IMG_0008        Between the ages of 6 and (almost) 10, I lived in rural India with my family. My father was a factory manager and ran a plant which manufactured light bulbs, and employed about 1500 people.

Once year the factory would give a present to five villages in our district. The gift would consist of a metal cabinet, with metal shelves, and it was filled with publications put out by the Indian government, designed to improve rural living. It was everything from well building, to crop rotation, but also information about childcare and building practices.

My dad would say that after a few years you could go to the villages and observe what happened. In four of the villages, the only change was that the bookcase was now on the floor, the shelves were dividers and they were now using it to store lentils and potatoes away from the rats (who had undoubtedly eaten the books by now.)

But the 5th village was different. Walking there you could see their verdant fields and in the village the children were running around, full of energy and already a few houses were built, clearly strong enough not to be washed away by the next monsoon.dreamstimefree_220904

The 5th village usually had the good fortune to have at least 2 people who could read, and who did read, and who got curious about the books. And then they had the leadership and tenacity to get together their neighbors and friends as they read out loud from the books. And the villagers then had to have the hope and energy to implement the new solution suggested in the books. The success of one project made them more willing to listen to the next new idea and in an amazingly short time life in the village improved.

So many years later we now have new ‘metal cabinets’ full of information: the Internet and cell phones with its ap capability. At this point, the technology is not yet universally available, but this is not far off.

What we are missing is a single, trustworthy site with appropriate solutions. 5V is that site.

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