- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
Excerpts from this week's conversations on Social Citizens, which explores the potential impact of individuals who are combining their use of digital tools and people power to make change in their communities and around the globe.
How can we help others "harness the wind"? I reflected on the story of William Kamkwamba, a 22-year-old Malawian inventor who built windmills to bring power and clean water to his family. William's story is amazing, but I wonder how we can find other young innovators who are off the grid.
Last week I had the opportunity to hear a talk which left me feeling simultaneously inspired and totally inadequate. William Kamkwamba spoke about his life, experiences and inventions, which are chronicled in his new book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Born in Malawi, William and his family survived off the corn from their small farm in Wimbe. In 2001, a drought drastically reduced the crop yield, and famine grew so severe that his family lived on just one or two mouthfuls of food per day. Because money was so tight and his family couldn't afford the fees, William had to drop out during his freshman year of high school. Not wanting to fall behind his classmates, William went to a small library nearby and studied textbooks to try to keep up. Without knowing much English, he taught himself physics by studying the diagrams and translating phrases associated with the diagrams. He then built a series windmills almost exclusively using parts he found in a junkyard. Even in the midst of so many challenges and an absolute dearth of resources, William found ways to improve the lives of his family and his community. His house has power in a region where less than 2 percent of people have electricity. He has created a drip irrigation system, a solar power system, and produced the only clean running water in 60 miles.
Volunteer Platforms for "Good" Need to Be Great Kari suggests we haven't reached our full potential in using technology to engage volunteers and supporters. Nonprofits must use these tools smartly - keeping opportunities up to date, soliciting feedback, and following up with volunteers - to encourage people to continue to use them.
Through celebration and fanfare -- to the tune of a Presidential Summit on Volunteerism in Texas today, Presidents’ Obama and George H.W. Bush will come together to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Points of Light. If you remember back to 1989 when President Bush spoke of a thousand points of light in his Inaugural Address (or even if you don’t), personal computers were becoming commonplace in the West, and mobile phones even if clunky and awkward were quickly becoming a symbol of status. Nintendo had just released its Game Boy, and Microsoft’s first version of Office was available to consumers. These devices and programs were so new and transformative – but never could we imagine their power to mobilize the “thousand points of light” the President spoke of to take action in their communities, let alone halfway around the globe.
Blog Action Day: Going Green As part of Blog Action Day, I offer ways Millennials can go green through their purchases, their service, their classrooms and their social networks.
Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event leveraging the power of blogs around the world to raise awareness and spark discussion on an issue and promote social change. This year, more than 9,000 bloggers are dedicating today's post to discussing climate change, and those posts are expected to reach more than 12 million readers. Although Social Citizens doesn't often tackle environmental issues, we couldn't pass up an opportunity to join a movement on the social web for social change. These are just a few ways Millennials can go, and already are going, green. Read more at Social Citizens.
Should You Need a License to Make a Difference? In response to the discussion around my post discouraging Millennials from founding new nonprofits, I began thinking about how we might reach a middle ground of encouraging innovation and new models without suffering an influx of redundant new organizations. Requiring licenses for nonprofit executives was one possibility, but I invite others to think about alternatives.
Since my recent post encouraging would-be nonprofit founders to think again before converting their passion and ideas into a 501(c)3, I have been excited to see the great conversation around this issue. Thanks to everyone who has weighed in thoughtfully on entrepreneurship, innovation and replication - those who gave me an amen, gave me a strong rebuttal and, last but not least, gave me a raise. Since this issue seems to have struck such a nerve and it's not as black and white as to found or not to found, I think there's still more conversation to be had about how we can achieve a balance that benefits society.