Sinclair on AIDS in Africa


Cameron Sinclair is speaking to us on the PopTech stage in the morning session of the last day. A disclaimer, “I’m Scottish,” he says. That can mean all sorts of things. I was married to a Scot, so I know. And life was always interesting and adventurous! :-)

And it appears he has this quality too, as a recent winner of two prizes, including one from TED.


“Who is Architecture for Humanity?” asks Cameron, as he starts to describe his program, which is a non-profit set up to seek and promote architecture and design solutions to humanitarian crises. “I’ve created a system which is completely open source,” he says.

He has implemented a number of programs, including housing ideas for returning refugees in Kosovo; mobile health clinics to combat HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa; mine clearance programs and playground building in the Balkans; and earthquake recovery assistance in Turkey and Iran.


He shows photos of some of his projects including the creation of a healthcare facility for young girls in Somkhele in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Regarding AIDS, “even if you give them all the drugs in the world, it isn’t going to work if a solid nutritional program is in place,” he says.


Cameron talks about their reaction and appreciation of what this project has done for them. Cameron recaps as does an accompanying film – “Thank you, thank you for bringing this mobile healthcare into our community.” Remember that this is an area, where the AIDS rate is as high as 40%, and in women, its over 50%. In young girls, its even higher and because of the stigma of AIDS, young girls will not go to a clinic.

They’re also working to create relief in sustainable ways in areas hit by Katrina. Their projects are far reaching – beyond Africa and internally at home, to Kashmir Earthquake in the East. One of his main goals is to make innovative affordable housing for everyone in the world. A lofty goal.

This man talks with conviction and with passion, particularly as he gives us sad stats to think about — he reminds us that they’re not getting better, so we need to do something. What government has built versus what they’ve been able to create in shorter periods of time is astounding. AND says Cameron, “My favorite part is when I’m able to say, you, the community, have built this, not us.”

His ending remark: “Whatever you do, design like you give a damn.”

Tag: PopTech Tag: PopTech 2005 Tag: Cameron Sinclair

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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