Financing Educational Projects in Third World Countries – Part III

6 04 2009

THE BLUE OCEAN EFFECT
South Africa, 2006. Six American young men and women are standing in the square of  a local high school where over one thousand students attend; violence is nil, promiscuity is high, AIDS is rampant, and hope seems to be absent as these six young people interact with this large crowd. There are some who walk away, but many want to talk to the Americans and so the sit and talk about culture, money, business, and school. “If only we could get the schooling that you get in the US.” One South African student posited, “then everything would be alright, because we could learn how to care for ourselves, our neighbors, AND our country.” It was an amazing site and it provides the background for a discussion about what could be in the face of so much that is not and cannot be at this juncture in the third world, but could that paradigm be shifted?
The third world has always been in need of resources for them to shift the paradigms of poverty, rampant disease and hopelessness that have pervaded their culture for decades if not centuries, but even the best efforts of the most philanthropic organizations have not been able to really create an environment where lasting change is realized. In addition, it is obvious that a dedication to the higher education of the people of these countries is a must if global changes are going to take place: Educating farmers in Ethiopia could lead to the eventual eradication of starvation. Educating engineers and scientists in third world countries could generate funding that is available for research and academic endeavors. Educating educators in third world countries could lead to a more effective and literate workforce and that could lead to a level of prosperity within the geographical area. These are just some of the examples of what could bring real change to these impoverished nations, but the resources just do not seem to be deep enough to see these ventures through to fruition. In the words of a South African young man, “there is never enough money for us to dream.”
The problem with traditional fund-raising and philanthropy to accomplish these goals and help resource solvency for these problems in the third world is that no amount of money can be amassed that will not eventually need replenishing, and this is where the real “red ocean” issues come into play. Kim and Mauborgne in their critically acclaimed book, Blue Ocean Strategy (2005) talk about the red ocean effect of business as “focusing and accepting the key constraining factors of war – limited terrain and the need to beat and enemy to succeed – and to den the distinctive strength of the business world: the capacity to create new market space that is uncontested (blue ocean, definition added).” Quite obviously, the book is written for those trying to create a niche in the business sector, but in a very real sense, it is the same type of  sustainable resource that is needed when looking at any program of solvency for the issues surrounding third world countries. The question is, “How can a sustainable stream of income be established to support the development, implementation and evaluation of programming designed specifically to help address the major social and educational issues of the third world?” Kim and Mauborne would see this question as being of the wrong focus, they would assert that it is not a stream of income but an ocean of income so that there is a flooding of resources to address these problems not only short term but long term as well. Creating and sustaining an ocean of income takes a blue ocean strategy.

References

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