Alleviating poverty is more guesswork than science, and lack of data on aid's impact raises questions about how to provide it. But Clark Medal-winner Esther Duflo says it's possible to know which development efforts help and which hurt—by testing solutions with randomized trials.
Nathan Myhrvold and team's latest inventions—as brilliant as they are bold—remind us that the world needs wild creativity to tackle big problems like malaria. And just as that idea sinks in, he rolls out a live demo of a new, mosquito-zapping gizmo you have to see to believe.
In just 20 years, the Nigerian movie industry has grown from virtually nothing to become the third largest in the world, fueled by low-budget films that are shot fast and released straight to video. But perhaps the most remarkable part of this explosion is that it has required almost no government help or outside aid; instead, it's all down to cheap technology and some remarkably driven filmmakers.
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.
Unlike other African countries, where the discovery of diamonds has turned into a curse, in Botswana the nation's geological wealth has been shared for the greater good.
Hydroelectric projects are popular in developing countries. They are clean, renewable sources of energy. But building dams also means flooding valleys and destroying the homes and livelihoods of local people. In Indonesia, a pioneering program is turning this notion on its head, transforming new lakes into lucrative sources of income, and allowing displaced former farmers to become successful fishermen.
Sampat Pal is a campaigner with a mission: to ensure that those born into the lowest caste have an education, avoid child marriages, and earn a decent wage. But, while Mahatma Gandhi famously preached non-violence, Pal believes that India's long history of patriarchy, abuse, and corruption demands a new style of justice.
J.S Parthibhan is a bank manager with a difference: he's interested in people, not numbers. Through micro loans, he's helping villagers in rural areas develop a sense of entrepreneurship and self-respect.
Can risk management techniques from global financial markets help people in the developing world avoid the worst effects of famine? The World Food Programme's new director of business planning thinks this approach could revolutionize the aid industry.
The Sekem Farm is an ecological paradise in the middle of the Egyptian desert. Both a thriving business and close-knit community, nothing is lost here, and a delicately balanced relationship between workers and nature has been established. With predictions of the world's population rising to 9 billion by 2050, Dr. Abouleish's ambitious vision may well be the future of farming.
It's more than eight years since the Taliban ruled Herat but, for many women here, life has barely changed, with forced marriage, domestic violence, and rape still commonplace. Now a fledgling women's rights movement is determined to change that legacy.
Drawing students from around the world, EARTH University in Costa Rica teaches future leaders how to implement agricultural techniques that drive economic progress while respecting and preserving resources. Its mission is to promote sustainable development and eco-sensitive agriculture in the developing world.
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.
In Caracas, Venezuela the streets thump with hip-hop, Latin rhythms, and violent crime. But the city is also home to a remarkable youth orchestra system that has helped more than a million kids from poor neighborhoods discover a very different world: that of classical music. Only a few will ever become professional musicians, but many more will have their lives changed for the better.
While most industrialized nations are trying to prevent economic migrants from crossing their borders, New Zealand has quietly opened its door to thousands of seasonal guest workers from five Pacific Island nations. Not only are Kiwi businesses happy to have the extra labor, but also worker remittances go directly to where they're needed most: poor villages on islands such as Vanuatu and Tonga.
In the middle of a global recession, Kenya's Equity Bank is booming. Microloans as small as $10 are helping the country's budding business people. Can Wall Street learn a lesson from these rural entrepreneurs?