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Maximizing the potential of technology to help the global poor requires fresh thinking.  The legal and policy frameworks that govern innovation and commercialization can either constrain or facilitate the development and application of innovative technologies to tackle poverty, disease, hunger, and ignorance.  Global Access in Action seeks to contribute to the improvement of those frameworks.

We of course are not unique in this ambition; many organizations have similar goals.  However, our approach is unusual in the following respects: 

  • Pragmatism.  We seek to identify reforms that will have meaningful beneficial impact and can be implemented soon.
  • Fieldwork.  We believe that the global poor themselves, the people who work with them, and the companies that produce products they need already have considerable knowledge concerning both the nature of the problems they confront and how technological innovation might alleviate those problems.  To neglect such knowledge would be foolish.  Thus, in addition to conducting traditional research, we interview people “on the ground” and organize workshops designed to identify extant “best practices.”
  • Interdisciplinary orientation.  We look for guidance to methodologies developed in many disciplines—including law, medicine, political science, economics, and sociology.
  • Multi-institutional orientation.  Although we are interested and experienced in law reform, we do not assume that adjusting legal rules is always the best way to help the poor; we are equally interested in initiatives or reforms that rely upon private firms or NGOs, and upon collaborations between governmental and nongovernmental actors.
  • Neutrality.  We are neither affiliated with nor funded by any organizations with financial interests in this area.  Our only ideological commitment is to the reduction of human suffering.

Projects & Tools 01

Global Access in Action

Global Access in Action, a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, conducts action-oriented research into access to lifesaving medicines,… More