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Fellows Friday is a weekly series on the TED Blog that profiles one TED Fellow each week. We have asked the Fellows to answer our question below to share their knowledge and advice with other social entrepreneurs, innovators, and changemakers who are coming up with big ideas that can change the world.
Today, infectious diseases race across the world, and one country’s health burden can affect the entire global economy. For these and other reasons, Alanna Shaikh says global health is a matter of “mutual survival.” While working her day job at an international aid organization, Alanna moonlights as a (refreshingly frank) blogger. Her rare moments not working on matters of global health are often spent reading fans’ re-creations of their favorite TV shows.
Sokunthea: There are many aspiring social entrepreneurs out there who are trying to take their passion and ideas to the next level. What is one piece of advice you would give to them based on your own experiences and successes?
Alanna: I’m really not a social entrepreneur or entrepreneurial at all, but I do have a perspective on social entrepreneurship, since it’s a big force right now in new start-ups in international aid efforts.
I think there are two key elements. First of all: passion. You need to be able to put your heart into it, and keep going, because international development is a really tough field to make a difference in. You don’t see change for 10, 15 years in this field. It doesn’t come quickly, and it doesn’t come easily.
Secondly, there’s a lot of value to actually doing your research first and making sure you’re not repeating something that already failed in 1973. There’s a real depth of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t, and scanning that first will save you a lot of wasted effort.
Read the rest of Alanna's Fellows Friday interview here.