Keys to a better tomorrow?

Posted on December 6, 2010

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1) When you are inspired to pursue an idea; do so

2) Believing in each others potential, and helping each other fulfill this potential is all that really matters – and that will make tomorrow better than today

3) The traditional dichotomous mindset of us and them, donor and beneficiary, rich and poor must be replaced by one of dignity, equality, and partnership relationships – which promise respect, hope, and optimism that together we can move forward

4) We already care, we already love – we just need to find the unique ways we can be engaged and involved in social change-making

These are some of the key points that stuck with me – and deeply resonated with me – after watching a TED-talk by Jessica Jackley, the co-founder of Kiva.org. Now that we were in the TED-sphere, I found that this video and these specific points to be important to share. It almost sounds so simple, banal or cliche even. Perhaps it is such that when you cut to the core, when you speak from your heart and air your truest beliefs, it really is simple. Surely, however, simple is not always as easy as it sounds, but it seems, that success might in fact come from simplicity. At least that is what I have heard. Jackley tells her story with great authenticity; a story which began when she heard a speech by Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus on his work with microfinance. She was so completely blown away by the idea and intrigued to check it out for herself, that she quit her job, packed her bags, and headed for Africa. She wanted to see it for herself, Africa; witness the poverty first-hand, understand more about mircofinance and entrepreneurship. In particular, she wanted to meet the people. See the faces. Hear the stories. And so she did. She started giving small loans to local entrepreneurs, and then, the idea for Kiva was born. Today Kiva is an organization which invests millions of dollars in entrepreneurs all across the globe, helping them in helping themselves, using their skills and networks.

I appreciate this reminder of acting on ideas when you get them. Why not just go out there and test ones thoughts, rather than hiding too long behind the desk? The ‘try–listen–observe–adapt–try’ approach seems to be the way forward. I have met many social entrepreneurs who relentlessly pursued their visions, even when everyone around them found it crazy. They saw a social problem, one they felt deeply compelled to address, and then engaged in finding a fitting solution. Failures were mere means to improvement of their work, or bumps on the road perhaps, but their missions were unstoppable.’Only those risking going too far can possibly find out how far one can go,’ T. S. Eliot once said. I find this quote most suitable for great social entrepreneurs and inventors of many kinds, who are unstoppable in their pursuit of their highest visions for a better planet, or radical new designs. Kiva, Jackley says, is just the beginning. I, then, am exited to see what is next. What will be the next big movement within work for social change? For sure the seeds have already been planted.

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