The world invented the tools and technology to eradicate poverty a long time ago.
From health interventions to education to energy technology, there is a clear development path open to the poor. Yet millions in the developing world still lack access to basic poverty solutions. Why is that? Today’s greatest need is not for inventors to create a slightly better tool. The real need is for better distribution of solutions that already work.
It is no secret that distribution saves lives. Consider malaria, a disease which has plagued human health and development throughout history. Mosquitoes transmit the virus, and to protect against infection the modern insecticide treated mosquito net was invented in the 1980s. The design was both highly effective and affordable. Yet malaria deaths continued to increase from 500 thousand in 1980 to over 1.5 million in 2004.
A drastic downturn in malaria deaths occurred only after distribution campaigns were launched between 2004 and 2010. Distribution reduced malaria deaths by 33% in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Fletcher D-Prize Competition is a call to social entrepreneurs.
“Ours is the first generation that has decided to go beyond the traditional international development machine. This is a generation that is capable of applying passion and entrepreneurial zeal to solve a poverty problem directly. This is a generation capable of boldness."
Select a proven poverty intervention and design a model to distribute it to people in need. Winners receive $10,000-$20,000. From there, it is a simple matter of booking a plane ticket to the pilot country, hiring a few staff, and spending three months using every last shred of ability and talent that you have to solve a world development challenge.
It is remarkably riskless for you, and even at the very worst you will probably end up making a positive change in the lives of hundreds of people. At the very best, you might start an organization that one day improves the lives of millions of people.