Amy Smith’s TED talk, Simple Designs to Save a Life, brought up many interesting points, but what struck me the most was her statement that the leading cause of child death throughout the world was respiratory issues from cooking fires. Malnutrition and unclean water are issues we all hear about and are real struggles for underdeveloped regions of the world, but I personally had never heard about the hazards of cooking fires (aside from installing carbon monoxide detectors to reduce the risk of poisoning in my own home). Her assertion that solving this type of problem could have ecological, economic, and health benefits was astounding and a true testament to what can happen if we begin to look at local contexts and utilize resources that already exist. Smith’s teams were successful in finding solutions to the local problems because they took the time to examine what was available in the area and how to use resources that would have otherwise been wasted. Another key to their success is that they weren’t discouraged by or scared to admit failure of prototypes. When one idea didn’t produce the result desired, they continued to work until it did. Furthermore, they worked with the solutions that already were “successful” to make them even more competitive in efficiency and ease of implementation. I also liked the idea that she was trying to equip poor farmers with the technology they needed to be more efficient in their work, not discourage them from doing what they already know. The idea of micro-development is somewhat new in terms of actually getting attention in the broad spectrum of aid. Helping people learn skills to help themselves is definitely one of the methods we discussed in class to “do good better,” and I think it is an important takeaway to give people tools rather than just tell them the things they shouldn’t do.