Midwives in Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state, represent the front line in a nationwide battle to improve the lives of women. They are helping to reduce domestic violence and improve education, while also working hard to maintain a maternal mortality rate of close to zero.
Food security is a pressing issue for millions of people worldwide. But one South African project demonstrates that, with a little guidance, local people can often produce their own food in a healthy, environmentally sound way, with additional benefits like economic growth and empowerment of the community.
When there are chores to be done during the day and it's dark in the evening, children find it difficult to learn. But Malian entrepreneur Daniele Dembele is bringing electricity to remote rural areas, so local schools can light their classrooms long into the night.
Cervical cancer kills more than half a million women worldwide every year, and is the leading cause of female cancer deaths in the developing world. New low-tech screening programs have begun to reduce cancer deaths but campaigners like Sarah Nyombi, a politician in Uganda, want to see more.
The Advance Market Commitment scheme, formulated by the GAVI Alliance, aims to provide more vaccines to the developing world by fixing their price over a 10-year period. Is it going to deliver, what will be the result, and how did global health institutions and the big pharmaceutical companies manage to agree on such a deal?
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.
Kids in developing countries need vaccines, but will the world's wealthy financial markets really help to deliver them? A deal brokered by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has so far raised nearly $2 billion for just that purpose. It's called the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), and author Aminatta Forna wants to know how it works.
Throughout the world, access to safe drinking water is the most critical element of sustained good health. Clean Water focuses on the highly successful efforts of one humanitarian organization, East Meets West, to bring safe drinking water to rural communities in Vietnam -- led by staff member Richard Brogdon, a Vietnam war veteran who has special reason to help the local Vietnamese community.
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.
Solar rechargeable lamps are helping to transform life in remote rural regions far from the national grid. This has allowed villagers in Laos to stop burning kerosene at night, while also creating new business and educational opportunities.
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.
One third of the world's population doesn't have access to electricity. The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) is helping remote rural communities to harness the power of the sun to give them safe, cheap energy to power lighting, medical refrigerators, and modern communications devices.