Posts Tagged ‘BBC’


Innovation of the Week: TXT for AID

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By Joseph Zaleski

In her address before the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to alleviate starvation in the Horn of Africa and build a more secure food supply for the future. Governmental organizations and NGOs are not the only ones supplying innovations and assistance – Secretary Clinton also noted several partnerships with private companies.

Mobile messaging services bring the power of information to previously isolated rural populations. (Photo Credit: Martin Godwin/ The Guardian)

One of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) partners is Souktel, a mobile phone service based in the Middle East. Information and communication lines are valuable commodities in a world that is growing more connected every year. The founders recognized the potential for burgeoning mobile phone networks, and began their JobMatch service in 2006. Souktel creates databases, message surveys, and instant alerts that can be sent out and received via mobile phone. The platform tries to better-connect job seekers with employers through basic Short Message Service (SMS) texting.

More recently, Souktel has applied this system to international development work. By expanding their service into northern and eastern Africa, messaging services are being used to connect mobile phone users in previously impenetrable locations with aid and relief workers. This AidLink program allows development workers to create text message surveys with real-time feedback from those most in need. It can be used, for example, to send the location of new emergency relief centers or to make sure that hungry rural populations are actually being served.



Finding Harmony With Agriculture and the Environment: An Interview with Tony Juniper, the Prince of Wales Foundation

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By Amanda Strickler

Tony Juniper is the Special Advisor to the Prince’s Charities International Sustainability Unit (ISU) based in London. He works directly with Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales who through his self-established Prince’s Charities has become an international leader in humanitarian and environmental issues. Tony Juniper is also Editor of National Geographic Green Magazine, co-author of Harmony, a book published in 2010 with the Prince of Wales and Ian Skelly, and author of Saving Planet Earth, the book to accompany the world-famous BBC series Planet Earth.

What can be done to ensure conservation and promote harmony between earth’s ecosystems and agriculture?


Tony Juniper is the Special Advisor to the Prince’s International Sustainability Unit in the UK. He is also a world-renowned author and environmentalist. (Photo credit:

The modern environmental debate and the challenge of sustainable development have been about mixtures of technologies and policies to create different outcomes.  My thinking over the years has altered somewhat to see this not only as a question of technology and policy—it’s also one of philosophy. If we want to have a different relationship with nature, we have to change our attitudes. We’re seeing nature as a source of natural resources and a place to dump waste rather than as an essential partner to be respected and nurtured. That idea is the basis of the book Harmony that the Prince of Wales published last year with Ian Skelley and me. [The book] looks at this world view where we have dominion over nature and the relationship between people and the rest of creation- it’s not harmonious at the moment.

In addition to your past work in environmental efforts and wildlife conservation, what has led you to become a major part of the ISU?

I’ve spent 25 years now working on these subjects and I spent much of it working with Friends of the Earth. As well as being Vice-Chair of Friends of the Earth International, I was Director for Friends of the Earth for this country [UK] for quite a few years and I reached the point where I thought I needed to have a change. At that time the Princes of Wales asked me to come to work on the Prince’s Rainforest Project [PRP] and I thought it was a fantastic idea. I’d known him for quite some time as one of the leading figures on these kinds of questions-one of the people, who was really beginning to make some impact. (more…)