Nicholas Kristof, one of the better known op-ed columnists at the New York Times, continues to be an endless source of inspiration for me. He is a fearless journalist, gifted writer, and embodies the honesty, compassion, and self-awareness we should never stop expecting of our press and those that shoulder the immense responsibility of factual storytelling.
Recently, Kristof announced the launch of Win-A-Trip 2011, an exciting initiative that’s now in its fifth year. The contest gives one student (and for the first time in 2011, someone over 60) the exclusive opportunity to go on a reporting trip to Africa with Kristof this spring or summer. Previous winners have had the chance to travel to places as diverse as Guinea, Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and reported, among other things, on rural health, maternal mortality, AIDS, and poverty. Some of these experiences have been superbly captured in the documentary, Reporter, a film that I encourage all of you to watch. Moreover, if you are able to spare a few hours between now and January 18, I highly recommend you submit an application to the competition. Even if it doesn’t work out, I can assure you it will be one of the more interesting things you do in 2011.
This summer, I hope to be involved in a rural alternative energy project in Zambia, where I am from. Pulling from Kristof’s ingenuous idea, I have been thinking about how exciting it would be to host something similar in Zambia, and to provide the opportunity for others to participate, report on, and help out with a project that is full of promise and truly a ground-up effort.
So I would like to place here an open call for ideas on how this can be structured. I am already working on a project application to Kickstarter as a potential funding source, and would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. I am happy to respond individually and to provide further information.