Bill and Melinda Gates have commended the efforts of those they referred to as optimists, for devoting their ideas, resources and lives in solving the world’s challenges.
The co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave the commendation in a letter titled, “Bill and Melinda Gates: Our 2019 Annual Letter. Things We Didn’t See Coming”.
They described 2018 as a year filled with a series of surprises.
“From especially devastating natural disasters on one hand to record numbers of women campaigning for office on the other.
“The world looking background from today is very different from what we pictured a couple years ago looking forward,” they said.
They, however, said the surprises had helped prod them to action because they realised that people’s realities of the world didn’t match their expectations for it.
Bill Gates explained that he read an article 25 years ago that said hundreds of thousands of children in poor countries were dying of diarrhoea.
He said it was surprising because he lived in a world where innovation was for everyone and no child was allowed to die from a disease that could have been prevented.
“That surprise helped crystallise our values; that discovery was one of the most important steps in our journey to philanthropy.
“We were surprised, then we were outraged, then we were activated,” he said.
They noted that one of the good surprises they had with malaria was the reduction in malaria deaths to 42 pet cent since 2000.
The reduction was due to interventions such as bed nets, targeted at reducing the disease’s burden.
Gates’ highlighted other things that had surprised them in the philanthropic journey.
They said some worried them while others inspired but all prodded them to action; they encouraged everyone to do the same to help the world get better.
The other surprises they highlighted include that Africa being the youngest continent; DNA tests can find serial killers and could also help prevent premature birth.
Others are; data can be sexist, you can learn about processing anger from teenage boys, there’s a nationalist case for globalism, toilets haven’t changed in a century and textbooks are becoming obsolete.
Gates’ said they were still absolutely optimistic about the future and believed in the power of innovation to help solve the world’s challenges.
They urged everyone to heed the call to action by taking up responsibilities by devoting their ideas and resources.
“When we’re feeling overwhelmed by negative headlines, we remind ourselves that none of us has the right to sit back and expect that the world is going to keep getting better.
“We have a responsibility to do everything we can to push it in that direction,” they said.
By Oluwashina Iyanda