Brilliant solutions to the world’s problems. We meet people with ideas to make the world a better place and investigate whether they work.
Pedal power: How bicycles can change lives
This is the story of how one man is trying to transform lives through the power of the humble bicycle.
Many rural communities in rural Africa don’t have access to cars or good roads, which can make it hard to take fresh produce to market or get to school.
But Wyson Lungu wants to change that with an innovative scheme to sell affordable bicycles. We follow him as he delivers a new set of bicycles to excited customers in southern Zambia.
Produced and presented by Richard Kenny
Shred it yourself: The DIY plastic recyclers
Machines to shred, melt and mould waste plastic are popping up in workshops around the world - from the UK to Malaysia, Kenya to Mexico.
The project is being led by an organisation called Precious Plastic. They put designs for the devices online for anyone to download and build themselves.
More than 400 teams around the world are now taking on the challenge of plastic waste using these machines, making everything from sunglasses to plastic bricks in the process.
Presented and produced by Tom Colls
Image: Precious Plastic
Helping animals cross the road and other obstacles
Irrigation pipes have been designed to double as mid-air walkways to help slow lorises cross open farmland in Indonesia; and a footbridge has been built for a rare breed of monkey in Brazil - the golden lion tamarin. These are just two examples of new infrastructure designed to help wild animals cope with human obstacles.
Picture credit: Little Fireface Project
Watching out for Gran with help from her toaster
As many countries contemplate the best way to care for an ageing population, a common question is how to support the elderly to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible. One idea is to monitor their use of home appliances, such as kettles and ovens.
Advocates say NILM – non-intrusive load monitoring – offers family and carers an insight into a person’s daily life without invading their privacy. It could even be used to track or help diagnose long-term health conditions.
Reporter William Kremer road-tests the technology with his own parents and finds out about a NILM project in Japan.
Picture: Getty Images
How to reuse a demolished building
Is it possible to construct a new building, just by reusing materials from homes and offices that have been knocked down?
That’s the dream of a pioneering Swiss architect Barbara Buser, who trains specialist treasure hunters to track down everything from window frames to steel beams for her buildings.
People Fixing the World finds out about her latest project, which is made of 70% reused material. We ask whether Barbara’s approach, which has a much lower carbon footprint than building with new material, can take off around the world.
Presenter and producer: Charlotte Horn
Image: Barbara Buser’s building K118 (Copyright: Martin Zeller)
Using satellite photos to help distribute cash
Togo has found a high-tech way to identify people who need financial help in the pandemic and send them emergency cash, using satellite photos and mobile phones.
Computers search for clues in images, such as the density of buildings, roofing materials and road surfaces. They combine this with data collected before the pandemic to work out how wealthy different areas are and which ones may need financial support.
Produced and Presented by Hannah Gelbart
Picture: Getty Images
In a world that is so full of problems, this is such a refreshing podcast. Every week it outlines amazing solutions that innovative people are coming up with, a perspective that is rarely reported in the media. Truly inspiring!
This is a wonderful podcast that inspires me to think about what I can do to solve some of the world’s problems.
Much Needed News!
Amidst a 24/7 cycle of horrible news comes "People Fixing the World." It highlights how often ordinary people around the world are responding to common problems that we can all learn from. More than merely feel-good news, the podcast analyzes the approach, challenges, and degree of success. Sometimes they have time to explore more than one approach. I love the global canvas, which is a wonderful reminder that no one country, region or culture has all the answers. The caring humanism and enthusiasm of the hosts are also appreciated. Great job, BBC World Service!