The World Bank held a Development Marketplace event in Washington D.C. recently. It lasted only two days but its impact may be felt for a long time.
The main lobby of the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington DC, became a global development marketplace. The participants came from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, India, and Indonesia; 118 social entrepreneurs from 55 countries.
“My name is Ludmila Slavinskaya, and I represent Turkmenistan.“
“My name is Pandu. I come from Indonesia.”
“My name is Keith Aulick, I'm representing Catholic Relief Services - Afghanistan program.”
They brought models, proposals, pumps and prototypes -- sharing information, and hoping to win support for their ideas, devices and projects -- all aimed at benefiting the world's poorest citizens. The event is sponsored primarily by the World Bank, and more than 30 of this year's international participants are returning to their home countries with significant grants for their innovative development proposals.
Among this year’s winners, Jacob Jacobson from Senegal. "We have this in Mozambique,” he says, demonstrating a water well system. “We have this in Zambia, we have it in Zimbabwe. This system only costs five to 25 U.S. dollars, for this system to be put in place.”
Another winner is Keith Aulick. "The project that we're representing today focuses on the introduction of low cost drip irrigation technology into select sites in Western Afghanistan,” says the representative from Catholic Relief Services. “And then using that activity as a catalyst to introduce long term natural resource management planning.”
“Afghanistan has a rich tradition over thousands of years of natural resource management,” he continued, “but those systems have been degraded and lost ah, over the last thirty-so odd years of war, so it is reintroducing those systems, taking into account the increased pressure on natural resources given the influx of people, that have returned now that the fighting is finally finished. It is an education process but it also involves the introduction of specific technologies and innovation."
Since 1978, the World Bank's Development Marketplace program has awarded participants in excess of $35 million U.S. for more than 570 innovative, groundbreaking projects in more than 70 countries.