Here is a welcome column by Nicholas Kristof about benevolent billionaires, Bill and Melinda Gates. In this New York Times discussion, Kristof recounts interviews with Bill and Melinda as they reflect on their 15 years work in the developing world. Here is the text to link to:
The Gates talk about what they have learned and how they have adjusted their thinking about what works and what is problematic. Their efforts are tremendous and valuable. From the article:
“So what mistakes did they make in their philanthropy? They say they started out too tech-focused. Now some of the measures they promote are distinctly low-tech — like breast-feeding, which could save the lives of more than 800,000 children worldwide each year.
Likewise, they say, they didn’t appreciate how hard it was to translate scientific breakthroughs into actual progress in remote villages. The challenges of delivering real impact, in environments where nothing works as anticipated, were far greater than expected.” (Bold face, mine)