There are few more inspiring
stories in the world than those telling about huge sustainable development
success and better lives for many people.
All great success stories have
happened because someone had a goal and pulled people together to get it done.
History has shown us that leadership is one of the most important drivers for
The world is a better place to
live in for most people today than it was when their parents and grandparents
were born: Extreme poverty has been halved and almost all children attend
school. But despite the enormous progress made, there are many remaining development
gaps. The solutions that will close these gaps will have to partly come from
innovative ideas that can be taken to scale. The OECDs Development Assistance
Committees Prize for Taking Development Innovation to Scale recognizes
organizations who have taken this innovative approach.
This year's three winners and
seven finalists tell stories about new and outstanding solutions in extremely
important areas for people's lives: health, agriculture, electricity and
education. By believing in making a difference the ten organizations have shown
a will and a way to work hard and constantly, believing their solutions can
make a difference.
One of this year's three winners,
The African Cashew Initiative has trained the farmers in five different
countries to produce better quality cashew nuts. By keeping the crops in a
better and more innovative way and supporting the factories which pack and make
the nuts ready for the market, the cashew nuts of 330 000 farmers now have the
high quality demanded by the European and the US market. People in Benin,
Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Mozambique have increased their income
by 120 dollars annually.
These money can make a huge
difference for a family. In addition 75 percent of the workers in the cashew
factories are women, making more money than ever for themselves and their
families. And even though it is hard to measure, I am sure this success also
will influence and affect more people in the society.
In Uganda people are now able to
read, cook, do homework, listen to radio or keep their shop open - because they
can afford electricity. By using the mobile phone as payment method, allowing
people to pay small daily amounts instead of huge down payments, people can
afford solar power through the organization Ready Pay Solar. The second winner
of the DAC Prize help more than 100.000 people benefit from this method of
payment, letting the customers pay as little as 35 cents a day - less than
their current energy costs.
The method is simple, but yet new
on the market. And by allowing customers to pay for their solar in micro-installments,
the individuals build up a credit history which can make it possible to start
investing in their future as well through other loans. And of course - using
the sun for electricity is sustainable and good for the environment.
The last winner of this year's
DAC Prize is the global Plant wise programme led by Centre for Agriculture and
Bioscience International. Yearly, as much as 30 to 40 percent of crops are lost
to pests and diseases worldwide. To fight this, the remaining gap between
farmers and knowledge resources needs to be closed with innovative solutions.
Plant wise does this by
supporting local 'plant clinics', staffed with trained 'plant doctors' where
farmers can seek practical plant health advice in currently 34 countries across
Africa, Latin America and Asia. By using pest photo sheets, technical fact sheets,
pest distribution maps, and guides to reducing risks from pesticides, nearly 2
million smallholder farmers are now better equipped to fight against pests.
By 2020, the organization aims to
reach 30 million farmers with the plant health resources they need to lose less
and feed more. And to shape the food secure future of generations to come.
These three organizations are
just a few among many which show us that we cannot wait for a master plan and
for everyone to agree before we take action. The planet and people living in
poverty do not have time to wait for the slowest countries and those least
willing to act.
We need to look at what works,
which innovations are important to focus on and bring to scale. We need to be
inspired by success stories, and do more. Because even though the world is
getting better every day for most people, there are still too many children growing
up in poverty. Everyone can make a difference. Innovative ideas and solutions
should be supported and believed in.