In 2002 The United Nations set up the Millenium project with the noble cause of halving poverty by 2015. I support this effort and hope you feel motivated to contribute some of your resources to become the generation that achieved it.
It is now nearly 2008 and we are almost halfway there. A number of interesting ideas have been developed and we have added our own. Our main idea is that in order to tackle poverty on a global scale, we are going to need some global solutions to support the scale of this operation. So while I applaud the Millenium village’s project (rescuing one village at a time) I think that we need to have developed some tools for the villages to use. That will surely result in greater effectiveness and a faster spread of positive results than just contributing time and money on the ground.
I liken this to the building of the railroads. If all that the pioneering magnates had done was employ people and sent them out to the railhead with a shovel, it would have taken a lot longer to build the infrastructure. So it is with these villages. Let's design the infrastructure package that needs to be dropped in by container to each village just ahead of the UN team arriving, so that we can be sure of leaving infrastructure of value behind. Designers of all disciplines can play a really important part in contributing to such an effort.
With that in mind we wrote the Challenge to the Design community, a manifesto that suggests ways that the global design community can contribute their much needed time and skills to solving some of the world's most complex problems.
To find out more specifically what you can do as a designer to meet the Millenium projects goals, go to www.mygreenbrand.com and look under the research tab. The article is well worth the read if you want to help tackle some of the world's largest social issues.