During my travels in Africa as a correspondent for PRI’s The World, I saw many well-meaning people who wanted to “do good.” But their initiatives had wide-ranging degrees of success. And I discovered that even efforts born of the best intentions can actually cause harm. This was never more apparent than when I did a follow-up investigation on a celebrated technology called the PlayPump.
After reporting on the myriad problems that befell both the PlayPump and the communities it was supposed to help, I decided to create a podcast devoted to looking critically at the business of doing good. It’s called Tiny Spark.
This is the impetus behind a new series that I’ll be reporting with PRI’s The World.
We’re going to produce four in-depth, investigative stories that take a hard look at celebrated initiatives to find out what they have actually accomplished. With on-the-ground reporting, we’ll follow the charitable money trail. We’ll ask tough questions of well-intentioned people and programs. I’ll be digging through documents and traveling down dirt roads with the goal of figuring out how doing good can be done better.
I’ll be posting updates from the field and asking for your input along the way. If you think there’s a global health or development initiative that needs further investigation, we’d love to hear from you.
To connect with me about this series, find me on Twitter @tinyspark_org or drop me an email at: ideas AT tinyspark DOT org.