Okay, it is inevitable. November is approaching in America and everyone wants to know. At least, everybody you meet in the U.S. or the developed world wants to know. Who are you going to vote for?
Many people I know in the U.S., who don’t have the opportunity to travel abroad, or do, but usually do so on vacation, likely, will be asked about the American election. The results will have a big impact in the developed world. But, where I go, into the poorest parts of the developing world, awareness of the elections is virtually nil. In that world, where people are striving to escape poverty, little time, if any, is spent wondering who you are going to vote for President of the United States. Here it is the topic of conversation. There it is off the radar screen. At the bottom of the pyramid people are focused on the next meal, where the next dollar will come from if a child falls ill, or how their children will get an education and hopefully escape the ravage of poverty. For them, the hyperbolic politics in the U.S. is largely irrelevant. So, here, because a debate about a candidate’s worthiness can be so polarizing, when people ask me who I am going to vote for I have a different response.
I don’t mean to be flip and I know many of the names I am going to mention would not qualify for the U.S. presidential race, but I am going to mention them anyway because if any of our candidates had the attitude and vision these people have we would all be better off for it.
Sanga Moses is Ugandan and the leader of Eco-Fuel Africa www.ecofuelafrica.co.ug. Born in the forest during the Ugandan civil war he doesn’t even know his true age. So, he is probably disqualified on two counts. But Sanga has started a successful social enterprise that reduces deforestation, provides a healthier fuel for cooking, creates sustainable businesses for highly marginalized women and educates young girls heralding a future for them that will bode well for his country. He is a great candidate.
Alex Eaton, a New Hampshire farm boy and Camilo Pagés, a Mexican entrepreneur run Sistema Biobolsa, www.sistemabiobolsa.com, an enterprise that focuses on transforming traditional farm waste from small single family farms to larger agricultural enterprises into renewable energy that saves money, increases productivity while reducing the carbon footprint that negatively impacts the health and welfare of farmers struggling to get ahead in Mexico. They are a potential President/ VP combo, though Camilo is Mexican and would have to be given a key to the door in the “huge” wall so he could travel back and forth to see his family. Sort of like the new Mayor in London.
I could go on and on about the folks I meet that work in the social impact space who do not see the double bottom line of profits and social goodwill as mutually exclusive. There are more than anyone could imagine, though not enough to deal with the host of challenges facing us all. Low and behold, many of them are Millennials; you know, those slackers the media loves to harp about. Given the choice these are the people I want leading our country and yours. I would vote for them if I could.