CES and the Small Things Challenge

Intel Chairman Craig Barrett gave the opening keynote this year at the Consumer Electronics Show program on Technology and Emerging Countries. The main message of his keynote was that “small deeds done are better than big deeds planned,” and it showcased examples of inspiring programs and people who are advancing education, healthcare and entrepreneurship with technology – in concrete, incremental steps. I include below a summary of these examples as they are definitely motivating in terms of what one person can do to change the world.

Craig also used the keynote to launch (with the help of Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows and Adam Levine of Maroon 5) the Intel Small Things Challenge, where all of us can contribute in whatever small way to improve education and economic development around the world. Please visit the Small Things Challenge website and join us in taking millions of small steps toward enabling all children to go to school and all entrepreneurs to generate jobs and income. And tell your friends!

For the part of the keynote on education, Craig was joined onstage by Carolyn Miles, COO of Save the Children, and Ed Granger-Happ, Chairman of NetHope (and CIO of Save the Children). They talked about how they are working with Intel to improve education in Bangladesh, where one in three kids drops out of school by the fifth grade and those that stay are not learning the skills they need to be competitive in the 21st Century economy. In collaboration with Intel, they are going to be able to provide Classmate PCs to these kids and train the teachers in how to use the technology to teach skills that will help the kids get better jobs. Ed also showed how Catholic Relief Services is using the Intel-powered Rugged PC to track the spread of the cassava root disease in Africa and train farmers in its eradication.

In healthcare, Craig showed a cool video game that Warner Brothers, in conjunction with Intel and the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has developed in Kenya, to educate youth about AIDS prevention. He also showed a mobile Internet device enabled by WiMAX that lets doctors at Vanderbilt University evaluate and monitors patients in Africa.

In terms of promoting entrepreneurship, Craig showed a video of the work of kiva.org in Sierra Leon. Kiva uses the Internet to enable micro-lending for entrepreneurs in developing countries like Sierra Leon, creating jobs and income that allows kids to stay in school. Craig also talked about the example of Apurv Mishra from India, a high school finalist in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in 2006. As his project, Apurv created a low-cost device to help people who are paralyzed communicate. He also started a virtual consulting firm of 400 Intel ISEF alumni called the Innovator Factor Foundation to address challenges in developing countries through the use of technology.

Bringing it all together, Craig did a live video link with Dr. Amol Goje, the dean of the engineering school at the Vidya Pratishan’s Institute of Information Technology in India. Dr. Goje showed how, in the village of Baramti, they are using a fleet of mobile computer labs to bring technology education to 20,000 students in the area. He also talked about how 12,000 women are receiving technology training in 107 computer centers, and how the health clinic is using a telemedicine unit to enable remote diagnostics of EKGs and eye exams. The programs charge participants a small fee (for example, the mobile vans charge parents $3 per year for their kids to participate) and are therefore sustainable. Based on the fact that they are about to buy 17 more buses and expand to 6-7 more hospitals, the programs are also scalable!

Adam Duritz and Adam Levine came onstage with Craig at the end of the keynote, to talk about why they are working with Intel on the Small Things Challenge. The bottom line was that all of us have a role to play, every single person matters, every small action makes a difference. Hope you’ll join us!

3 Responses to CES and the Small Things Challenge

  1. Carolyn - COO at Save the Children says:

    The Small Thing Challenge is a great opportunity for people to get involved, with INTEL putting in significant financial support and awareness building help for kids that don’t have an opportunity to go to school.
    Having visited programs all over the world, I can tell you there are millions of children that just want the opportunity to learn. Whether they are in Sudan, Afghanistan, or the DRC, many of these children have never had the chance to go to school because of conflict – its time they did and Rewrite the Future is trying to do just that – rewrite the future for millions of children, so they can be the ones who change things in their own countries.
    Hope you can join INTEL, Save the Children and Kiva!

  2. Karen says:

    Thanks for the update Julie. I love hearing about how Intel is making a difference, one microprocessor at a time!

  3. moom says:

    I love the Small Things Challenge and the Organizations Intel partnered with.
    I have been spreading the word, and clicking every now and then. I would like to leave a suggestion: It would be nice if the site had some sort of feedback, letting as know how the progress is going. Thanks!