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For Tom M. and All: Making Uplifting Music "Toe"-gether!

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  • Janet Feldman
    Dear Tom, Andrius, and All, Hello and BRAVO for all of your uplifting --and UPLIFT--work! I first ran across you at O/net, and made a note then too about
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2 9:37 PM
      Dear Tom, Andrius, and All,
      Hello and BRAVO for all of your "uplifting"--and UPLIFT--work!  I first ran across you at O/net, and made a note then too about Marcia Odell, who you mentioned in conjunction with microfinance, development work, and travelling to Kenya. Some of my own work centers there (I net/work with a wide array of nonprofits in Kenya, and run the international branch--in the USA--of a Kenyan HIV/AIDS NGO, KAIPPG). More abt that is at www.kaippg.org.
      KAIPPG has a similar "self-help" and skills-teaching philosophy and approach, and a number of our programs center around women. I would therefore very much appreciate contacts for Marcia and/or some of the women with whom she worked in Kenya, so we could connect and hopefully engage in projects together, including propagation and replication! 
      The Worth Initiative is especially appealing as a model of growth and sustainable development in that sense, because it encourages synergy and a holistic approach (linking financial skills-building and micro-banking with literacy and other educational improvements, healthcare, lobbying and activism for needs and to address issues like domestic violence and trafficking). This is what "holistic helping"--my key concept--is all about, in terms of goals, vision, philosophy, and accompanying implementation.
      For everyone, I have posted more info on Tom below--his work and views--and also about Marcia too, a friend of Tom's and someone who is making pioneering strides as regards grassroots financing for development (ie people working at their own local level in particular), what she calls "nano finance". 
      A number of the nonprofits I/we work with--including in our Minciu-related forums (Holistic Helping, Learning from Each Other, Back to the Root, Social Agriculture, Global Villages, Cyfranogi)--either have some form of micro-finance activity already (and would be interested to learn more abt Marcia's approach in that regard), or want/need to do so. This then is just one of the topics which would be important to discuss with some depth (and with a goal of action).
      Tom, the kinds of things you outline below--change happening from the inside out, finding ways to reach the largest number of people possible with "infectious good" news, an arts and media approach to mass communications, "learning by doing", transformation not measured in monetary terms, and ensuring (as much as we can) that we solve challenges in such a way that the situation is better and not worse for our interventions--are near and dear to many of us here (and yes, I try to be a poet, even if the world would rather not know it, haha!).
      I and we look forward so much to talking further and working with you!  My "other hat" is as founder/director of an international arts coalition called ActALIVE (www.actalive.org), whose 300 members in 30+ countries use arts and media to address HIV/AIDS and development issues (MDGs). Our members are trying through their creative work to turn a "negative" connotation for the word "viral" into something positive (in more than one sense of the word, as some of our members are HIV+).  So the ideas you and others are discussing re "viral videos" will be of great interest to them, and I'm sure we can get working on them in that context!
      We have filmmakers among us, including youth from a recent project we helped to organize in Kenya called JUMP (Juveniles Using Media Power (www.jumptochangetheworld.org), and some who took part--at the recent International AIDS Conference in Toronto--in the MTV-organized event, "48Fest", where 7-8 different groups of youth from different countries of the world formed teams who had 48 hours to make short videos on assigned subjects related to HIV/AIDS, health, and activism.  Quite a learning experience, fun, and with definite potential for "infectious good"!
      With greatest thanks and kudos, and hope we can "be" good and "do" good together!  All best wishes,  Janet (Feldman, kaippg@...  ...graduate Star Fleet Academy, where we lift not only "up", but "off", haha!)
      Uplift Academy:

      From Tom's entry at Uplift Academy:

      I am focusing my attention on what I call the "transformational sector" - those activities that involve an "inside-out" change - such as health, international development, and education - that is not easily measured in terms of monetary transactions. I have also noted the rise of "Problem-Industrial Complexes" - industries that arise with a vision of solving a problem, but whose growth is fueled by the problem getting worse. I discovered that using technology to make a problem-industrial complex more "efficient" can result in its getting worse faster.
      The goal of this workshop will be to explore ways that we can use the rapidly emerging capabilities of "new media" for uplifting activities. In particular, we will look at "viral videos" and how a simple video clip can emerge in a video sharing service to be seen by millions of people in just a short time. We will be looking at ways of using this technology and media to create "infectious good" - good things that spread themselves from person to person or group to group.
      We will be looking at both the US Domestic market, but also the less developed countries, exploring ways of reaching large numbers of poor people with uplifting ideas. One idea the Uplift Academy is exploring is the notion of savings-led microfinance, what we are calling NanoFinance, with a small grant from Omidyar.net. We are also exploring some of the multi-generational issues involved with the internet, looking at ways of engaging the "baby boomer" generation in Better World Activities.
      Beyond the formal goals of the workshop, we are also building a network of like-minded people with a diverse array of skills that we hope can be drawn on for future activities. Given the rapid growth and evolution of web-based activities, and the rapid pace of new media production and release, we hope to created the core of a "Viral Video SWAT team" who can pull together quickly for simple, fast-acting media responses.
      The workshop will have a "Learn by Doing" component to it, producing a YouTube clip at the end of the workshop. This is a very fast-moving field, and opens many new opportunities of global scope. We hope that a little creativity applied at the right time and place can have a tremendous effect on making the world a better place.
      Nano Finance
      Submitted by Tom Munnecke on Mon, 2005-11-28 13:05. Follow up to Boston
      This topic discusses savings-led microfinance techniques, as pioneered by Marcia Odell.
      We are calling it "nano" because it:
      -reduces the amount of capital required to start a group,
      -is savings-based, rather than debt-based
      -reduces the need for intermediaries to manage the interest
      -keeps the capital in the village, along with its control
      Oxfam America's Jeffrey Ashe and Vinod Parmeshwar are also implementing nano finance projects, experimenting with oral bookkeeping techniques to reduce even the paper and pencil costs of the community savings process.

      Marcia Odell  has won many awards for her successful work as founder of the Women's Empowerment Program in Nepal, sponsored by PACT, including the "Change the World" Best Practice  Award from the Club of Budapest.  The World Bank and the Government of Japan, through the Global Development Network, cited her program as one of the ten most innovative development projects in the world in their 2000 development innovation competition. 
      This program is heavily based on the concepts of Appreciative Inquiry.  It pioneers several interesting patterns: of savings-led microfinance (women save their own money, and keep their capital in their own village, rather than assuming debt and interest payments to the "city"), self-organization  (her lecture in Nairobi 2 years ago triggered the formation of 64 women's groups in Kenya, which went on to create over one hundred more), self-propagation (women who learn to read go on to teach their friends), and autonomy-inducing help.
      This program, now called the  Worth Initiative, was featured in January 2003 issue of Glamour Magazine: 125,000 of [Nepal's] poorest women recently taught themselves to read and operate village banks. "The men used to laugh at us for studying," participant Bipi Maya Tamang told a project field-worker. "Now they see so many changes. They encourage us."  The program clearly boosted the women's confidence, but the benefits didn't stop there. "The women started businesses and nurseries," says Marcia Odell, who oversaw the recently completed project for Pact, an international development nonprofit. "They lobbied for roads and clinics, then tackled issues like alcoholism, domestic abuse and sex trafficking." Just three years later, 6200 women's empowerment groups exist in Nepal."
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