Since its inception, the ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘ has invested more than $26.1 billion in various health and education campaigns, with efforts directed towards both developed and developing nations.
With more than 1,100 employees, the aim they have is to provide a solution to some of the world’s most pressing problems. It is known to be one of the most transparent and strategy oriented establishments around, which publishes virtually all their findings online through their website and the media.
Earlier this week, the ‘Bloomberg Businessweek’ released an interview with Bill Gates, asking him to comment on the various health and education campaigns initiated by his foundation.
The interview shows the ‘real person’ behind the name ‘Bill Gates‘. Throughout the whole text, he keeps reminding us that the world around us, or to use his words “the rich world”, is not the average place. We often complain about not being able to buy the car we really want, or that vintage dress in that shiny shop, but what we forget is that at this same moment, somewhere not too far from us, a quarter of the kids die before the age of 5.
Bill Gates is not only the person giving the money. He travels, meets ill children and mothers, whose siblings or toddlers have just died, and by doing this he constantly has his own reality check.
One of the initiatives that Gates is very proud of is the polio eradication. The foundation contributes $1.8 billion out of the total $5.5 billion that is raised in order to execute the strict and very well laid out plan. Gates believes that the success of the polio effort could eventually lead to elimination of malaria or measles in a long run. He is convinced that a country with better health care and healthier population has a much stronger chance to eliminate poverty.
An interesting comment that he made is in regards to one of the most recent Google convictions. The internet giant claimed that broadband internet should be brought to developing countries by sending floating broadband transmitters, which, as they say, will bring enormous benefits. Of course, Gates disagreed although he is one of the greatest believers in the digital revolution. His opinion is that in a very poor country, such technology will make no sense unless it solves problems immediately.
Moving on to education, or more specifically the online courses. The foundation runs a number of them, but their statistics show that in developing countries, they have little competition and little effect on employability. This brings us again to one of these ‘reality check’ moments, especially when e-education around Europe and North America is picking up enormous speed.
We prefer to sit behind a computer, read the digital notes and get the certificate after a while. And then there is the technological guru, who emphasizes that in order for these courses to work in poorer countries, we need to send student support, have study groups, provide proper facilities for lab activities, etc. etc..
Coming to the ‘green topic’ of climate change, interviewing Bill Gates must include asking him whether anything could be done to slow down the temperature raise. Although he has invested quite a bit in clean energy, he still thinks that more should be done in order to make a real change in the coming 20 years.
The interview continues with various questions on successful business strategies, and tips for a carrier progress, which we will not mention here. But one thing should not be missed out. Bill Gates is now fully focused on the activities that the foundation undertakes, and has shifted his highest priorities away from the Microsoft giant. Saving a poor child’s life and obtaining equal opportunities for every inner-city person, this is what Gates now considers success.