What would YOU like to ask a Global Visionary? When Andrew Bastawrous and Lucy Buck visited Zurich recently, we took the opportunity to get them in a room together and answer your burning questions, during our first Facebook live chat. Don't worry if you missed it - it's still online on the social network - and here are some of the highlights.
The first query was for Andrew, who uses technology to prevent sightloss. Fellow Global Visionary Oliver Marchand wanted to understand exactly how his app works.
"Our Peek Acuity app replicates distance vision charts with letters on a white background which you may have seen when having your eyes tested. Specifically, it replicates the LogMAR 'tumbling E' chart, which relies on different orientations of the letter E rather than different letters, so it can be used by young children or people who can’t read."
Lucy is re-purposing Ugandan orphanages and returning the children - often not actually orphans - to families. Maylis de Solages and Ashoka Switzerland asked her about changing parents' attitudes when many think their offspring would be better off in an institution than at home.
"We give them information on how orphanages don’t give children the foundations they need to thrive in life and how they are very vulnerable to abuse... Sharing the science behind brain development, with personal reflections is a very powerful combination."
"During a time when everyone was telling us there are no families for children in Uganda, with use of social media and a very modest budget we helped demonstrate not only that there is significant appetite but that there are many Ugandan families ready to step up and adopt children... We are now in a place where we have more families trained and accredited than children available for adoption."
Anshul Magotra asked Andrew about Peek's strategy to reach and ensure treatement in remote locations with little access to healthcare.
"We don’t begin a screening programme unless there are resources in place to deliver eye health, " replied Andrew, "For example, eye health camps can bring local clinicians to a community location on a specified day, and our technology means patients and community leaders or teachers can be sent SMS reminders about the location and timing of treatment appointments to improve attendance rates."
Then a fascinating question from Mirjam Walser who asked about the challenges of working in a different culture.
"Our team is Ugandan and very much connected with the communities where we are working," answered Lucy Buck, "There are very useful cultural practices which help our work significantly: reliance on community involvement, the spirit of volunteering, the connectedness of communities and their common understanding of the challenges they face. Some cultural practices which we are trying to change are related to how children’s views and voices are listened to."
Of course, we are all about connecting people here at Global Visionaries, so we were inspired by Lucy's response to Dave Duarte's question about using technology.
"Technology can help us scale the quality of our work, but also help the authorities we are cooperating with to be better at planning and financing the work, after we have completed our work. I heard about how Andrew from Peek Vision has harnessed technology and hopefully we'll be working together." You read it here first!
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