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on April 12, 2012 at 8:28:43 pm

Welcome to Islands of Achievement: People Building Hope



  • Congratulations to the Kibera community cooker on winning the inaugural World Design Impact Prize. 

  • A fascinating interview with Jessica Jackley, the co-founder of Kiva.org, that talks about how this amazing project began and how hearing peoples' stories changed the view of the 'poor' she grew up with
  • Congratulations to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed of BRAC, winner of the first WISE Award.  It is wonderful to see BRAC getting the world-wide recognition it so richly deserves for its work.
  • Bunker Roy's Barefoot College proves local solutions work most effectively. Recently, the college has been training older, illiterate women as barefoot solar engineers in Africa. Watch him speak on YouTube.
  • A recent video features Josette Sheeran of the World Food Program offering ideas for how to end hunger and famine
  • A brilliant video, Hope in a Changing Climate, demonstrates the capacity of people to regenerate degraded ecosystems, with real stories from China, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.
  • To learn more about my thoughts about how to apply these stories in international development, I invite you to visit my Hopebuilding blog on WordPress.
  • Have a look at Jim Lord's Special Report on how to create the kind of world you want.


About Hopebuilding wiki

Hopebuilding wiki was created to share stories of achievement by ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things to make their world a better place to live in, but whose stories are not as widely known as they should be.  You will meet people here who saw a problem as an opportunity to create something new or something better, whether it be

  • a school principal finding a way to use spare land to grow crops for a school lunch program, and thus inspiring dozens of neighbouring schools to do the same thing
  • a community of slumdwellers setting out to provide water and sewer services to their area, using their own resources and skills, at much less cost than if government did it
  • people in large cities creating jobs for, and bringing gifts to, the homeless who live on their city streets; or
  • a huge company like Wal-Mart realizing that putting canned fish on the store shelves meant doing its best to ensure that the world's fishing industry was sustainable.

You will meet people who built peace for themselves, even while the rest of their country was in chaos, and people who sustained their communities even in the middle of conflict. You will find people who dreamed of eliminating or reducing the death toll from terrible illnesses; suffering people who reached out to each other to provide comfort and support when others would not; and people who wanted to give others the tools to manage their own health care effectively even when no professionals were available. You will find inventive people whose creativity is offering us new solutions to live sustainably on our shared earth. You will find many stories of how people around the world are sharing with each other - stories that don't often make headlines.


Stories from Two Worlds    

Hopebuilding Wiki includes stories from both the "developing" and "developed" worlds, as they are often called. I believe that people living in fragile states and in inner cities and aboriginal communities in North America and Europe have a great deal in common, both in terms of challenges and in inspiring ideas and solutions based on their own capacities and resources.

Many people living in fragile states think of North America and Europe as being incredibly wealthy, not as places with homeless people and public schools without learning resources. Similarly, many people in North America and Europe think of 'fragile states' as being places where nothing works (the picture they see on the news) rather than places where people have used their own knowledge and capacity to develop creative solutions to the challenges they face - solutions that may well help people in "developed" states as well.

Realizing that we share the same challenges means we can be inspired by each other's solutions, capacities, and ideas - and for me, that is the essence of a peer-sharing approach to international development.

For me, these stories show why local knowledge, and local capacity, is such a vital foundation for development at every level. New technologies have shown us that our world is an inter-connected place, and our problems are shared. It is not a world in which some people have all the problems, and other people have all the solutions. In fact, some of the most creative ideas are coming from places or groups that were once seen as "under-developed". Sharing our creative solutions widely means local peoples' expertise and achievements in one country can inspire local people facing a similar problem in another country.

The people in these stories give me hope, and I salute their achievements. I hope you will, as well.


About Hopebuilding

Hopebuilding stories are organized in two different ways - with folders, and with tags. You can see the folders in the sidebar beside this story; they have titles such as Stories about Agriculture. Each story is also "tagged", with additional  labels that indicate other aspects of the story. A story, like the one about a Swaziland glass-blowing business, might be filed under Stories about Work but also might be tagged as being a story about sustainability, for example. In each folder, you will find a "Stories about (topic)" that will give you the list of all the stories tagged with that tag.

You can search for stories by topic, by key word, or by country, using the search facility at the top of the page.

I am currently writing a book about the new conversations in international development that are made possible by the kind of locally-driven achievements you read about on Hopebuilding. You can read more about me and how I came to create Hopebuilding wiki as an applied research project in what I call participatory rebuilding and peacebuilding.


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