Tag Archives: Aarti shrivastava

Capturing research & innovation for health, equity and development

9 May

‘Humanity Watchdog’ showcased its first photo competition at forum 2012 (COHRED group) in Cape Town, Western Cape. The competition aimed to bring to light pioneering research projects and to illustrate their impact and value to people’s lives, in real circumstances. These pictures illustrate ways in which research for health can be brought to the next level through appropriate policies and investments.

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Policymakers, businesses, CSOs and partners joined the Council on Health Research and Development Group (COHRED), to stimulate research and innovation for health and development last week, from April 24 to April 26, 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.

In a three-day discussion dubbed Forum 2012 on the theme, “Beyond aid…research and innovation as key drivers of health, equity and development’ panellists – including Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, South Africa, deliberated on how systems can be put in place to help countries design their own effective and self-sustaining health and development solutions through research and innovation.

According to a press release on the forum, Minister Naledi Pandor, started the discussion by highlighting how investment into health research is important, not only for the African continent, but for the global community. It quoted her as citing the alarming presence of tuberculosis throughout the world as one of the many reasons why research needs to be done.

In order to achieve this, “establishing partnerships is very important to ensuring our growing investments in research and innovation will lead to practical solutions and better health for the people of our world,” Pandor said.

Also contributing, Professor Carel IJsselmuiden, Executive Director of The COHRED Group, said lower income countries should not be doing research or producing products specific only to their own country, but should rather have global goals. “There is no reason why an African scientist can’t compete beyond their country. This is another reason why we have to move beyond aid,” said IJsselmuiden.

For her part, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Assistant Director General of Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research, said lower income countries need help to achieve this, urging Forum 2012 to assist countries to become leaders in their own research and development. According to Kieny, there needs to be a transfer of technology and support of local production for this to happen.

In response, Mario Ottiglio, Associate Director of Public Affairs and Global Health Policy, International Federation of Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers and Associations, said his organisation would be assisting lower income countries by contributing expertise to Forum 2012 on technological transfer, as well as on neglected tropical diseases.

Dr. Jailson de Barros Correia, Director of the Department of Science and Technology at Brazil’s Ministry of Health said that increasingly developing countries are becoming more interested in helping themselves. According to de Barros Correia, this is evident on a micro-level in Brazil where the poorer sections of the country want to devise solutions, rather than being part of the problem. “These countries want to be protagonists in that history. We want to be more pro-active,” he said.

De Barros Correia also emphasised that health and development are inextricably linked to each other. “Health is development. Through health you reach development, and there’s no development without health,” he opined.

In response to questions from the floor, Professor Bongani Mayosi, Chairperson of the National Health Research Committee of South Africa, said it will be impossible to go beyond aid if governments are not looking beyond health research. “We need to be sure that we’re translating the research into useful products, like policies, health programmes and clinical practise.”

Mayosi used South Africa as an example, where no formal mechanisms are in place to ensure that research that is being undertaken is translated into policies, which in turn should benefit patients. For this reason, Mayosi was adamant that governments need to be held accountable. Panellists also emphasised the need for government departments to collaborate when it comes to research funding, while Mayosi said these collaborations need to be well coordinated in order to be successful. He said the role of the National Health Research Committee of South Africa was to do just this: Coordinate organisations in their research and draw them together instead of competing against each other.

‘Forum 2012’, was jointly organised by the Council on Health Research and Development Group (The COHRED Group), the Departments of Science and Technology and Health of South Africa.


A Design for change

17 Oct

In early 2009, Kiran Bir Sethi launched her biggest initiative to date, a national campaign that encourages school children across India to participate in a one-week project to change some aspect of life in their own communities. With only a few months’ lead time, she bravely vowed to involve 20,000 schools and 100,000 students. In fact, 32,274 schools across India participated in the “Design for Giving School Contest”, and hundreds of thousands of school kids were involved. Participants entered as student teams represented through a classroom, grade, or school. Having been invited to “redesign” their communities, winners were chosen based on their projects’ impact according to the number of people affected, quickest impact, maximum potential for long-lasting change, easiest to replicate, and most environmentally friendly. A special Gandhi Prize was also awarded—all projects take place the week of October 2, the revered leader’s birthday.

The thousands of projects submitted to the “Design for Giving School Contest” ranged across nine languages and diverse imperatives. Among them: Save Our Mangroves, Help Reach the Unreachables, Avoid Transgender Discrimination, Care for and Protect the Homeless, and Stop Child Marriages. Also proposed were Collect Plastic Bags Week, Playground for Children, Dignified Attire, and a Stop Spitting Campaign. My favorite proposal came from a village where the crematorium was located next to the schoolyard. Children who had clear sightings of burials during recess organized to petition the town council to erect a wall blocking their view. The wall doubled as a space for posting public announcements. Per the contest’s stipulations, this project too was accomplished within a week.

The Bishop’s Co-ED School was one of the school that made its way to the submission:

Directed & Produced by Aarti Shrivastava

“Every Child an Entrepreneur”

14 Oct
The idea of “Every Child an Entrepreneur” came about when the kids desired changes in their school in the form of computer education. Since the school did not have funds for a computer, the kids initially decided to raise fund by donation but coming from low income communities, they were able to raise only 3K which was not sufficient to buy a computer. Despite the set-back, the children turned it into an opportunity by coming up with a brilliant idea to organize themselves in interest groups and work over Saturdays to produce artifacts for a Fun fair using the initial 3K as seed money. The idea was that they wanted to create a market where they could sell their goods and hopefully raise enough funds for a computer.
On 2nd October 2010, the Sunrise Team organized SUNFEST – A FUN FAIR!! The Fun Fair was Phase 2 of the “Every Child an Entrepreneur” program wherein the school children tried to raise funds for buying a school computer; from a fun filled event featuring games, prizes, music, delicious food and art+crafts made exclusively by the kids over the past few weeks. The event was a huge success with more than 20 stalls put up by the students attracting more than 1000 visitors. The event made a profit of 13K which was enough to buy a computer as was the original objective of the “Every Child an Entrepreneur”.
The most heartening aspect though is the fact that it has given the kids the confidence of “I CAN” and they are already planning for a larger “Annual Event”  with the objective of raising funds for a water purification unit in school. As was apt on occasion of 2nd October, “The Children became the CHANGE they want to see in the world”

Directed & Produced By Aarti Shrivastava

Empowering the impoverished

3 Oct

The students of Jamnabai Narsee School have taken up this project with the help of Navjeet Community Health Centre which is an outreach of the Holy Family Hospital. This centre has served poor slum communities since 1978. Thousands of lives have been transformed through Navjeet projects in integrated health care, education, community development and empowerment of women.

These students have been visiting one such municipal school, identified by Navjeet,  daily since the last 10 days and undertook various activities like teaching prayer singing, dance, making cards, paper bags, puppet shows, lessons from relevant academic course, importance of hygiene, etc.

The objective was to:

· Animate the disadvantaged sections of our society in order to tap their potential

· Enhance the quality of their life thorough Education, Health, Advocacy and Community Development to place them on the path of quality living.

These five students touched the lives of around 50 slum children and left an indelible mark. This is the change they wish to bring in our entire society.

Directed & Produced By Aarti Shrivastava

Design is capable of igniting change !!

29 Sep

“The Idea of getting children to isolate a problem that deeply affects them, then find and implement a solution, empowers them in a way most people never enjoy. It is a belief that CAN and WILL build more just, compassionate and happier societies.”

– RAHUL BOSE, Actor/Activist.

Design For Change is the World’s largest contest for school children. 24 countries are a part of this contest where school children design simple yet bold solutions for some of the biggest problems that our world is facing.

In early 2009, Kiran Bir Sethi (Riverside School) launched her biggest initiative to date, a national campaign that encourages school children across India to participate in a one-week project to change some aspect of life in their own communities. With only a few months’ lead time, she bravely vowed to involve 20,000 schools and 100,000 students.

For the Design for Change Week, children are asked to design solutions for problems that they encounter in their lives, schools, neighbourhoods or communities, implement these solutions in a week, and then share it.

Akanksha Team, at Shindewadi School will be empowering children to do the same this week which is call “Joy of Giving Week.”

Akanksha Shindewadi Mumbai Public School in Dadar

They come from low income communities and the majority of them live in the adjoining neighborhood. They are saddened to think of the water, noise and air pollution. Images of the dirt but naturally haunt them, since they see it around them every single day. They express their anger towards people throwing anything to everything straight out of their windows, on cars, on the streets, on roof tops etc. While they sit out in the shade for extra class they are afraid some wrapper or fruit peel may fall directly on their teacher’s head. These bright children who are being educated in English medium schools and empowered to think and question independently, realize that it is this very act of their families and communities at large – act of polluting – that results in all the illnesses, which in turn results in absence from school and poor. This downward spiral seems but inevitable once begun. But our Standard 3 and 4 children beg the question – Why should this circle of dirt and pollution begin in the first place?

So children came up with a very interesting solution! A solution they believed will change their surrounding. Watch it to believe it. Very inspiring!

Please select 720p HD below YouTube window to view this video clearly!

Directed & Produced By Aarti Shrivastava

Edited By Pranav Patel