The Blue Sweater

March 12, 2010 § 1 Comment

The latest book on my reading list is more focused on the challenges faced by the developing world rather than on design. I put a few books on this subject on my reading list partly because I’m looking for opportunities where my skills can be of the most service in the long term, but also because at some point in the next few years I plan to travel in South America and volunteer.

The Blue Sweater is written by Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of the Acumen Fund. She advocates the use of tools like microfinance as a way to give low-income people around the world access to basic services and opportunities, rather than relying on aid and traditional charity. While I don’t have any first hand knowledge about aid and development in the developing world, in what little research I have done I have sensed a condescending attitude towards low income people from some organizations, most often in the form of low expectations. Novogratz’s philosophy is that, in order to best help poor communities, we should listen to their vision for themselves rather than march in and apply our own solutions. She believes in “the inherent capacity for everyone to contribute,” and that we must partner with communities in helping them provide the basic tools and skills for their people to succeed.

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§ One Response to The Blue Sweater

  • brittanygoesglobal says:

    Hi Leah!

    So glad you are reading The Blue Sweater, isn’t it a fantastic book? I read the book like you and fell in love with them- now I am currently volunteering with the Acumen Fund at their New York office, they are absolutely fantastic and it’s been so amazing to see what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis. I suggest that you check out their amazing online community (http://www.community.acumenfund.org/), which is a really cool way to meet other people all around the world that are interested in the Acumen Fund and ending poverty through Jacqueline’s approach. You can even share your thoughts with her on the book on the website, and there is a Blue Sweater fan group with all kinds of interesting discussion. Hope you check it out, and thanks for the support!
    Brittany

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