Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Project 10100

Aware of the problems on small farms as well as the accelerating ecological deterioration in the developing world, I had been thinking about various solutions, and talking about them with a few people including Satlaj, who is a developmental economist. Sustainable agriculture appeared to be one of the cornerstones of any such solution. When Sameer informed me about Google's Project 10100, it was immediately clear that promoting sustainable farming would be an excellent idea for this initiative.

The project will ultimately select five ideas based on the following criteria, and a total of USD 10 Million will fund the implementation of all five. The money goes to organizations that implement the idea - we will get just good karma (and perhaps a lousy t-shirt? ;).

  • Reach: How many people would this idea affect?
  • Depth: How deeply are people impacted? How urgent is the need?
  • Attainability: Can this idea be implemented within a year or two?
  • Efficiency: How simple and cost-effective is your idea?
  • Longevity: How long will the idea's impact last?
The reach, depth, and longevity of popularizing sustainable farming globally is easy to see, but how do you effectively educate billions of people in a couple of years with a budget of only a few million dollars? After thinking about it for a few days, it was clear that the best way would be to
  • train a few thousand people,
  • help them establish their own training centers,
  • and then let the program run on its own.
With this central theme we wrote this idea fore Project 10100.



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