helping to support them effectively.

  • Prottush

    says on:
    June 19, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Really informative, yet powerful. Great first post, and keep up the good work.

  • KS Rahman

    says on:
    June 19, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, so it’s little surprise that problems in an economically and technologically challenged country such as Bangladesh should inspire such low-cost and simple—yet extraordinarily effective—solutions. They require more than just a tweaking of existing models; these solutions represent paradigm shifts, leaps forward in the very way we think of these problems.

    These shifts, which often involve changing the very meanings we attach to the language used in our descriptions of the commonplace, can rarely be taught in a classroom; usually, they require no less than total immersion in the problems and their contexts.

    Which is why it’s a great that you’re actually visiting Bangladesh, and getting your hands dirty—both figuratively and, one hopes, literally :) . Kudos to you, Semonti, and we hope to learn much from your shared experiences. So thank you :) .

  • Nimisha

    says on:
    June 30, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Interesting thoughts…

    Thinking about small projects with big results – have you heard about the Seattle based organization Water 1st?

    They do work internationally to bring simple solutions for clean healthy water to small communities around the world. My mentor, Christine from the Pipeline Project is on the Board and has gone on a few of their international projects. Check it out and let me know if when you get back you want to find out more.

    http://www.water1st.org

    Looking forward to more insights from Bangladesh!