How Passion and Pinterest Led to 100 Tools that Empower Global Women
1. Betsy, what cause are you passionate about and why?
I am passionate about helping globally poor girls and women gain access to empowerment tools. The more I read and learned about ways for women to increase their productivity, so that their hard labor would be more effective, the more excited I became. We are not talking about expensive or complicated technological solutions. Low tech approaches can have very high impact. I collected a huge collection of these tools on boards at Pinterest. Solutions as innovative and simple as midwives wearing solar headlamps to illuminate evening deliveries – this improves outcomes for mothers and babies. Or using solar water disinfection, lowering waterborne diseases: free! After posting so many low cost, ingenious approaches, and after resisting the urge to work for every one of those initiatives, I realized I could curate a book of all of them. This became an exciting, engrossing 3-year project culminating in the publication of 100 Under $100: Tools for Empowering Global Women. image (Tool #41 from my book is the Solvatten: a solar water disinfection unit.) Most information focuses on a single solution or a single organization; my book is very broad-ranging and includes health, sanitation, energy, and financial, legal, and digital inclusion. Integrating solutions compounds the impact and outreach.
2. How are you involved and what impact do you hope to make?
Now that my book is out, I am blogging, posting about initiatives in 100 Under $100 on my Facebook page, and speaking to all kinds of civic, educational, and religious groups about all the ways we can help women improve their lives. I hope to have impact in a few different ways.
- The first is that some of my readers are in a position to support the book’s featured initiatives financially. One reader, as I write this, is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds to set up 8 new Solar Sisters. Another reader is planting trees in Kenya and I am sure many more people will use it as a giving guide. One friend sent out 60 copies of the book to family and friends for Mother’s Day, hoping it would inspire them.
- Secondly, I also hope to reach young students from middle school to university; the book is loaded with practical projects anyone can initiate. Recently I spoke to the GEM Global Design Lab and was thrilled when students incorporated ideas they had gleaned from 100 Under $100 into their projects.
- 100 Under $100 has just been uploaded in digital form to Worldreader.org – that means it will be available to 100s of 1000s of teachers and students in the developing world! A mother and daughter, friends of mine, recently traveled to Guatemala and fell in love with bottle schools, a construction tool in the book. The daughter hopes to go back and volunteer.
- The third way I hope to have impact is by sharing the book directly with grassroots organizations. This is a slower process, but NGO practitioner responses have been really enthusiastic. I have a photo of a school nurse in Tanzania holding up a copy of the book with post-its all over it, marking all the projects she wants to introduce at her school!
3. What request do you have for our readers?
Of course I’d like everyone to buy the book not only for themselves, but to give as gifts to everyone they know who wants to be inspired and make a difference in the world. You can make a difference for as little as 10 cents – that is the cost of planting a tree with Trees for the Future. My goal is to help move readers from despair – “what difference could I make in the world?” – to engagement, working for causes that really float their boat. Maybe you love biking? The book explains how powerful a tool a bike is, getting girls to school. That is just one example of 100!
– Explore and donate to some of the nonprofits who support the solutions highlighted in Betsy’s book:
#womenempowerment #poverty #solutions #equality #sustainability #education #nonprofits #ngos #author #100under100 #giveback #socialgood #socialgreatness #solar #power #digitalinclusion
Aug 6th, 2015