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People Fixing the World


tories about clever or big new ideas to solve global problems – and probing if these solutions actually work. A podcast from the BBC World Hacks team.

tories about clever or big new ideas to solve global problems – and probing if these solutions actually work. A podcast from the BBC World Hacks team.
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United Kingdom


World News


tories about clever or big new ideas to solve global problems – and probing if these solutions actually work. A podcast from the BBC World Hacks team.




How to Get Wheelchairs on Planes

If you are a wheelchair user, travelling by aeroplane can be very difficult. Buses, trains and some cars are designed for people to roll into without getting out of their chair, but planes are not, which means an often painful process of moving between the chair and the airline seat – if this is even possible. This can potentially lead to injuries and can stop disabled people travelling by air. Now, a small group of amateur campaigners is trying to change this – designing and testing their...

Duration: 00:23:26

Drone Delivery: Medicines By Air

Most Malawians live in rural areas and if they get sick, it can be incredibly difficult to get testing kits or medicines in time. Malawi's government has now opened up part of its sky to companies and charities who want to use drones to solve this problem, creating what’s being called the world’s first humanitarian drone testing corridor. World Hacks travels to rural Malawi to assess the opportunities and dangers from this new technology, and to see how much Malawians could benefit. Image:...

Duration: 00:23:20

Smartphone-Activated First Aiders

Your chances of surviving a cardiac arrest while out on the high street are slim. It's estimated survival rates decrease by ten percent for every minute you don't get medical help. The nearest ambulance may be on its way but could take several minutes to arrive. But what if an off-duty paramedic was just around the corner and could help out? BBC World Hacks looks at a new alert system that informs people with first aid training when they're in the vicinity of a medical emergency. Nick...

Duration: 00:23:21

The Former Neo-Nazi Helping Others To Quit

A retired police detective and a former neo-Nazi leader may seem like an unlikely partnership. But Dr Bernd Wagner and Ingo Hasselbach have taken their past differences and used them as the basis for making a real change. When Hasselbach quit neo-Nazism over two decades ago he and Wagner, who had once arrested him, realised they had a shared dream: to help far right extremists change their ways. Presenter: Tallulah Berry Reporter: Harriet Noble Image: Ingo Hasselbach / Credit: BBC

Duration: 00:23:08

How Iceland Saved Its Teenagers

In 1998, 42% of Iceland’s 15 and 16 year-olds reported that they had got drunk in the past 30 days. By 2016, though, this figure had fallen to just 5% and drug use and smoking had also sharply declined. The action plan that led to this dramatic success is sometimes called “the Icelandic Model” – and strikingly, it does not focus on tighter policing or awareness campaigns to warn children off bad habits. Instead, top researchers collaborate closely with communities on initiatives like...

Duration: 00:23:30

The Missing Maps

Thousands of places in the world don't officially exist on a map. If you're not on a map, it can have implications for how people find you - in times of disaster for example. But a project called Missing Maps is solving that, by using the power of volunteers to make 'invisible people, visible'. At a mapathon in London, volunteers are sitting around their laptops plotting the world. And then in Malawi, mapping experts are putting in essential details to the map. World Hacks travels there to...

Duration: 00:22:56

The Town Where Public Toilets Are Everywhere

to stop people getting caught short. What do you do if you're out and about and can't find a public toilet? Do you sneak into a cafe and hope no one notices, buy something you don't want just for the privilege of using the facilities, or hold it in until you can get home? The number of public toilets around the world is decreasing, making this an increasingly common dilemma. But not in many parts of Germany thanks to a scheme called "Die Nette Toilette", or the nice toilet. Local...

Duration: 00:22:56

Addressing the World in Three Words

Around 75% of the world's population, approximately 4 billion people, don't have an address. Take a country like Mongolia, with a largely nomadic population, where street names and postcodes can be few and far between. But that could all be changing thanks to just three words. Mongolia's Postal Service was the first in the world to sign up to What3Words, an idea from a British former music executive fed up of bands and equipment constantly getting lost. He's divided the entire world into...

Duration: 00:23:24

How Iceland is Fighting the Gender Pay Gap

Although Iceland is thought to be the best country in the world for gender equality, it lags behind in one metric: the gender pay gap. So a decade ago the country's unions and business community came together to try something new. They devised a management standard to help organisations implement equal pay. Now the government has gone a step further and introduced a law that from January will force companies to adopt the standard or face fines. So is this small island nation set to be the...

Duration: 00:23:23

Viking Therapy?

It looks like the set of Game of Thrones. Once a year Wolin in Poland hosts a huge Viking festival - with a twist. Enthusiasts come from around the world not just to re-enact battles, but to win them, fighting competitively. One organiser of these battles has found that this Viking scene can offer positive benefits to men who have been defined by violence in their past, and are now looking for a way to escape. Presenter: Sofia Bettiza Reporter: Dougal Shaw Image: A modern Viking gets ready...

Duration: 00:23:19

How Cervical ‘Selfies’ are Fighting Cancer in The Gambia

It’s not usually a good idea to take selfies of your private parts, but what if those photos could save your life? A new, tiny medical device is being used across Africa to detect cervical cancer from a mobile phone photograph. In Gambia, doctors are often in short supply, but nurses, midwives and smartphones are widely available, allowing patients to be diagnosed and treated remotely. In sub Saharan Africa, cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in women, but it takes...

Duration: 00:23:28

How To Make Sushi From Methane Gas

Humanity’s hunger for meat is not good for the planet. Every cow, pig and fish that farmers rear has an environmental cost – particularly in the land and water resources it takes to grow the food the animals eat. But one entrepreneur is developing a solution – create animal feed from methane gas. Using methane-eating bacteria, they have developed animal feed that uses a fraction of the land and water of plant-based animal feed. Reporter: Charlotte Pritchard Presenter: Sahar Zand Series...

Duration: 00:23:11

When Local Currencies Go Digital

Local currencies – money you can only spend at small local businesses – aim to keep money in their neighbourhood and out of the hands of big corporations and their shareholders. Now they are going digital, with local currencies that live only on smartphone money apps. Could it make them a financial force to be reckoned with? Presenter: India Rakusen Reporter: Dougal Shaw Image: A local digital currency working on a smartphone / Credit: BBC

Duration: 00:23:09

Condom Lifesavers and Voices for the Voiceless

Each year around 100,000 women die due to heavy bleeding after giving birth. But help is at hand from an unexpected source: condoms. World Hacks goes to a maternity hospital in Kenya to speak to the medical staff using this super-cheap kit that is saving lives. Also on the programme, the US start-up that is asking volunteers to donate their voices, then transforming them into personalised, digital voices for people with degenerative diseases. Reporters: Harriet Noble and Amelia...

Duration: 00:23:29

The Dutch Antibiotic Revolution

Antibiotic resistant superbugs are a huge problem both in humans and in animals. Many animals reared for food are routinely fed antibiotics to prevent infections. Farmers across the world do it to protect their livestock and to safeguard their incomes. But some bugs are becoming resistant to these drugs because of their overuse – fuelling the rise of animal “superbugs” like MRSA that could potentially spread to humans. This means that animals and people can die from common infections...

Duration: 00:23:24

How to Get Blood Where it is Needed

The availability of blood for transfusions saves lives after difficult births and operations. But in much of the developing world, hospitals have a blood shortage. One entrepreneur in Nigeria is working on a solution. She has developed an app that connects blood banks to hospitals, and has built a network of moped drivers to ferry blood around Lagos, the largest city in the country. World Hacks investigates whether her solution can save lives. Also on the programme, the designers of a new...

Duration: 00:23:32

Pakistan’s Laptop Female Doctors

How do you help female doctors get back to work when they've given up medicine to look after their families? It's a particular problem in Pakistan where the majority of medical graduates are women who stop working after they get married. Now a scheme has been set up employing them to hold video clinics with patients over the internet, enabling them to work flexibly from home. What's more they're aiming to improve access to health care in Pakistan by targeting their 'computer screen...

Duration: 00:23:31

Urban Cable Cars

Is a new urban cable car in Mexico more than just a means of public transport? As well as ferrying thousands of people a day, it's been strategically located to link up the poorest neighbourhoods to more affluent parts of the city. It's hoped it will bring growth to a forgotten district, reduce crime and become a means of bridging the social divide. World Hacks travels to Mexico City to see if it can achieve those goals and understand why cities are opting for this usual form of transport....

Duration: 00:22:58

Does Universal Basic Income Work?

Around the world, governments and researchers are experimenting with the introduction of universal basic income. From Finland and Spain to India, the idea of giving every citizen – whether working or not – a set amount of money per month is gaining momentum. It’s claimed to be a fairer and more efficient way of running a welfare system, but we’re only just starting to understand what actually happens when you introduce a basic income for everyone. We look at the evidence and try to...

Duration: 00:23:19

The Teachable Moment

Darius has been shot three separate occasions, but the third time was the last. He was met at his bedside by a stranger, who changed his life forever. Victims of violence are, far more likely to be shot, stabbed or violently assaulted a second or third time - as the perpetrators of violence try to silence the victim. In San Francisco, where Darius lived, specially trained case managers visit victims of violence at their bedsides in hospital and work with them to break that cycle of...

Duration: 00:23:24

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