Explore solutions more than funds

April 30, 2016

In my previous post — Have Sight, Lack Vision — I stressed that we need to alter the way we look at things and explore solutions. Availability of, or lack of, resources should not be the guiding force when we explore solutions to problems. Unfortunately, what happens is just the reverse. We often hear of politicians and statesmen talking about the huge sums of money required to address the problems that the world is facing in the domains of health, education, poverty, or climate change. What happens in such a scenario is that resource constraints limit our ability to explore low-cost and affordable solutions.

The poor state of school infrastructure—lack of chairs and desks, toilets, electricity etc —in developing countries is identified as a major factor in the achievement of educational goals for young boys and girls. One of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 is to : build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability, and gender-sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.

In India, Aarambh – an NGO in Maharashtra used old cardboard boxes to create school bags that transform into desks. Aarambh identified a problem- Childen were sitting on floor and writing. This affected their posture and learning. And they found an affordable solution. They used old discarded cardboard to create school bags which unpack into small desks. This laudable work can be seen here.

I  wonder why don’t governments build on such innovative ideas, instead of running after the money and delaying action.

It is extremely important now that we have the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with 17 goals to be achieved by 2030. Will there be enough money to adequately fund all SDGs?— is the question daunting all. The mad race for securing resources has begun for different SDGs as if they are competing priorities. All goals are important and inextricably linked. What is important is to see their inter-connectedness. The need of the hour is to identify and scale up the solutions that have worked instead of delaying action till all the necessary resources are secured.