Is it strange that people who have never seen, felt or known poverty are the ones designing the solutions? At this year's Skoll World Forum at the University of Oxford, Bunker Roy points out how impact metrics like the Millennium Development Goals are so far removed from rural realities - being designed by intellectuals in New York and Geneva. Without decentralizing these goals and making them relevant to the poor, history will repeat itself and the post-2015 goals will also fall short of myriad targets.
In my opinion, poverty has been an age old developmental debate: Why do so many people still live below the line? What are the causes of poverty? But the question really is: How do we create wealth? Who is in the best position to design scalable solutions to create wealth? The best way to create sustainable impact is to use a sustainable model to implement impact. The emerging paradigm of social entrepreneurship is one way that seeks to create blended value and puts a high focus on actively measure both, financial returns and social outcomes. Once we start moving away from the dominant narrative of 'either $ or +ive impact' the world will finally be able to link development with finance, aligning goals with the methods of achieving them. It is imperative that policy frameworks and international impact standards and targets percolate down to stop focusing on 'helping' the poor to survive, and instead focus on 'empowering' them to lift themselves out of poverty!
Metrics makers are not connected to the very poor people who live on less than a dollar a day. So I think, with due respect, these goals are a joke.To me, if that consultation with very poor is not institutionalized then these goals do not mean a thing. Right now what we [Barefoot College] have been doing for the last 10 years is to take rural, illiterate grandmothers who have never left their villages in their lives and through sign language make them solar engineers who then go back and bring electricity to their villages, all within six months. Then we hear of people like Jeff Sachs who is spending $2.5 million in one village- if we had $2.5 million dollars we would be able to ‘solarify’ 20,000 houses, train 300 grandmothers, and cover the whole continent of Africa.