24 March 2008

Millennium Villages ~ Too Top-Down?

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the head of Columbia's Earth Institute, and his colleagues at Millennium Promise, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending extreme global poverty, are running a very interesting initiative in several African countries called Millennium Villages. This effort "fights poverty at the village level through community-led development" building capacity for rural Africa to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
My primary quibble with their approach is that it seems overly top-down and reliant on mechanisms of government, NGOs, and the civic sector. By contrast, my own approach is more Developmental Entrepreneurship, a bottom-up grassroots business-as-solution movement I co-founded at MIT with Professor Sandy Pentland nearly a decade ago which formalizes and reinforces an age-old truth: humans are inherently creative and entrepreneurial unless prevented from or punished for behaving so.

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