Nothing Fancy

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As I scrolled through my daily dose of news and updates on social media, I read “Why I Would Raise Chickens.”[1] Intriguing. What could someone like Bill Gates write about chickens? I thought. I clicked. The first line read,

“If you were living on $2 a day, what would you do to improve your life?”

I read on. Apparently chickens, like what penicillin is to us, play a very significant role in the human social and economic circles, especially for those living in poverty (you can read more from his blog here). There is really nothing fancy in investing in chickens. Gates, of course, has invested in many high-tech development and research since his early start with Microsoft, but as of June 2016, he has decided to invest in just chickens. I admire him for this – it’s simple.

Chickens are inexpensive and can provide a growing investment for the many families in need. This is exactly what an investment is – like a fractal growth, it is an investment upon a series of other potential investments.

I was then reminded of one of Sugata Mitra’s TED talks, which I’ve watched on multiple occasions prior. “The Child-Driven Education” research began with a project titled (and was literally) a “Hole in the Wall”[2] – in 1999, a computer was stationed in a ruined wall located at a rural area in Kalkaji, New Delhi, whereby children, after only a matter of hours, self-taught themselves on how to use the computer and browse the web without much prior training in English nor any knowledge on what a computer was. Wow!

Again, there is nothing fancy in this investment –just one computer coupled with a group of children and a bottle of continued fascination and interest. It is an investment that runs on its own fuel! And now, Mitra is developing a series of learning environments in which children can be left alone to their own imaginations and learn as much, if not more, than they would’ve in a typical classroom setting.

27 Steps
(image: Anesta Iwan & Nish Kothari)
http://marketstreetprototyping.org/2016-festival/projects/27-steps/

“Nothing fancy” is our motto for 27 steps.

So why have we invested so much time and effort into 27 steps, you may ask? Where do we see this going in the long haul? What is that investment-upon-investment pursuit? We had begun this journey as a memorial for Mandela. And since then, it has become a walk for peace, a walk for the victims of the Orlando shooting, a walk for the student victims in Kenya, a walk for the Syrian refugees, a walk for the victims of Paris, a walk for …

It is nothing fancy – it is a walk of (global) support.

Can we then extend this to become something that is a part of our daily routine? Can we link the “Global Impact Investing Network”[3] with something personal? Rather than the annual Walk-for events, can we connect with global private investors (via an app) and help sponsor our choice of causes during our morning walk to work?

“Today on my way to work, I’ve walked for ‘cancer research’”
“Today I’ve taken 27 steps to Yosemite for ‘polio eradication in Afghanistan’”

Whether it is a chicken, or a laptop, or a walk, every step is an investment.

“If you had 30 minutes to walk every day, what will YOU walk for?”
(tell us in the comments below).

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[1] Gates, Bill. 2016. “Why I Would Raise Chickens”. Gatesnotes.Com. https://www.gatesnotes.com/Development/Why-I-Would-Raise-Chickens.

[2] Mitra, Sugata. (2010, July). Sugata Mitra: The Child-Driven Education [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education?language=en#t-1012525

[3] “The GIIN”. 2016. Thegiin.Org. https://thegiin.org/.

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