Seva Foundation A Solution in Sight.

Clinton Global Initiative
Seva invited to turn innovative idea into global action

Seva Foundation is one of only 25 global health organizations invited to attend the 2008 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting on September 23-26 in New York.  The event has become recognized as perhaps the single most important philanthropic networking opportunity in the world, bringing together a diverse group of distinguished leaders to examine today's most pressing global challenges and transform that awareness into tangible action.

Seva's Center for Innovation in Eye Care will use the opportunity to promote its Global Sight Network, an ambitious initiative to restore sight to one million more people worldwide each year by scaling up the capacity of 100 hospitals to perform one million more cataract surgeries annually.

President Bill Clinton launched the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) as a non-partisan catalyst for action, bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. 

Participation is by invitiation only, limited to a select yet diverse group of heads of state, business executives, philanthropists and foundation heads, religious leaders, original thinkers (including 10 of the last 16 Nobel Peace Laureates), and specifically chosen non-profit organizations.  When selecting individuals for membership, CGI attempts to match people who have the necessary resources with those who have the most innovative ideas.  Participation is limited to approximately 1,000 individuals.

"We're honored to be among the group of nonprofits invited to present proposals at this year's CGI meeting," says Seva's Executive Director, Mark Lancaster. "It's a wonderful acknowledgement of Seva's leadership role in building innovative, sustainable eye care systems that can literally transform the lives of millions of people in need around the world."

Commitments to Action
CGI doesn't grant or collect direct donations to carry out projects. Instead, it works as a catalyst for action, matching up people who have resources with those who have capabilities to achieve results in the field.

The result is a "CGI Commitment" — a focused collaboration among individuals, organizations, corporations and governments who aim to improve the lives of the global family by translating good ideas into new, specific and measurable actions. Since 2005, CGI members have made nearly 1,000 commitments valued at $30 billion to improve more than 200 million lives in over 100 countries.

CGI Commitments are developed within one or more areas of focus, which change annually to address the most imperative global issues. This year's CGI Annual Meeting and resulting commitments will focus on four main topics: energy & climate change, education, global health, and poverty alleviation.

Promoting the Global Sight Network
"The type of projects that earn the backing of CGI Commitments are typically large scale efforts that aim to create change that can be sustained," explains Dr. Suzanne Gilbert, Director of Seva's Center for Innovation in Eye Care. "We think our Global Sight Network is exactly that kind of project — one that will strengthen the infrastructure required to deliver an additional one million cataract surgeries per year to patients in low-income, developing countries."

At issue are the 37 million people, 2/3 of whom are women, who suffer from preventable blindness worldwide — a majority from cataract. A 15-minute cataract surgery restores sight immediately, making it one of the most cost-effective health interventions in developing nations.

With leadership and coordination provided by Seva, the Global Eye Network is building the capacity of leading eye care institutions around the world who will then mentor ophthalmic service providers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

"Seva is working as the catalyst to take the proven models of public health eye care systems that we've developed with our partners over the years and use them in making a quantum leap in worldwide capacity," Dr. Gilbert continued. "Bottom line, what it means is that millions of people, women and girls in particular, who otherwise would be blind from cataract will now be able go to school, return to work and care for their families. We think that's the kind of transformative change that CGI members are looking for, so I'm confident good things will come of our participation at the meeting in September."

For more information, visit the Clinton Global Initiative website.




Center for Innovation

Read more about the work of Seva's Center for Innovation in Eye Care.
Critical Impact Award
The Council on Foundations has chosen Seva to receive this prestigious award for "revolutionizing" community based eye care programs by helping to launch Aurolab.


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