Friday, October 15, 2010

Hoping for a Touch of Human Ingenuity in Africa

I am a firm believer in human ingenuity and when push comes to shove, I believe that we will find a way to survive even the most cataclysmic of events.

Sometimes you just wish that the same ingenuity can be used to solve the current problems that are being faced by the planet and that we do not have to face certain extinction before we do something about it.

The water problem in Africa for instance; according to H2O Africa foundation, more than 2 billion people have no access to clean water and sanitation.

We are in the new millennium and you would think that access to safe drinking water should no longer be an issue.

But that is not the case.

About 4 out of 5 Africans still use ground water as their main water supply.

The main problem is that ground water is not always clean and it only comprises about 15 percent of the continent’s water supply.

Why they depend on this ground water if it is only 15 percent of the water available, you may ask.

The answer goes back to technology, or the lack of it.

Many of the tribes in Africa do not even have electricity so they do not exactly have the technical knowledge and the resources to take advantage of their inaccessible water supply.

But you just look over the Internet and you will find that there have been various breakthroughs in technology that should be able to help the water and sanitation crisis in Africa.

There is even a technology that creates potable water out of thin air that will be used by US troops in Iraq to provide them clean water supply anytime they are on a mission.

I am not trying to take away anything from our troops, but I think the right sentiment is why is that technology being used in war and not to save lives?

But as most economists will tell you, people respond to incentives and there is not much incentive in helping Africa aside from the usual thank you and deep gratitude.

The most that we can do is to spread awareness about the problem and contribute to the organizations who champion the cause of the people of Africa.

Maybe someday (hopefully before an end of the world scenario) our human ingenuity will be coupled with our sense of compassion and ability to do good even for the slightest incentives.

Then finally, we can really say that we can change the world for the better.