In the 1960s, a small group of Malian women cloth dyers reinvigorated the craft of hand-dyed cloth using a fabric called bazin. Now, thanks to microcredit programs introduced in the mid-1980s, bazin production has flourished into a lucrative enterprise dominated by women. Their artistic creativity has become a force for alleviating poverty and affirming identity in West Africa.
When you think of Nairobi's slums, performance art probably isn't the first thing that comes to your mind. But the Sarakasi Trust isn't a normal organization. It's working with impoverished Kenyan youths to train them as dancers and acrobats, a process which gives young people self-belief and helps them fulfill their potential both on the stage and off it.
For many children in the West, usually a bicycle is little more than a toy. For Bharati it is a means to an education, a means to a better future, and a tool to achieve what women in her mother's generation could not. Bharati wants to change her world with a little help from her own two wheels.
Bangladesh is one of the poorest nations on the planet: half of its population lives on less than a dollar a day. But in the tiny semi-rural village of Dholla, microfinance loans from the Grameen Bank are empowering locals to create thriving small businesses.
The Great Ones Pre-School in northern Zambia is no ordinary pre-school. Not only does it educate vulnerable children who may otherwise not have a chance to learn, it's also run by young women from a similar background who have seized the opportunity to improve their communities.
In rural Kenya, electricity sockets are hard to find but pedal power is everywhere—which is why inventor Pascal Katana has come up with an ingenious method to charge mobile phones using the energy generated by bicycles.
Children with malnutrition are being given a radical new treatment that is cheap and incredibly effective: fortified peanut butter. Best of all, mothers can administer the ready-to-use food at home, eliminating the need for hospital stays, and empowering families to treat themselves.
After decades of civil war, and years of work clearing up after it, Mozambique is slowly moving towards being declared free of land mines. All thanks to man's unlikely new best friend: the rat.
Cairo's Zaballeen—Arabic for "garbage people"—recycle nearly all the trash they collect, maintaining what could be the world's most efficient waste disposal system. Foreign competition is threatening this community of ecologically minded trash entrepreneurs, which has a lot it could teach the rest of the world about waste management.
A centuries-old local tradition of giving livestock to families in need is being used today to empower women of the Gutu Dobi village of southern Ethiopia. The gift of a goat can significantly help a woman as the traditional head of household: Goats reproduce quickly and make milk that will nourish families.
This team of amputee soccer players from Sierra Leone has only one ambition: to win. Thanks to their skills and passion, they have become symbols of peace and hope for a country struggling to rebuild itself after a long and bloody civil war.
Coffee has become a powerful economic driver for Rwanda, but how have the country's farmers managed to transform their crop into a premium product that can command top prices? The answer lies in washing stations and bicycles.