USAID’s mission to fight global poverty has just received significant support with the recent addition of the Global Development Lab. USAID has long been the leading government agency seeking to alleviate poverty, yet their mission has primarily been that of implementation. The agency is now not only committed to the physical deployment of aid, but also the development of future relief systems.
Founded in April of 2014, the new subdivision seeks to change the ways in which aid is delivered and developed. According to the official website, “The U.S. Global Development Lab is a new entity within USAID that brings together a diverse set of partners to discover, test, and scale breakthrough solutions to achieve what human progress has only now made possible—the end of extreme poverty by 2030.”
The Global Development Lab is bringing the fight against extreme poverty into the 21st century information age. Its aim is to use strategies that top technology companies have used, such as crowd sourcing, big data collection, and constant research and development to find the best solutions in terms of ending extreme poverty.
USAID has appointed Ann Mei Chang as Executive Director for the Global Development Lab. Chang worked for twenty years in Silicon Valley, spending eight of them working for Google as lead engineer of its mobile division. With both experience in the technology and nonprofit sectors, Chang brings a fresh outlook on new ways to implement global development.
The lab is revolutionary in its mission to use resources and partners from both the public and private sectors. The Global Development Lab is partnered with technology companies that are synonymous with innovation. Microsoft, Intel and Nike are listed as cornerstone sponsors. Many of the nation’s top universities, including the University of California, Duke and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have also partnered with the lab. USAID hopes that these partnerships will “leverage the combined skills, assets, technologies, and resources of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to deliver sustainable development impact.”
USAID and its new Global Development Lab are not only attempting to alleviate extreme poverty through donations and other tried methods, but the agency is now attempting to end the suffering of millions around the globe by seeking cutting edge solutions through science, innovation, and collaboration.
– Joe Kitaj