Coming Tuesday, December 25, 2007, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS
Uganda: A Little Goes a Long Way
FRONTLINE/World and PRI The World reporter Clark Boyd travels to Uganda to see firsthand how a San Francisco-based non-profit called Kiva.org is revolutionizing the world of micro-credit. The concept of Kiva is simple. With just a credit card, a lender in the U.S. can make a loan as small as $25 to a small business in the developing world. What’s different about Kiva is that – through the Web – a more direct connection is forged between lender and borrower. A visitor to Kiva’s Web site can scroll through pictures and personal stories to choose a particular loan. “There’s a human face behind the money,” says Kiva lender Olga Espira. “You almost feel like you’re building a relationship with that person. You can see the people; you can see what they’re trying to do.” In Uganda, FRONTLINE/World meets with loan recipients like Grace Ayaa, whose peanut butter business received a micro-loan from Kiva. “I bought the packaging materials with that money,” says Ayaa. “I bought more of the produce—the sesame and the peanuts. … And this really increased my sales. And I feel so happy about that.” The loans are small, but they have a big impact in impoverished communities. Matt and Jessica Flannery, the young social entrepreneurs who started Kiva, tell FRONTLINE/World that what began in one village in Uganda has spread to eleven other countries in just over a year.
Mexico: The Ballad of Juan Quezada
FRONTLINE/World correspondent Macarena Hernández journeys into the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the rugged region where Pancho Villa and his men once roamed. Most of the villages are now deserted because the timber industry died. But one town, Mata Ortiz, has survived in this desert landscape and even prospered, all because of one man: Juan Quezada. Locals call it “the miracle.”
Poland: Chopin’s Heart
FRONTLINE/World producer Marian Marzynski goes to Poland to witness the 15th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. “Like every child growing up in Poland, I was raised with the music of Chopin,” says Marzynski, who is Jewish and survived the Holocaust in Poland as a young boy. “Chopin is a Polish legend woven into the Polish fabric, not only its culture, but its history and politics.” Eight hundred young men and women from 19 countries, many from Asia, sign up for the first round of the competition, and over three weeks of successive elimination rounds, a winner is chosen. Success here will launch a worldwide performing career. But how can one decide who plays Chopin best? “The whole idea is to be light, like playing it for the first time,” says Adam Harasiewicz, the world-renowned Polish pianist who won this competition 50 years ago, and is one of 18 jurors. “It should sound like it is improvised. If Chopin is played academically, … then Chopin is not alive, and his truth will not come out.”
South Africa: Clean Water Is Child’s Play
In South Africa, FRONTLINE/World reporter Amy Costello investigates a remarkable invention that is revolutionizing the delivery of clean water to poor communities: a schoolyard merry-go-round that powers a water pump. The system supplies a day’s water for a village of 2,000 people—through the spontaneous play of school children. This is no small achievement –– in rural villages across South Africa, some 5 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. With social entrepreneur Trevor Field, Costello visits a small village to document the installation of a new pump. A crew bores 40 meters into the ground until they hit the fresh water table below. Once the pump is in place, dozens of children show up to play — pumping cool, clean water to the surface as they spin.
Promotional photography can be downloaded from the PBS pressroom.