Alltop répertorie de nombreux articles sur l'entrepreneuriat social à travers le monde.

31.07.2014 Josh Nesbit: Bridging the Patient-Physician Gap with Technology

Photo courtesy of Medic Mobile

Medic Mobile founder Josh Nesbit was a pre-med student at Stanford in 2008 when he visited Malawi for the first time. Encountering the Malawians and their situation changed his life—and he’s been determined to return the favor ever since, by changing theirs.

Among the world’s least-developed and most-densely populated countries, Malawi is a landlocked southeast African nation where 85% of people live in rural areas. The Malawian population lives with the grim triptych of low life expectancy (50 years), a high infant mortality rate, and a huge percentage of deaths due to HIV/AIDS.

Meet Josh.

Interested in pediatric HIV care, Josh first volunteered at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in the village of Namitete. Every day, he saw literally hundreds of families waiting outside hoping to see the hospital’s one and only doctor. (Even today, the hospital serves 250,000 people with just 250 beds.) Some had traveled as far as 50 miles to wait in line. Suddenly those big abstract numbers cited in his pre-med textbooks – like the one billion people who have never seen a health care provider – became real people.

Yet amidst these massive health care impediments, Josh discovered something that astonished him: he had a better phone connection in the village of Namitete than at home in Palo Alto—six bars! Although Malawi had (and has) one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world, recent successes in infrastructure development had included making standard GSM telephone signals widely available.

With his Stanford background, Josh naturally thought maybe technology could solve some of Malawi’s health care troubles. How much of the problem was pure logistics? When Josh met a local Community Health Worker who (on his own) provided basic care and supplies to more than 100 families in Namitete, the challenge had a face—and a case study. The village health worker, Dickson Mtanga, kept all of his handwritten patient records in a single notebook. Why not give Namitete a mobile phone version of the cloud? Make the information collaborative and actionable?

Josh started experimenting with a free software app to exchange texts and coordinate the efforts of health workers like Dickson with the hospital in Namitete. Using text and cheap mobile phones, health workers could explain patients’ symptoms and transmit medical records, in real time. Josh quickly took the idea of texting one step further.

In 2009 he founded Medic Mobile, developing an open source software application to support data collection forms that can run on any desktop and any phone. Health workers simply slide an SIM card (a paper-thin chip) into their cell phones to enroll patients for essential health care services. The chip is programmed to remind them of their follow-up visits and vaccinations, report on their conditions, notify clinics of danger signs, and manage stock levels of medicine. The latter is important: as Josh quickly discovered at St. Gabriel’s, getting to the hospital is only half of the battle. Imagine reaching the hospital after a 50 mile trek only to discover that the medicine you need is not available.

Since becoming a 2010 Echoing Green Fellow with his co-founder Isaac Holeman, Josh has been expanding the impact of Medic Mobile beyond Africa, to countries throughout Asia and Latin America where the technology can have the biggest impact. 

By the end of 2014, Medic Mobile’s goal is to more than double its reach—from the current 9,500 health workers (who oversee 1 million people) to 22,000 workers. And they’re on target. By developing smart partnerships with companies like Mozilla—Medic Mobile will be the first community health app available via Mozilla's Firefox web browser—more health workers can access data to service more people in remote and underserved communities. “We see harnessing the Web as our next big step,” says Josh.


Josh Nesbit is a 2010 Echoing Green Fellow, as well as an Ashoka Fellow, PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, Rainer Arnhold Fellow, Strauss Scholar, Haas Public Service Fellow, and most recently, a 2014 Skoll Awardee. He was named by Devex as one of 40 Under 40 Leaders in International Development and received the Truman Award for Innovation from the Society for International Development.  

Related Posts

#EGFellows Making Headlines, February 2014


Becca Heller and IRAP: Keeping America's Promises


31.07.2014 Buqisi-Ruux Shoes

A footwear company:
Buqisi-Ruux is a shoe brand that represents the diversity, vibrancy and boldness that lies within the African continent through it's African print high heeled shoes.

The name, Buqisi-Ruux, means "Queen of the Village". Buqisi comes from an ancient Egyptian word meaning Queen while Ruux represents our home-town Rukungiri. The name symbolizes what we as "Buqisi-Ruux" find important; our African heritage and the sensation of royalty and pride we want women to feel when they wear a pair of Buqisi-Ruux shoes.

From inception to construction, our shoes are custom made with each shoe named after strong African women who have, and continue to, inspire us.

Each pair of shoes is a piece of art, some say, "wearable art".

31.07.2014 DIY Microscope From Egypt

An Afrimakers project in Instructables:
Image courtesy of Afrimakers
We used a simple cheap webcam to make a microscope. In short, a small hack to the optics of a standard webcam with an adjustable focus-lens, allows to create video data, with a magnification of around 100 to 400x (depending on the model) at a working distance of a few mm. The highest magnifications can be achieved by inverting (putting upside down) the lens. We used white LEDs at first but the picture wasn't clear enough ,so we used A Flash Light for brighter and more clear view.
More here

30.07.2014 AdWords Dynamic Search Ads: Say Hello to Semantic SEM

The following post is copyrighted by Return On Now - Austin Internet Marketing Consulting Services

Back in late 2011, Google rolled out a feature for Adwords called Dynamic Search Ads. Originally announced as a beta test, Dynamic Search Ads have survived to this day and are available in AdWords. The premise behind why these were introduced is that we can’t read the minds of searchers. Google estimated back in 2011 that 16% of all searches… read more →

The post AdWords Dynamic Search Ads: Say Hello to Semantic SEM appeared first on Return On Now.

30.07.2014 Why youth join violent groups


Gaza. Iraq. Syria. Ukraine. Conflict fills the news, and across the world it’s often young people who are taking up arms.

An Iraqi fighter told Reuters that he was 15 years old when he went to Iran for military training. Now 16, he’s been on the frontlines in Syria and Iraq.

He’s not alone. Most people who participate in violence are youth, according to Rebecca Wolfe, director of conflict management and peacebuilding programs at Mercy Corps.

“Particularly from [ages] 12 to 24, young people are starting to figure out themselves and their lives, and in that transition period they are very susceptible to influence,” Wolfe said.

It’s a period that can include higher education and joining the workforce. But for many young people, those opportunities feel inaccessible or simply don’t exist. Global youth unemployment is almost three times as high as adult unemployment--a historical record.

But Wolfe argued that there is a deeper reason why youth join armed groups, a reason that isn’t tied to the economy. She said young people are looking for a sense of belonging and a sense of meaning. They want a way to contribute to their communities, especially the protection of their communities.

“Unfortunately, in many environments, one of the ways that young people think they can do that is through violent groups,” Wolfe said.

Positive youth groups can offer an alternative to violence.

When multi-ethnic clashes nearly pulled Kenya into civil war after a disputed 2007 presidential election, Mercy Corps started youth groups geared toward peace-building. Young people left armed groups to participate, including a powerful and brutal gang called Mungiki at the center of the clashes.

Youth programming doesn’t need to be explicitly about peace-building. Wolfe says Mercy Corps worked with youth in Tajikistan to help their communities prepare for natural disasters like floods and earthquakes. In conflict areas, similar programming could focus on building neighborhood safety and services, for example.

Often excluded in community decision-making, youth find that community service and internships help them gain respect.

“In Nepal, we found that young people were elected to office as a result of [their involvement in community service],” Wolfe said. “It shows others that youth are a positive force in their community.”

It’s vital to help youth find positive ways to contribute, according to Wolfe.

“They’re the next generation. In order to achieve any kind of sustainable change, you have to make sure there’s a population in waiting to be able to carry it forward.”

Articles You Might Like: 
Goal! Supporting youth through soccer
Quotable: Hillary Clinton on including women and girls in the global economy
A good return on “INVEST:” Building employable skills among youth in Afghanistan

29.07.2014 Ebola Epidemic Relief Fund

project picture
$30 — Medical supplies and educational efforts to stop the spread of the outbreak
$50 — Medical supplies and educational efforts to stop the spread of the outbreak
$75 — Medical supplies and educational efforts to stop the spread of the outbreak

give now

Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria are experiencing the most lethal Ebola outbreak on record. This is the first large scale outbreak of the virus in the region and communities are struggling to contain the epidemic.

Project Needs and Beneficiaries
The Ebola virus is highly contagious, has no known treatment or cure, and is fatal within days or weeks in most cases. Since early this year, an outbreak of the most lethal strain of the Ebola virus has spread through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria. As of the end of July, the outbreak has resulted in more than 1,200 reported cases of the disease and almost 700 deaths, making it the most deadly Ebola epidemic in history.

This fund will ensure that aid organizations on the ground in West Africa have the resources they need to stop the outbreak. Funds will be used for medical supplies to care for those already infected, protective equipment to keep health workers safe, and educational campaigns to inform the public about Ebola and how it spreads.

Potential Long Term Impact
We believe that organizations that are deeply-rooted in local communities are often in the best position to provide long-term support for disaster victims. By funding the relief efforts of local organizations, donations to this fund have the potential to build stronger disaster-response capacity so that these organizations are better equipped to face future disasters. GlobalGiving will post reports about how funds have been used and will email these reports to donors and subscribers.

Project Sponsor: GlobalGiving
Theme: Disaster Recovery | Location: Sierra Leone
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$100,000
Project #17793 on

29.07.2014 Global Fund Procurement Savings Bring Healthcare Benefits

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria recently raised $12.2 billion for its work between 2014 and 2016, the most ever committed to fighting these diseases. Beyond raising money, the Global Fund is extracting more value from its investments by transforming its procurement and fostering a healthy marketplace for lifesaving commodities. About half […]

29.07.2014 Help MSF Battle the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

project picture
$10 — can help MSF treat Ebola patients in West Africa
$25 — can help MSF treat Ebola patients in West Africa
$50 — can help MSF treat Ebola patients in West Africa

give now

As the Ebola outbreak continues to spread, with 1,093 cases and 660 deaths now reported across west Africa, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is stepping up its response in the most affected areas.

Project Needs and Beneficiaries
Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is currently working to fight an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. If contracted, Ebola is one of the world's most deadly diseases. It is a highly infectious virus that can kill up to 90 percent of the people who catch it, causing terror among infected communities.

Although no specific treatment or vaccine is yet available for Ebola, MSF teams are working in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea to isolate patients and treat their symptoms. In Sierra Leone, MSF has also trained more than 200 community health workers to deliver essential health messages to people in their villages about how to protect themselves against Ebola and what action to take if someone shows any signs or symptoms of the disease.

Potential Long Term Impact
With resources already stretched, health authorities and international organizations are struggling to bring the outbreak under control. Beyond medical treatment, controlling the outbreak will require the deployment of large numbers of people to train health care personnel in infection control measures, to follow up with and trace cases and their contacts, to set up an epidemiological surveillance network, and to promote public health messages.

Project Sponsor: Doctors Without Borders
Theme: Health | Location: Sierra Leone
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$20,000
Project #17790 on

29.07.2014 #DetroitWater - Part Two

A few days ago I posted about #DetroitWater. I had sent off an email to the creators before posting, and when I didn't hear back in a day I went ahead and posted the blog with the questions.
I think my emails got buried in the flood of attention they've been receiving. A little Twitter outreach, and the blog post itself, and they circled back to me ASAP with these answers to my earlier questions. To save you from having to click around - here's my old post again and my questions - this time with their answers.

 text of my PREVIOUS POST follows

Here's a website that allows anyone to pay the water bill (or part of the bill) owed by someone in Detroit. Lest we grow complacent, allow me to point out several noteworthy - dare I say, almost astonishing - things about this from the perspective of (what else) digital civil society:

  1. The city of Detroit is so broke it's cutting off water to residents.
  2. Many people in Detroit can't afford to pay for water. 
  3. People are taking to the street and online to protest - and the fight is on between privatized water systems and water as a common good (this is common fight in many parts of the world, and there is a strong "water is a human right" movement)
  4. Web technology built by a handful (two, I think) of people is up and running to help strangers help strangers.
  5. There are no intermediary organizations in this mix - donors pay bills directly to and through Detroit's public water department. The creators built the site, money goes to the water authority, donors and residents don't interact.
  6. PRIVACY is addressed as key issue on the site - both from the residents' and the donors' standpoints. And no grand promises are made.
I tried to get some more information about #DetroitWater but haven't heard back from the folks that I emailed. Here's what I asked them (My questions in bold, their answers follow)

My original Questions with their Answers

1. ​You mention in the privacy section that Detroit Water might identify residents. How likely is this, how would it happen, has it happened?

Tiffani and I have gone through the payment process several times and have not had names revealed. The information presented on the DWSD's site is not under our control. We collect names as a part of the submission process to get assistance and have each resident indicate whether we can give their names to the donor or not. As of yet we haven't released any names. and information collected and stored by us will not be released without the permission of the resident or the donor.

​2. ​What kind of permission did you need to get from Detroit Water Auth to use this info? How did you get the info?

We did not get permission from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department. The website has several channels for entry and one of those is simply an account number.

Residents are providing us with their account numbers, phone numbers, address and amount owed, which is what we need to verify that they are actually in need of assistance. We then pass along the account number to the donor who makes a payment directly to the DWSD on the resident's behalf.

​3. ​Are residents opting in or opting out of this? Who is deciding and how are they deciding who's bills get paid?

​Residents are opting-in.

Tiffani, myself and a team of volunteers have been manually matching donors to accounts. As we iterate and demand grows, we are adding in rigor for determining who is prioritized for help. For example, we now have a check box for people who are over 65.  Other guidelines include, must have a past due balance, must be residential and not commercial, account must have activity in terms of use. At this point we have enough donors that we aren't having to deny one account over the other, just that it meets our standards for assistance. This is subject to change.

​4. ​ Where is transaction data being stored? How secure is it?

The transactions take place on the DWSD website. So the level of security is that as expected for a site that processes payments. We do not collect payments or payment information.

​5. ​Is CFA involved in this (one of the founders has a CFA email address)? Did you create this totally on your own? Others who helped? How long did it take?
This is not a Code for America project.

The idea and iterations of the site and our processes were created by Tiffani and I. It took us a weekend to get it up and running. We are constantly iterating as needed, and on the brink of having everything automated via algorithms written by Tiffani.

We've had help with operations from a team of volunteers who are listed on our site here:

29.07.2014 Stop Ebola: What you can do

project picture
$25 — buys 10 posters to raise awareness in schools and community centers
$75 — buys 100 leaflets to pass out to homes in hard-to-reach areas
$100 — covers 20 days of food and travel costs for one community health promoter

give now

In response to the ongoing Ebola epidemic, this project will train BRAC's all-female frontline force of 400 community health promoters to stop the spread of the virus in remote communities in Sierra Leone. These women, trained by BRAC, are known in their own communities and are going door to door, educating people on how to prevent Ebola and recognize symptoms. But they need funding to pay for flyers and leaflets, food and travel costs, and disinfectant.

Project Needs and Beneficiaries
Ebola is spreading at a frightening speed in West Africa and urgent action is needed. It has been declared the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever. In Sierra Leone, the deadly virus was first detected in late May in the eastern Kailahun distrct, near the border with Guinea. Within a month, 239 cases were reported across four other districts. The death toll across four countries now exceeds 660. Sierra Leone's top doctor, hailed a national hero for treating over 100 victims, has even fallen ill.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of those infected, and remote communities are ill-informed about how to diagnose, treat, and prevent it. BRAC, an organization with decades of experience in empowering the poor to provide their own health care, already has nearly 1,000 local health workers in the field in both Liberia and Sierra Leone. The project equips those in Sierra Leone, where the crisis is acute, with training, posters, leaflets and disinfectant.

Potential Long Term Impact
By informing communities and raising awareness in affected areas of Sierra Leone, this project will make communities better equipped to combat Ebola and similar diseases in the future.

Project Sponsor: BRAC USA
Theme: Health | Location: Sierra Leone
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$21,000
Project #17786 on

29.07.2014 Working for Free: The Double-Edged Sword of Purposeful Work

“There’s a study on zookeepers I think you’d like,” Gabe said.

“Oh yeah?” I answered. I was in a hotel room in Indianapolis where I’d led a series of purpose workshops earlier that day. My cell phone was balanced in the crook of my neck so I could talk to Gabe—the researcher we had hired to help us mine the existing academic research on purpose—because I was typing an email to a potential partner at the same time.

“The researchers found that, generally speaking, zookeepers feel  ‘called’ to the profession,” Gabe continued. “They describe themselves as animal-people, say it’s their destiny to care for and preserve vulnerable species, and so on. So they studied zookeepers to see how ‘calling’ affects people’s lives.”

“Interesting,” I said as I typed. “What did they find?”

“That purposeful work is double-edged sword. On the positive side, zookeepers see their profession as important to society, which allows them to find meaning in even the most unpleasant daily tasks like scrubbing down hallways.

“On the other hand, that same sense of meaning and moral duty has them making personal sacrifices to get the work done that negatively affect other aspects of their lives. They’re paid very little, they’re vulnerable to being exploited by managers who recognize that because they are mission-driven they won’t quit in the face of poor benefits, poor working conditions, and so on. Oh, and they work crazy hours.”

“Can you send me this research Gabe?” I exclaimed emphatically. “I’ve seen these same things play out in the social sector. We really need to start talking about them.”

Gabe paused. “Um, Linda? I need to mention something here: It’s 11:30pm and we’re on the phone…talking about work.”

I stopped typing. “Touché Gabe. Touché.”

Work on Purpose

Let’s be honest. There’s a lot of talk these days about “purpose.” (Aaron Hurst’s new book, Purpose Economy, even goes so far as to make the argument thatpurpose” will replace “information” as a core economic driver). In the midst of it all, you might start to get the impression that if you could just find your purpose, your life would be perfect. Brilliance would flow from you like a river; you would be relaxed, yet engaged; and, somehow, when you imagine yourself living this kind of life, you even look a little bit thinner. But in my experience as the director of Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose program, I’ve seen that getting paid to do the work that matters most to an individual—as most zoo-keepers are—has its blessings, but it has its curses too.

I'm the director of Work on Purpose, a program of Echoing Green that helps emerging professionals build meaningful careers so that they can help solve the world's biggest problems. In this role, I've seen that getting paid to do the work that matters most to us—as most zookeepers are—has its blessings, but it has its curses too.

I am reminded of a conversation I had with one of Echoing Green’s Social Investment Council members, Margaret Wang. When I first met Margaret, she was working in corporate strategy and business development at an investment bank. Margaret watched her peers work through the night, sometimes even sleeping under their desks, but Margaret herself refused to allow her paid work to be her entire life. She simply cared about too many other things. Instead, Margaret spent her evenings and weekends mentoring and volunteering for various social good organizations and initiatives. Her volunteer work gave Margaret a sense of purpose that felt so good it became addicting. So last year, she decided to try out being mission-driven 100% of the time. In her words:

“I looked on Idealist and saw a position to help launch The B Team, an organization focused on responsible capitalism conceived by Sir Richard Branson. I read it and I was like ‘Yes. This is everything I want.’ The B Team basically helps corporations do business better, going from corporate social responsibility to systemic, innovative social and environmental impact in which change is woven into the fabric of how corporations do work. So I left my job in finance to join this energetic, idealist team. We have all these bomb people with us and we’re all saying ‘We’re going to change the world.’

“I had a view of my old office building from The B Team’s office—a reminder that you can be in the same area but have a completely different life, work for a different mission, have a different context.

“But what was interesting actually, and I’ve heard this from a lot of social entrepreneurs, was that work life-balance was much harder to obtain. When I got an email at 11pm from The B Team outreach guy saying ‘Can you look this up for me?’ I had to decide whether to answer it. I didn’t want to be working at 11pm, but I cared about the mission so much.”

To be sure, Margaret loved her world-changing work at The B-Team. And most of the time when we talk about people working on purpose, the story stops there. But it’s rarely the end. Margaret’s life from the windows of those two office buildings came with different rewards, but it also came with a new set of challenges.

What About That Double-Edged Sword?

So, how do we get the personal benefits of doing purposeful work—and study after study has shown that there are plenty of them, from psychological wellness to productivity to creativity—while protecting ourselves from its threats of over-work, under-pay, and a depletion of energy for our lives outside of work?

For those of you who are teetering on the edge of that double-edged sword, here’s a good place to start:

STOP: Every once in a while we’ve got to stop our mad dash through our lives—even when our lives are about making the world a better place—and check in on ourselves (as Gabe made me do that night in Indianapolis). We all have people in our lives that we check in on—our kids, parents, grandparents, friends—but when’s the last time you made a date to check in on you?

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO RETHINK THINGS: If you find that you are falling victim to your purpose more often than you are being fed by it, remember that  purpose is fluid—it shifts and changes and our interplay with it can shift and change too. Some people believe that if you aren’t doing your purpose-work full-time, it somehow “doesn’t count,” but if we really want to solve the world’s biggest problems, we need people committed to making a social impact in every role and sector of society. We need high-impact volunteers, nonprofit board members, donors, social entrepreneurs, social intrepreneurs, and more. And the way in which you live your purpose out today doesn’t have to be the way in which you live it out tomorrow.

Now Margaret is in business school studying how she can merge her love of business and social impact. And in a year, she’ll have to ask herself the same questions that she asked herself while working in finance, and again while working at the non-profit startup, determining how she wants to structure the next phase of her life. Because that’s what working on your purpose really looks like.

As for me? I’m still loving being paid for my purpose, but since my conversation with Gabe, I have a new rule for myself when I am on the road for Echoing Green. After 9pm: less working, and more Parks and Rec reruns.

This article was originally published as part of the Working for Free series on The High Calling.

Related Posts

Investing in Yourself May Be One of the Surest Routes to Social Change



29.07.2014 Help save tigers in the wild

project picture
$10 — educates 20 students about conserving the environment for their own and the tigers benefit
$20 — provides food for an anti-poaching ranger for a week
$50 — reaches 300 young people to teach them about the importance of conserving the biodiversity of the forests on their doorstep

give now

Help us save the wild tigers of Assam. Support the creation of a long-term, sustainable environment for these endangered big cats and the people who share their landscape.

Project Needs and Beneficiaries
Poaching and the demand for tiger skins and body parts for the illegal trade is driving the wild tiger towards extinction. With over 100 tigers in Kaziranga National Park it is one of the key strongholds for the species in India. With its porous river border and proximity to illegal trade routes this fabulously biodiverse area and its tigers are under constant threat.

We work with local communities to ensure that they understand and respect the environmentally diverse area in which they live so that they in turn become ambassadors for wildlife and champion the need to preserve wild spaces. We provide alternative livelihood schemes so local people don't have to rely on poaching and our wildlife crime investigation team ensures that poachers are caught and prosecuted for their crimes. Tiger monitoring work ensures that real results are being delivered.

Potential Long Term Impact
Preserving the biodiversity of Kaziranga is vital for the survival of this key population of wild tigers and a host of other critically endangered animals including the Indian one horned rhino, Asian elephant and Gangetic dolphin. By fostering a real understanding of the benefits that protecting this environmentally rich area can give will create a long-term, sustainable future for wildlife and local people and ensure wild tiger survival for generations to come.

Project Sponsor: David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Theme: Animals | Location: India
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$25,000
Project #17680 on

29.07.2014 Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone

project picture
$10 — Chlorine bleach for disinfecting
$30 — Masks and eye shields
$50 — Coverall Protective Suit

give now

Health officials say the Ebola outbreak, centered in West Africa, is the deadliest ever with over 1,093 infected and almost 500 of those from Sierra Leone. Greatest Goal Ministries operates a free outpatient hospital in Lakka. The military has set up Ebola isolation tents directly outside the doors of our hospital. This project will provide the desperately needed supplies and protective clothing for health care workers as well as support information materials needed for the community.

Project Needs and Beneficiaries
The Ebola virus disease has been detected for the first time in West Africa. Fruit bats are believed to be the natural hosts of the Ebola virus and then transmitted to people. The virus is passed from person to person through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. There is no vaccine and no specific treatment available. It is 90% fatal. 458 confirmed cases have now been documented from all districts of Sierra Leone with 153 deaths reported.

The citizens of Sierra Leone need to understand that Ebola is a medical disease. They need to start understanding how this disease is spread and how to prevent further spread. This can only be done in the community through media, leaflets and door to door sensitization programs. This project will help provide funding for these community awareness programs. Healthcare workers need to be protected from contracting the disease. This project will provide funds for personal protective equipment.

Potential Long Term Impact
Sierra Leone has some of the poorest health indicators in the world and the least amount of resources to adequately protect healthcare workers. For the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown, this is an important time. Raising awareness of the risk factors for infection and protective measures that should be taken is the only way to stop this epidemic. If the outbreak is not contained, health officials are worried that it may spread to other countries in the region.

Project Sponsor: Greatest Goal Ministries USA
Theme: Health | Location: Sierra Leone
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$75,000
Project #17787 on

29.07.2014 'She Leads Africa' Entrepreneurs

Identifying talent:
She Leads Africa’s Entrepreneur Showcase is a platform that introduces the continent’s most promising female entrepreneurs to investors, accelerators, and mentors looking to invest in the next generation of African talent.We are looking for early stage startups that want to meet investors, gain access to new mentors, and grow across Africa.

Our top 10 applicants will be invited to pitch their business ideas in front of a panel of notable business personalities for the chance to win a cash prize of $10, 000 as well as other non-financial prizes (see details below)

29.07.2014 Testing Kits for Ebola and other Viral hemorrhagic fevers

In Uganda, Misaki Wayengera is leading an effort to develop paper strip tests for Ebola and Marburg:
A project in Uganda that aims to develop a paper-strip test for the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses...funded by the Grand Challenges Canada project....The paper strip test would, if developed, help test for the virus in a cheap and quick manner within the community just like it is done for malaria.

29.07.2014 Mother's Delivery Kits

An initiative of the Brown Button Foundation led by Adepeju Mabadeje Jaiyeoba:
Mother's Delivery Kits are cost-effective and life-saving kits, for safer childbirth, developed by a team of medical professionals in Nigeria.

28.07.2014 Fight for Filipino Fishermen’s Rights Gets Results

In the Philippines, Skoll Awardee Visayan Forum Foundation has made progress in improving working conditions for deep-sea fishermen. Visayan’s experience holds lessons for others engaged in similar initiatives. Pa-aling is a form of deep-sea fishing practiced in the Philippines, where fishermen dive 100 feet into the ocean with the aid of breathing tubes attached to […]

28.07.2014 MicroMentor expands its reach through the power of partnerships


When MicroMentor launched in 2008, it informally billed itself as “a dating site for small business owners.”

Six years later, the Mercy Corps startup has made more than 6,000 mentoring matches, and is shifting its focus to providing its proven mentoring platform to large organizations, like the state of New York.

In its first four years, MicroMentor built an online platform to attract small business owners and experienced mentors, and facilitate lasting relationships between them to help those businesses survive and grow.

The need was clear. Research and survey data showed that a new small business’ chance of surviving its first two years jumped from 69 to 82 percent when the owner had guidance from an experienced mentor in their field. Mentored businesses also had significantly increased revenue and were more likely to hire someone. Despite these advantages, many small businesses weren’t connecting with a valuable source of support.

MicroMentor’s web-based platform makes the process of finding and sustaining a mentoring relationship much easier. Small business owners can create an online profile that describes their specific needs, and browse similar profiles of mentors interested in giving back to their field. An aspiring restaurateur struggling with their books, for example, could seek a mentor with special expertise in restaurant financial management. 

But in 2012, the MicroMentor team realized their outreach model wasn’t creating the level of growth they wanted. It also wasn’t providing the revenue they needed to become financially independent of grants and donor support--unstable funding sources that tied up employee resources and further inhibited growth.

“We were working with partner organizations before with some success,“ said MicroMentor Director Samantha Albery. “But that scale always seemed to elude us.”

To address these challenges, the team brainstormed and came up with a new model to more effectively leverage partnerships. Instead of working to drive individual mentors and mentees to a centralized site, MicroMentor has become a flexible online platform that other organizations can license to create their own mentoring networks.

The flagship for this new model is the state of New York’s Business Mentor NY network. Launched in May, the new web portal has customized branding and features that fit the state’s needs, all powered by MicroMentor technology behind the scenes. The state hopes to match 500 small business owners with a mentor in its first year.

In this new model, these partners will play a much greater role in recruiting and engaging users based on their specific needs, while MicroMentor staff will focus on providing constant support and adjustments to the technology.

“We’ve really broadened our ability to work with different partners,” Albery said. “We’ve developed the ability to serve partner organizations that can bring many more leads our way, in the hundreds at a time.”

Government agencies and other organizations with large, established user networks are the principal targets for new partnerships, according to Loren Guerriero, MicroMentor’s product development officer. But the new model will also provide multiple levels of service. Smaller mentoring organizations that aren’t ready for their own portal can just create their own pages on the MicroMentor site, and use their own administrators to help manage the mentor-mentee relationships within their group.

“We’ve found a lot of organizations running their mentoring programs on Excel spreadsheets,” Guerriero said. “It’s a lot of work, and we offer a proven platform that’s been working for years and is constantly being improved.”

The profits from licensing fees for this initial venture into partner networks are likely to be slim, but has already generated interest from several other large potential clients. French and Spanish versions of MicroMentor are also on the horizon, and nearly half of MicroMentor’s budget is now generated from licensing revenue, up from just seven percent only a year ago.

While Albery is excited for MicroMentor’s new direction, she hasn’t lost sight of what attracted her to the idea of building a mentoring platform in the first place.

“It’s the individual stories that are really compelling: the small business owner who made a key decision based on a mentor’s advice, and that kept them in business, or allowed them to hire someone,” she said. “Ultimately, it’s all about creating good jobs and helping people thrive.”

28.07.2014 Thank You, Gerardo!

The Benetech team has just bid goodbye to VP of Engineering Gerardo Capiel, who is moving on to his next adventure. A passionate technology-for-good advocate, Gerardo has made major contributions to Benetech’s social mission since he joined us over four years ago. As we are getting ready to welcome a new VP of Engineering, I’d like to acknowledge and thank Gerardo for his many contributions and their lasting impact on the lives of the people we serve.

Gerardo helped Benetech dramatically increase our capacity to benefit larger populations by scaling our services, revamping our innovation process, and establishing a thriving network of industry partners and volunteers. He oversaw the development of numerous products and services that allow us to drive social empowerment through technology across all our programs. He also championed an open source ethos so that our work can be broadly shared (you can
view all our open source projects on GitHub). Gerardo’s contributions related to the Benetech Global Literacy Program include:
  • Overseeing the building of the tech infrastructure that has taken Bookshare from serving tens of thousands of members to over 300,000 members, with a rapidly growing collection of 280,000+ accessible ebooks.
  • Leading the engineering team behind an expanding portfolio of Global Literacy products and initiatives, such as:
    • Route66, our online instructional literacy program for adolescent and adult beginning readers;
    • The Poet image description tool;
    • Read2Go, the bestselling accessible ebook reader app for iPhones and iPads, and Go Read, the equivalent Android app;
    • MathML Cloud, a cloud-based app that automatically creates accurate images and image descriptions of mathematical expressions, while retaining the detailed math markup for reference;
    • Major new features and formats for Bookshare,  including audio versions of our ebooks; Spanish text-to-speech; web-based reading and organizational tools, and more. 
Former Benetech VP of Engineering speaking with team members during a brainstorming session in Benetech offices.
Gerardo during a brainstorming session in Benetech offices
  • Advising to and leading Benetech’s collaboration with standards organizations and groups that advance the field of accessibility in education, such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the DAISY Consortium. These efforts helped drive Benetech’s new work on accessible widgets, experiments with scalable vector graphics (an open standard for rendering graphics in web browser, developed by W3C), annotation as a tool for accessibility, and more.
  • Overseeing the Accessibility Metadata Project, with which we led a collaborative effort to develop standards for accessibility metadata. As Gerardo explained in a recent blog post,—the organization that keeps a list of agreed-upon tags that all search engines can use in common—adopted our proposed standards, so that search engine users can refine their searches to easily find accessible learning resources online.
  • Inspiring hacker-led efforts to collaboratively experiment to advance the field of accessibly in education through initiative such as an accessibility sprint with OERPub, or work on MathML protocol handler.
Additionally, Gerardo helped conceive our major new effort to ignite new tech social enterprise through Benetech Labs. Select examples of Labs initiatives in which he was instrumental include:
  • SocialCoding4Good, a major tech volunteerism initiative bridging the open source software, nonprofit, and corporate tech communities. SocialCoding4Good connects software developer professionals from companies like VMware, HP, and Google to volunteer their time and technical talent to open source social good projects at Benetech and our peers, including the Mifos Initiative, Wikimedia Foundation, Medic Mobile, and Mozilla.
  • Clean Water Project, an effort to strengthen the capacity of Latin American clean water organizations through enhanced data platforms.
Gerardo has shared many of his presentations on these and other topics, which are available via SlideShare.

On behalf of the Benetech team, thank you, Gerardo, for the immense impact you helped us create in the lives of multitudes around the world, and for establishing Benetech in such a strong position to create more impact than ever in the coming years!

27.07.2014 On Our Radar: Has China's Environment Hit an Inflection Point?

Mask wearing has become a common sight in downtown Beijing. Taken April 2014 © Chris Wash.

An abbreviated version of this piece was originally published in the summer issue of Radar Magazine – Issue 04: Better, Connected.

The Chinese government’s declarations of environmental concerns as first-order priorities have a spotty history in heralding imminent change, due largely to uneven enforcement on a state and local level. So one could be forgiven if the flurry of actions announced in the first half of 2014, which include statements by a government advisor that the country will set an absolute cap on carbon dioxide emissions for the first time and adopt a revised Environmental Protection Law (the first in 25 years) imposing harsher financial and criminal punishments to polluters, is viewed with scepticism. But stakeholder activity to hold the government accountable for their environmental stewardship, whether by protest or product offering, has risen too. We have seen more signs of environmentally-sparked protests, like one fought over the construction of an industrial plant in Guangdong province or another that incited a riot in Hangzhou over plans to build Asia’s largest waste incinerator project, take place this year.

Meanwhile, Chinese-based and multinational companies are betting on the growth of the anti-pollution market, regardless of what the government does or does not do. Among them, Unilever is buying a majority stake in a Chinese water purification company, while Alibaba is selling inexpensive water testing kits to help empower citizens. In a foreboding sign of things to come, Panasonic and Coca-Cola have announced that they will be paying ‘hazard pay’ to China-based employees to account for the country’s air pollution.

What to look for: Contrary to many reports, there has been no official announcement by China on an absolute emissions cap, nor what the cap would be if instituted. While this will continue to be the most significant international proxy for an inflection point (especially in advance of the critical Paris Climate Conference in 2015) we will be tracking further signals that Chinese and foreign companies develop and invest in anti-pollution products/services and how this activity, and the heightened awareness that comes with, helps further catalyse bottom-up environmental activism.

26.07.2014 Bye-Bye Big Vision Podcast: 70+ Interviews Over 7 Years with Social Changemakers

East Bay Express, Best of the East Bay 2007

Today is my day for letting go of things to make space for something new.

I just told my VegCookbook Club that I'm
stepping down as its organizer, and now I'm letting go of the Big Vision Podcast. It has been REALLY hard to let this go, but after not posting an interview for a year, I know that it is time.

I started the Big Vision Podcast in 2006 about six months after starting Have Fun, Do Good. When I told my husband that I wanted to interview social changemakers for my blog, he suggested that I start a podcast. He had the audio equipment to help me with the recording and iTunes had recently added support for podcasts.

And so began seven years of talking to some pretty amazing Big Visionaries. What an incredible experience.  Every single one of these people inspired me in some way, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to spend time with them.

I'm not sure how much longer I'll pay for the podcast's hosting, so if you've been meaning to go back and download any of the old interviews, now is the time. You can listen on iTunes and on the podcast's home page. I'll also embed a podcast player on the bottom of this post. If you click on Menu, you should be able to access all the shows from there as well.

I've listed the interviewees by year below. I didn't put their organizations or titles because many people's jobs have changed. Sadly, one of the Big Visionaries I interviewed, Priya Haji, passed away recently.

I want to thank all of you who have been listeners over the years, and of course thank all of the people I interviewed for making the time to talk with me about their big vision.

Lisa Truong


  • Tara Mohr
  • Marianne Elliott
  • Kristen Zimmerman
  • Lisa Truong
  • Akaya Windwood

Will Allen

  • Beth Terry
  • Will Allen
  • Deanna Zandt
  • Stacey Edgar

Kathy LeMay

  • Ben Mangan
  • Sara Potler
  • Carinne Brody
  • Halle Butvin
  • Naomi Natale
  • Kathy LeMay
  • Samin Nosrat
  • Rachel Cohen
  • Aneesha Raghunathan
  • Robert Wolfe
  • Gabriela Masala
Jensine Larsen

  • Secret Agent L (Laura Miller)
  • Jensine Larsen
  • Marsha Wallace
  • Temra Costa
  • Jessica Prentice
  • Tom Aageson
  • Anna Lappe
  • Melinda Kramer and Amira Diamond
  • Ashley Rowe and Carol Webb
  • Rebecca Kousky
Zainab Salbi

  • Patricia Loya
  • Kimberly Wilson
  • Lisa Witter
  • Jose Corona
  • David Cohn
  • Kjerstin Erickson
  • Zainab Salbi
  • Seane Corn
  • Bryant Terry
  • Jennifer Lee
Cristi Hegranes

  • Favianna Rodriguez
  • Marianne Manilove
  • Cami Walker
  • Marisa Handler
  • Martin Fisher
  • Ari Derfel
  • Janessa Goldbeck
  • Anisha Desai
  • Kavita Ramdas
  • Cristi Hegranes
  • Christina Arnold

Solutionary Women Panel

  • Andre Carothers
  • Paola Gianturco
  • Shalini Kantayya
  • Marsha Wallace
  • Elizabeth Pomada
  • Chris Messina and Ivan Storck
  • Solutionary Women panel I organized for the Stanford Women's Leadership Conference: Alli Chagi-Starr, Ilyse Hogue, Melinda Kramer and Reem Rahim
  • Van Jones
  • Paul Rice
  • Priya Haji
  • Jodi Van Horn
  • Reem Rahim
Anna Lappe

  • Kevin Danaher
  • Melinda Kramer
  • Ingrid Severson
  • Jessica Jackley
  • Jonah Sachs
  • Lisa Russ
  • Nola Brantley
  • Anna Lappe
  • Steve Williams
  • Ilyse Hogue
  • Abby Jaramillo (Rosenheck)
  • Mei-ying Williams (Ho)
  • Brahm Ahmadi
  • Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster
  • Alli Chagi-Starr

    25.07.2014 How to Secure WordPress From Hackers for Free

    The following post is copyrighted by Return On Now - Austin Internet Marketing Consulting Services

    If you operate a website on the WordPress platform, it’s inevitable that a hack attempt will come your way sooner or later. Just this week, the Return On Now website has been under a series of botnet attacks. Luckily, we have spent a lot of time studying how to secure WordPress from these sort of attacks. So far, the site… read more →

    The post How to Secure WordPress From Hackers for Free appeared first on Return On Now.

    25.07.2014 Why understanding globalization’s roots lets us use it for good


    Though the ship has sailed on the debate about whether globalization leaves some people worse off, the development community still hasn't quite figured out how to maneuver the tiller. But history repeats itself, they say, and a deep understanding of globalization’s roots might just provide navigational clues for the future.

    The University of Texas at Austin’s online course “Age of Globalization” explores the topic through the lens of competition and connectivity, with Professor John Hoberman at the helm.

    “Globalization is unimaginable without the unprecedented electronic networks that project dominant cultural products into every society on earth,” says the course description.

    Dominant cultural products like Coca Cola? Yes. And understanding how that globalized system can be harnessed to bring cold Coca Cola to the farthest reaches of the globe means you can also harness it to deliver life-saving medicines. Powerful.

    The 15-week MOOC is available for free through starting August 27.

    Want more? In October, Georgetown University is offering another edX course along these lines: Globalization's Winners and Losers: Challenges for Developed and Developing Countries

    Articles You Might Like: 
    NEWS: As the poor reap the benefits of globalization, the rich fight it
    Global Ideas News Brief: Sanitation + Ag entrepreneurs
    Connecting farmers with markets

    24.07.2014 #DetroitWater - a sign of things to come?

    Here's a website that allows anyone to pay the water bill (or part of the bill) owed by someone in Detroit. Lest we grow complacent, allow me to point out several noteworthy - dare I say, almost astonishing - things about this from the perspective of (what else) digital civil society:
    1. The city of Detroit is so broke it's cutting off water to residents.
    2. Many people in Detroit can't afford to pay for water. 
    3. People are taking to the street and online to protest - and the fight is on between privatized water systems and water as a common good (this is common fight in many parts of the world, and there is a strong "water is a human right" movement)
    4. Web technology built by a handful (two, I think) of people is up and running to help strangers help strangers.
    5. There are no intermediary organizations in this mix - donors pay bills directly to and through Detroit's public water department. The creators built the site, money goes to the water authority, donors and residents don't interact.
    6. PRIVACY is addressed as key issue on the site - both from the residents' and the donors' standpoints. And no grand promises are made.
    I tried to get some more information about #DetroitWater but haven't heard back from the folks that I emailed. Here's what I asked them:
    • You mention in the privacy section that Detroit Water might identify residents. How likely is this, how would it happen, has it happened?
    • What kind of permission did you need to get from Detroit Water Auth to use this info? How did you get the info?
    • Are residents opting in or opting out of this? Who is deciding and how are they deciding who's bills get paid?
    • Where is transaction data being stored? How secure is it?
    • Is CFA involved in this (one of the founders has a CFA email address)? Did you create this totally on your own? Others who helped? How long did it take?

      24.07.2014 Grounds for Peace in Afghanistan and the Middle East

      As a mother and CEO, I have walked the minefields of the world to witness the repercussions of war and its devastating effects on children. I have held babies in my arms who have lost their limbs and lives – it only takes eight pounds to detonate a landmine, the weight of a newborn child. […]

      24.07.2014 Semi-Finalists Announced!

      From a pool of more than 200 entries, the short-listing team at Ashoka Changemakers has selected 86 Semi-Finalists of the Building Vibrant Communities: Activating Empathy to Create Change challenge. 

      Video caption: Early Entry Prize Winner and Semi-Finalist iLead+Design submitted this video illustrating its unique model for teaching students empathy skills and how to use design thinking to solve problems.

      read more

      23.07.2014 Five Attributes of Leading Stakeholder Engagement

      Image © CC Domiriel: Compfight

      The identification and engagement of a company’s stakeholders to build trust, reduce risk and develop effective partnerships have been at the core of our work with business leaders for many years. As the rhetoric grows that no singular business is capable of addressing environmental and social challenges alone, companies must think now more than ever about how they can engage with NGOs, governments and other actors to develop collaborative solutions to system problems.

      Over the years, we have seen stakeholder engagement move in this direction. It’s evolved from tactical, compliance and risk-focused to more strategic and solutions-orientated, with stakeholders engaged up and down the value chain—not only as partners on critical issues but also as key players to improve business performance.

      In our most recent issue of Radar, we sought to explore the essential attributes for effective and innovative engagement and have identified five key success factors.

      The right intent. Focus on a goal for the company and for society, not on engaging for engagement’s sake. Ultimately, the intent should focus on aligning engagements with the achievement of core business goals, to arrive at a clear and desired outcome. For example, one of Walmart’s ambitions is to ensure all US customers have access to recycling facilities. This ambition is not achievable by the company on its own so it is looking to partnerships, using its ambition to drive a number of engagements through the creation of the Closed Loop Fund.

      The right stakeholders. Involve the right people both inside and outside the company. While this may seem obvious, it is important to highlight as it is fundamental 
that companies select both the right external and internal stakeholders. When assessing which internal stakeholders to involve, the intent of the engagement and each employee’s capabilities should be top of mind. Essential, too, is senior level support to ensure that stakeholders believe the engagement is being taken seriously. External stakeholders should include influential representatives who are willing to engage and also those who can help achieve the goal, such as solution providers and experts or business partners from across the value chain. Nestlé has steadily built a public affairs department focused on and capable of earning stakeholder trust. Further to this team, Nestlé’s Chairman regularly attends the company’s Creating Shared Value convening to ensure he understands the concerns of both supporters and critics to help drive company strategy.

      The right issues. Concentrate on where the company can make a difference and the issues that make most difference to the company. While the ‘intent’ of the engagement will shape the outcomes, the issues addressed should focus on a ‘big idea’ or the most material issues. Engaging is timely and costly, and companies should ensure that they are pursuing engagements 
that will yield the most benefits. By focusing on a big idea or material issue, companies can 
use collective brainpower to better solve problems and create solutions. For example, Brown-Forman, makers of Jack Daniels and other high profile alcohol brands, brought together makers, distributors and retailers to combat irresponsible consumption of alcohol as part of its Global Guide to Alcohol Responsibility.

      The right spirit. Be open to challenges and different perspectives. Companies should approach engagements with an understanding of open, two-way communication, encouraging challenging and different perspectives. Top management should champion active listening. In addition to listening, how feedback is used and disclosed is crucial as well. TD Bank incorporates specific recommendations and their response into their annual report as a means of proving that they’ve understood and are addressing stakeholder concerns.

      The right processes. Ensure processes are targeted and appropriate to the business. Depending on the intent and the issues being addressed, there are a number of internal processes and tools at a company’s disposal to ensure the successful completion of any stakeholder engagement. These processes include a clearly defined governance mechanism; highlighting who has ownership for the engagement; clarity around the format of the engagement, from tracking communications to long-term partnerships, and potential KPIs to measure the success of the engagement. All of these elements are specific to the situation and the way a company pursues innovation.

      While there is an element of surprise to be expected in any engagement, focusing on these key attributes will ensure the continued progression towards achieving corporate ambitions, while also providing the most value for participating stakeholders.

      We hope you enjoy the summer issue of Radar. As always, we welcome your feedback.

      Please note that Radar is an interactive digital publication and as such not all of the interactive features will work in the PDF version of the magazine.

      23.07.2014 HUGE NEWS: We've Reached A Tipping Point In The Fight Against AIDS

      Huge news. For the first time in the history of AIDS, we have reached a tipping point in the fight against the disease.

      Last year, there were more people newly added to HIV treatment than people newly infected with the disease. 

      According to new data from UNAIDS, in 2013, 2.3 million people were added to HIV/AIDS treatment, surpassing the number of new HIV infections in that year. If we keep increasing the number of people on treatment and decreasing the number of new infections, we can end the disease in just 15 years.

      UNAIDS’ report shows more progress:
      • There are now 12.9 million people on antiretroviral treatment—2.3 million more people added in the last year alone, and a remarkable leap from just 300,000 in 2002. More than 9 million of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa.
      • There were 2.1 million new HIV infections in 2013, down from 2.3 million a year prior. Roughly 240,000 of these new infections were among infants and children, also down from 260,000 a year prior.
      • AIDS-related deaths are also declining, with 1.5 million deaths in 2013.
      Over the last three years, we have been tracking progress towards “the beginning of the end of AIDS”—the point at which the number of people newly added to treatment in a year is more than the number of people newly infected with HIV in the same year. UNAIDS’ data showed that we achieved this in 2013, perhaps much earlier than expected.

      Listen to ONE’s Global Policy Director Erin Hohlfelder discuss the new report in an interview with UN Dispatch.

      Although we have always been careful to note that achieving the tipping point does not mean that the fight against AIDS is over, or even close to over, it is a major victory worth celebrating. For the first time in the history of the disease, we are finally getting ahead of the curve.

      23.07.2014 Digital Civil Society - Infographic (take 2)

      Thanks for feedback on yesterday's attempt at visual representation of digital civil society. Here's an updated graphic thanks to your input.

      More feedback welcome.
      (And to those who wanted it to be a spinning, multi-colored GIF, I say - go for it! Make it happen, make it better! As you can tell from above I can barely align objects correctly. I will gratefully receive any and all improvements on the above and give artistic and graphic credit whereever it may be due. Thanks)