The transition from “labs to villages” of life-changing health and agricultural innovations may be delayed or even prevented if the many ethical, social and cultural (ESC) issues that arise along the “critical path” from discovery to development to delivery and adoption are not addressed. The overarching goal of our ESC programs is to work closely with the Strategic Program Teams (SPTs) and functional units in the Global Health and Global Development Programs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to anticipate and proactively address major ESC barriers along the critical paths for initiatives and interventions supported by the foundation, and for the broader global health and development community.
Consisting of an experienced, respected, international team of inter-disciplinary scholars drawn from the developing and developed worlds, the ESC Program engages in evidence-based research and fieldwork to devise novel, rapid, effective, and customized solutions to complex ESC challenges facing the field of global health and development, including but not limited to: issues related to the collection, use and sharing of data & tissues, rethinking clinical trials, public health ethics, and trust between public and private sectors in nutrition and agricultural development.
We currently focus in two core areas:
- Global health
- Agricultural development under the Water-Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project
Southern Vaccine Advocacy Challenge (SVAC)
On March 15, 2012, the Southern Vaccine Advocacy Challenge (SVAC), created and supported by the Ethical, Social and Cultural Program, awarded five organizations with $10,000 each to apply creative and innovative approaches to generate public and political demand for vaccines and immunization in their countries.Each grantee has filmed a short video to explain his or her project, click on the image to the left to watch the videos.
Ethical, Social, Cultural, and Commercialization (ESC2) Program for the
Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project
The WEMA Project is a public-private partnership which seeks to introduce drought-tolerant maize, royalty free, to small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. In doing so, WEMA faces a potentially significant barrier due to diminished public trust in public-private partnerships involved in the development of genetically modified crops. To enable WEMA to address and overcome this barrier, we provide social auditing services to the WEMA project and concurrently use case studies and working papers to generate knowledge that can facilitate the appropriate and successful adoption of WEMA and other agro-biotechnology crops.
Ezezika, O., et al. (2009). A Social Audit Model for Agro-biotechnology Initiatives in Developing Countries: Accounting for Ethical, Social, Cultural, and Commercialization Issues. Journal of Technology Management and Innovation, 4:3, pp. 24-33.
ESC2 Social Audit Reports and WEMA Management Responses