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"In this week's episode, "Kosovo", we see Teddy's/Bobby's brand of philanthropy at its purest. He goes to Kosovo to open a facility that mines a mineral called Halloysite, a substance used widely in the manufacture of - amongst other things, motorcycle helmets, crockery and Viagra. The difference between Teddy and other industrialists is that he chooses Kosovo (which has one of the largest deposits of Halloysite in the world) not in spite of the conflicted and polarized community in that country, but because of it. He is imaginative enough to put his wealth, power and business acumen to use not only in the pursuit of profit but also in trying to help heal that terribly fractured community. This is similar to the work that Bobby Sager does in Rwanda, where he has managed to bring together women whose husbands are in jail for committing murder in the genocide of 1994 with women whose husbands were murdered in the genocide to start a business together weaving baskets, making jewelry and such like and then he helps them sell those goods on the world market. As he says: it's not only bad business to give a man a fish, as all he has at the end of the day is a fish, it's also bad business to simply give a man a pole with which to fish, because at the end of the day he still only has some fish. What is really sustainable is to teach that man how to package, market and sell that fish so that he can buy potatoes and chicken and maybe even educate his children so that real progress with his family is made.
Teddy is not too successful in his big idea, but he is successful in another of Bobby's essential tenets, and that is what he calls 'concrete baby steps'. It is this idea that is shot through the entire series of 'The Philanthropist'. As he has said "A concrete baby step is not a token effort; it's a tangible, usually hands-on response to a problem. Concrete baby steps are relatively easy to see individually, but it's hard to fathom their cumulative power. When we each take a concrete baby step, and we add up mine and yours and everyone else's, they can become the building blocks of transformational change. In fact, collectively, concrete baby steps may be the best solution we have to address the world's biggest problems."
Have a look at this story if you want to see how a multi-national can make a giant concrete baby step that will, without a doubt, effect transformational change in the lives of the people at the sharp end of industry. Teddy, in Kosovo, manages one concrete baby step. He persuades the Islamic woman, Genta, to admit to, and ask forgiveness for, a terrible crime that she committed during the war. It is a tiny step but an important building block nevertheless that will fundamentally help the boy come to terms with what has happened to him.
I loved this episode. I know it's complex and gray and difficult. But it's also full of the optimistic philosophy of "Yes, we can". When the BBC was created, its first Director-General, Lord Reith, said that its aim was threefold - to inform, educate and entertain. I hope that The Philanthropist manages in some way to do all those things for you. It is an incredibly difficult time for the networks right now and in a sea of procedural dramas and reality shows NBC should be applauded for even attempting a show with this level of heart, complexity and ambition. I sincerely hope that you enjoy the remaining three episodes and, regardless of what happens in the future, I am fiercely proud of what we've managed to achieve with the 8 little films that we've shot so far."