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Blog Post

Creativity + Communications + Grand Challenges Explorations = A Powerful Voice for Global Aid

  • Ling Wong, Apr 6, 2012

We're all aware of the great campaigns such as "just do it" with Nike, or "good to the last drop" for Maxwell House coffee. They've lived for years, and are authentic interpretations of the brands. They're designed to conjure an image, a feeling - a theme of optimism. And these brands are expressed succinctly in a simple thought, a simple slogan. Where is that campaign for development aid?

Over the past few years, through the Grand Challenges Explorations program, we have called for innovations in research for global health infectious diseases such as TB, Malaria, and HIV, along with ideas for new sanitation technology and improvements in agriculture. We have seen a lot of amazing and creative ideas, often from unexpected sources: an astrophysicist developing a device that uses infrared light to disrupt mosquito sensory systems - thereby confusing the mosquito's ability to reach human hosts and helping to reduce malaria transmission - and a mechanical engineer designing new processing devices to turn leafy vegetables in Africa into tastier, more nutritious diets for children. If GCE can encourage innovators in physics and engineering to submit ideas pertaining to global health, could we also encourage a range of thinkers to create new approaches to development aid campaigns?

Let's consider how recent innovations in online, interactive data visualization platforms or crowdsourcing software have made statistics engaging and fun while awakening a global audience to the dire inequities that drive global health and development goals. These novel uses of technology to communicate the big-picture view and human dimension of complex topics, like development aid, are great sources of inspiration for what we're seeking in the GCE Communications topic.

Harnessing the creative, the analytical, and the unexpected from anyone who can help tell a story is the goal of "Aid is Working. Tell the World." This is an issue that affects all of us, and we could each come up with suggestions and ideas of how to change this narrative. Anyone from any discipline - from seasoned communication professionals to social scientists, students, engineers, and researchers - can submit an idea that outlines innovative ways of telling the world that development aid changes lives for the better.

Your great idea can be submitted online until May 15, 2012. More information on the topic and detailed application instructions can be found here.

Successful projects will then have the chance to seek up to $1 million in additional Grand Challenges Explorations funding to bring their idea to fruition, and the opportunity to attend Cannes Lions 2013 to showcase to the rest of the global community your great idea.

Aid is working. How would you tell the world?

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.
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