Links of the Day: How not to write about poor people or Africa

Bill Easterly author of “White Man’s Burden” and ideological nemesis of Jeffrey Sachs gives the top 10 wrong ways to write about poor people.

My favorites.

6. Discuss only income, health, access to clean water, and literacy. Leave it to anthropologists to cover areas like happiness, traditions, ceremonies, festivals, friendships, kinship, love between men and women, or love between parents and children.
8. Don’t show pictures of poor men, who make your audience think of drunkards, wife-beaters, or janjaweed.
9. These topics are only for Marxists: power, class, discrimination, oppression, or history.

Along the same lines, check out actor Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Constantine, In America, Amistad) reading Binyavanga Wainana’s must-read article How (not) to write about Africa.

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Copenhagen’s Climate-Friendly, Bike-Friendly Streets [Video]

Duration: 5 min 8 sec

Tens of thousands of people from nearly every nation on earth have descended on Copenhagen this month for the UN climate summit. As the delegates try to piece together a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they’re also absorbing lessons from one of the world’s leading cities in sustainable transportation. In Copenhagen, fully 37 percent of commute trips are made by bike, and mode share among city residents alone is even higher.

Come see “the busiest bicycling street in the Western world”, and lots of other you-gotta-see-them-to-believe-them features including bike counters (featuring digital readouts), LEDS, double bike lanes (for passing) and giant hot pink cars.

via Will D

AIDG 5th Annual Holiday Party

Tonight we’re having our 5th annual holiday party. Can you believe it? It’s been five years since AIDG got started with $800 and a bag of tools. We’ve accomplished a lot in a short amount of time and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Our holiday party is how we say thanks to all our friends, colleagues and supporters. So if you are in the Boston area come mingle and get an update on the work you helped make happen. If you’re new to the AIDG community or want to be a part of it, don’t be shy! Come out and meet everybody. Hear the stories first hand.

Come Celebrate with us 

LOCATION: Our office space in Chinatown.
33 Harrison Avenue, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02111
DATE: Tuesday Dec. 29, 2009
6PM -9 PM

RSVP: Cat Laine 800-401-3860 x703 

Map to 33 Harrison Ave


On the T
From  the Orange Line: Stop at Chinatown. Exit near intersection of Essex St and Washington St. Go East on Essex towards Chinatown. Make first right on Harrison Ave. If you hit Beach Street, you’ve gone too far.

From  the Green Line: Stop at Boylston Street. Exit near intersection of Boylston St and Tremont St. Walk East on Boylston/Essex St 2 blocks (away from the Common). Take a right on Harrison Ave. If you hit Beach Street, you’ve gone too far.

From  the Red Line: Stop at Downtown Crossing. Exit near intersection of Summer St and Washington St.  Go Southwest on West on Washington St towards Park Street.  Turn Left on Essex. Make first right on Harrison Ave. If you hit Beach Street, you’ve gone too far.

Social Entreprise Conferences in February and March, 2010

Harvard Social Enterprise Conference 2010

New Frontiers: Redefining Service for the 21st Century:
This year’s theme highlights the emerging trends in social enterprise that benefit society throughout the public, private, social, and non-profit means. Over the last decade, the word “service” has become multi-dimensional, stretching beyond basic volunteering to encompass fields like micro-financing and corporate social responsibility, among others.

Date: February 27-28, 2010
Location: Harvard Business School, Cambridge, MA
Price range: $40 – $110 depending on student status and Harvard affiliation

Social Venture Capital/Social Enterprise Conference

Social Venture Capital/Social Enterprise Conference, Miami-2010 will be your best opportunity in 2010 to learn, network, and connect with hundreds of top social enterprise/financial leaders and organizations from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the state of Florida- in addition to organizations worldwide which have an interest in expanding to the region.

Date: Mar 17-19, 2010
Location: Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami, Fl
Price Range: $179 to $545 depending on whether you are a student, in an NGO/Government or book early.
Agenda (subject to change): Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

Bonus: Pete Haas, our ED, will be speaking on a panel.

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Video Update: Catapult Design's Pico-Turbine [Good Magazine]

Duration: 2 min 55 sec

Catapult Design is working with AIDG and the [Appropriate Technology Design Team] to design an affordable wind-powered generator capable of producing enough electricity to charge a cell phone, power a radio, or operate LED lights for nighttime use. The generator is intended for rural, off-the-grid communities without electricity. Catapult Design’s product, a pico vertical-axis wind turbine, is designed to operate in low wind speeds while charging a
12v car battery – this battery will in turn power small electrical devices.

Duration: 20 sec

The setup and control station down at the NASA-Ames Research Facility wind tunnels in Mountain View, home for our wind turbine blade testing.

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Video: William Kamkwamba on the Daily Show & a little 80's nostalgia

Duration: 7 min 44 sec

From his TED bio:

William Kamkwamba, from Malawi, is a born inventor. When he was 14, he built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap, working from rough plans he found in a library book called Using Energy and modifying them to fit his needs. The windmill he built powers four lights and two radios in his family home.

My favorite thing about William’s story and this interview with John Stewart is that it provides a storybook example of how access to information either through your local library or through the internet can be life-changing. William’s current path started because he picked up a book and did what so many autodidacts and tinkerers do. He started to make things. He’s on his way to Dartmouth next year through a series of serendipitous internet events. Blogger Mike McMay (Hacktivate) read about him in a local Malawian newspaper. After reading Mike’s writeup, Emeka Okafor (Timbuktu Chronicles blogger and AIDG advisory board member) “spent several weeks tracking him down at his home in Masitala Village, Wimbe, and invited him to attend TEDGlobal on a fellowship”.

Following Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his power system (by incorporating solar energy), and further his education through school and mentorships.

After his ‘discovery’, William gets into the African Leadership Academy, a prep school in Johannesburg founded by fellow Echoing Green alums, Chris Bradford and Fred Swaniker. Somehow with all these changes going on, he also manages to write a book, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind with Bryan Mealer.

Yup, all this because of a simple trip to the library. It makes me feel rather nostalgic for Levar Burton and the Reading Rainbow. All that books can transport you stuff.

Because I imagine that the theme song is currently playing in your brain, here are the lyrics just in case that little voice inside your head forgot the words ;).

Reading Rainbow Theme Song

Reading Rainbow
Butterfly in the sky
I can go twice as high
Take a look
It’s in a book
A Reading Rainbow

I can go anywhere
Friends to know
And ways to grow
A Reading Rainbow

I can be anything
Take a look
It’s in a book
A Reading Rainbow
A Reading Rainbow

Pop the name of a book that changed your life in the comments. Mine are the Rand McNally atlas and basic science books that my mom got me as a kid. They kicked off my love of science and learning.

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