Spring 2020

Helping Poor People in Poor Countries: What Works

Presented by Jim Levinson
This course examines the primary problems and the determinants of these problems in countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America with special attention to young children and reproductive-age women. What progress has been made, and with what approaches?

Mondays, 10:00 am to noon

April 6: Which countries in the world are in the worst trouble…and why? What’s been done to address the problem by the U.S., the U.N., and NGOs and how has this assistance evolved over the past 70 years? What progress has been made?

April 13: When children and reproductive-age mothers are undernourished, what are the immediate causes and how can these be addressed? e.g.
a. Infectious disease
b. Inadequate caloric intake
c. Inadequate micronutrient intake

April 20: When children and reproductive-age mothers are undernourished, what are the underlying causes and how can they be addressed? e.g.
a. Food insecurity; poverty
b. Problematic child caring and self-care practices; education shortcomings
c. Poor water/sanitation/hygiene (WASH)
d. Inadequate health services

April 27: Is it a good idea to try changing behaviors? And if yes, how would well-meaning development workers go about it?

May 4: An interesting tool: Positive deviance. What does it mean and how can we use it?
The example of Egypt.

May 11: Three case studies: Peru, Brazil and Bangladesh.

Jim Levinson has been working in these countries since 1965 and has served on the faculty of New England universities since 1971 (MIT, Tufts, and the Boston University School of Public Health). He also served as Director of Nutrition of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington and worked with UNICEF, FAO, WHO, the World Bank, and Save the Children. He served as spiritual leader of Jewish synagogues in New England for 25 years and is actively involved in Compassionate Brattleboro.

Jim has also been a classical music addict since the age of 4, and so, since there’s a piano on the stage of the New England Youth Theater, 10 minutes of each session will be devoted to a music quiz—these dedicated to wonderful Ede Thomas. Jim is contributing his fee for these lectures to Calcutta Kids, a maternal child health program in the slums of India, started by his son.

WHERE WE MEET: New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat Street, Brattleboro, Vermont.

DIRECTIONS: From the South or the North: I-91 to exit 2. Left off exit ramp onto Western Avenue (VT-9). Follow about a quarter mile, bear left at “Y” in road. At traffic light, Main Street (US-5), turn right. Go 2 blocks to Flat Street and turn right onto Flat Street. The theatre is down the street on the left.

QUESTIONS: Please call Julie Lavorgna at 802-365-7278, or e-mail

For news and updates on our programs, like us on Facebook at Brattleboro Area Osher Lifelong Learning Institute – OLLI

In case of inclement weather, please listen to 96.7 WTSA-FM or consult, or visit our Facebook page (Brattleboro Area Osher Lifelong Learning Institute-OLLI).

The Bob Engel Memorial Fund

Bob Engel was an extraordinary teacher and a dedicated OLLI board member. His programs and his enthusiasm opened windows for us through which to view the natural world with fresh eyes. In order to keep that spirit alive, the Board of Brattleboro OLLI has established a fund in his memory to support courses that feature
subjects that were dear to his heart.

If you would like to contribute, please send a check, made out to UVM Foundation—noting that it is meant for the Bob Engel Memorial Fund—to:

Cathi Cody-Hudson
UVM OLLI Registration Office
460 South Prospect St.
Burlington, VT 05401

All donations are tax-deductible.

If you are also registering for the Spring program, you may include this check with your registration form, but please be sure to make the donation check out separately to UVM Foundation.

Membership Information

$30 individual (6 sessions)
$50 couple (6 sessions)

Individual lectures are open to nonmembers (walk-ins) for a fee of $6 per lecture.

We encourage attendees to pre-register by mail so as to avoid delays at on-site check-in.

For membership, complete the form on the site brochure or click on this membership form. Mail your completed form with your payment to:

(payable to “The University of Vermont”)
UVM OLLI Registration Office
460 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401

For a complete listing of all programs, see our listing in a pdf format.