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.