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

30.09.2014 "Encouraging Scientific Curiosity"

From Talking Heads:
Yewande Omotose speaks to engineer and educator Dr. G. Ayorkor Korsah about her love of math and science to her deep appreciation of engineering, robotics, algorithms and teaching.

30.09.2014 Geoffrey Siwo's 'United Genomes Project'

Over at OZY:
image courtesy of OZY
Geoffrey Siwo wants to accelerate drug discovery by enlisting the help of millions of Internet users around the world — not research insitutions or Big Pharma.
There are more than 10,000 diseases on the planet, asthma to zygomycosis. Geoffrey Siwo wants to cure all of them.

What if you could find a way in which basically anyone with a computer and Internet connection could contribute to research on a disease?

And the 35-year-old computational biologist believes he can. Or, rather, that we can, if we can disrupt drug discovery. It’s worth listening: Few understand the toll of disease like Siwo, who lost three sisters to disease in Kenya.

Today, pharmaceutical companies pour resources into widespread diseases that afflict developed countries, like cancer or diabetes. There’s less economic incentive to tackle rare diseases or those, like malaria and tuberculosis, that plague poorer regions. Even if there were, drug companies would still lack the manpower to tackle every disease known.

Siwo sees another way. “What if you could find a way in which basically anyone with a computer and Internet connection could contribute to research on a disease?” he asks — and it’s not a rhetorical question. This month, he unveiled the United Genomes Project, Africa’s first crowdsourced, open-source genetic database. Siwo and his team will start by asking first-generation Africans in the U.S. to upload their results from 23andMe and other commercially available genetic kits. Then they’ll fan out to African countries once they approve direct-to-consumer genetic testing...[continue reading]

30.09.2014 Africa Yoga Project: Inspiring Youth to Achieve Greatness

Editors's Note: This article was written by Paige Elenson. Elenson is the Executive Director of Africa Yoga Project (AYP), a movement that empowers the youth through th

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29.09.2014 MOBicure a mobile health company

Emmanuel Owobu is the founder of MOBicure:
their Flagship product is Ọmọ android-based mobile application that aims to improve maternal and child health.

This easy to use mobile application will help mothers keep their children healthy. It makes it easier for parents and caregivers to cater for the health needs of their children by providing a platform for them to easily monitor their children's growth and nutritional status, remember routine immunization visits, provide a repository of very vital health information, as well as help them handle some common childhood ailments.

29.09.2014 Hastings Mkandawire - Maker

YALI Fellow Hastings Mkandawire, is the founder and Director of Turbines Development Enterprise which recently received a $25K grant. After the jump a video of Hastings and his colleague Jimmy Mzilahowa fabbing a generator:

Homemade | Villant Jana from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.
Hastings has taken his passion for designing viable, sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions and his certification in Electrical Engineering to establish several hydro-electric turbines in the rural areas of Malawi. Using recycled materials, Hastings has efficiently built small hydro-electric turbines that generate enough electricity to power water pumps for villages consequently allowing easy water access for irrigation, relieving women and young girls from having to fetch water daily on their heads. “Upon my return, I will encourage massive replication of low cost electric power generation systems to support youth economic activities in the isolated rural areas of Malawi.” - US Embassy LiLongwe

29.09.2014 Mbetsa Innovations from Morris Mbetsa

Polymath inventor Morris Mbetsa developed an:
...anti-theft device called Block and Track. Block and Track is an SMS-based vehicle security system that enables car-owners to monitor their vehicle from a distance. The system he has invented brings the whole concept of vehicle security into one’s hand thanks to the mobile phone - Kumatoo
His company Mbetsa Innovations offers products which include:
-Vehicle Management
-Car Anti theft System
-Car Tracking Systems
-Vehicle Recovery

29.09.2014 Delegates in the Driver’s Seat at Opportunity Collaboration

The age-old adage that “two heads are better than one” has made a comeback. In the think-tank world of social change and economic development, collaboration is all the rage. We encourage collaborating with indigenous communities. We tout collaborations between the public and private sectors. Newly-minted collaboration consultants proselytize for more partnerships, alliances, transparency, information-sharing, nonprofit […]

29.09.2014 Help Rescue and Rehabilitate Mustangs

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$10 — Will feed a mustang for three days
$25 — Will buy an annual vaccine for a mustang
$100 — Fully sponsor (cover all basic costs for) a mustang for a month

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In the early 1900's, the wild mustang population in the US was estimated to be over 2 million. Today, there are only 15,000 left in the wild and about 40,000 in captivity in need of rescue. The Wild Horse Rescue Center rescues and rehabilitates mustangs who have been abused and neglected. The center subsequently adopts the horses in to loving homes. The funds for this project will go towards the care of the center's 40 horses, located in Mims, Florida, USA.

Project Needs and Beneficiaries
There are currently tens of thousands of mustangs in need of rescue in the US and in Florida the problem is worse than ever. People buy these horses for a very low price from auctions - while the horse is still completely wild. The new owners discover too late that they have no knowledge or capacity to socialize and train these horses - at this point the horses have grown so depressed and sick they refuse to eat or come close to humans.

With a tremendously high success rate and decades of experience, WHRC rehabilitates these horses mentally and physically, trains and socializes them and then adopts them out in to loving homes. The team works tirelessly to solve the emotional baggage the horses have and once the emotional and physical traumas have been addressed - the horses are socialized and trained so they can be ridden. Then they are adopted in to loving homes to free up space for a new rescue at the center.

Potential Long Term Impact
Because the horses are adopted out once they are emotionally and physically stable - the center can constantly help more horses. The bigger impact also includes all the lobbying and educational work the center does to bring attention and knowledge to the plight of the American mustang - a cause very few are familiar with.

Project Sponsor: Global Vision International Charitable Trust
Theme: Animals | Location: United States
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$6,000
Project #18392 on

29.09.2014 Help Fund a Project Development Officer

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$25 — Will account for 1/12 of the monthly salary for a Project Development Officer
$100 — Will account for 1/3 of the monthly salary for a Project Development Officer
$600 — Will cover all of the administrative costs of promoting, running and funding this project.

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A challenge that FORUDEF continually encounters is how to use their limited resources to affect the greatest possible change. Identifying needs is not difficult, nor is identifying innovative responses to those needs. The daily challenge is how to creatively use resources to carry out the best possible work, and how to do that with a limited staff. Help increase FORUDEF's capacity to empower communities in Cameroon by contributing resources to hiring a permanent Project Development Officer.

Project Needs and Beneficiaries
FORUDEF is involved in implementing several empowering initiatives throughout the Southwest region of Cameroon. These initiative are focused on building the capacity of individuals, groups, and communities to meet their own needs and rise above the challenges they face. While there is no end to the work that needs to be accomplish, there is a limit to how much FORUDEF can do with the limited staff that they possess. Increasing the staff of FORUDEF will help them to expand their initiatives.

While effective, an organization with a small staff can only be involved in so many initiatives. Providing the resources for FORUDEF to hire a permanent Project Development Officer will allow them to expand their operations and empower more individuals. Additionally, this will allow the organization the freedom to pour their resources into programming and development initiatives knowing that they have the staff in place to carry out these initiatives.

Potential Long Term Impact
With more staff FORUDEF will be able to carry out more work in the community. Additionally, the new staff member will contribute their time and expertise to expanding FORUDEF's funding base, identifying new sources of funding, and building the long-term sustainability of the organization. A Project Development Officer will help to ensure that all staff members have the freedom to carry out their respective roles to their full ability and improve the functioning of the organization as a whole.

Project Sponsor: Food and Rural Development Foundation (FORUDEF)
Theme: Economic Development | Location: Cameroon
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$4,200
Project #18391 on

29.09.2014 Send Typhoon Haiyan Affected Students to College

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$10 — Purchase of school supplies for 1 student.
$25 — Purchase of school supplies for 3 students.
$50 — Purchase of school uniform for 2 students.

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The main problem with Typhoon Haiyan affected students especially girls is that they have difficulty going back to school as most lost their homes and livelihoods and some have parents and siblings who did not survive. They are indeed in very dire strait and they are prey to criminal syndicates offering them job in the cities but only to end up as prostitutes. This modest project will try to send 10 hardly affected girls to college or vocational school, so that they will have a good future ahead

Project Needs and Beneficiaries
The main problem is that hardest hit survivors of Typhoon Haiyan who are of school age have not gone to school because their assets are gone or they lost their parents. They are prey to criminal syndicates in Leyte victimizing the youths especially the girls and enticing them to supposedly lucrative jobs in the city such as Manila but they end up in prostitution dens. There is a need to send these students back to school.

Sending the drop-outs back to school especially women and girls is a way out to this very difficult and de-humanizing predicament. All this needs is tuition fee, supplies and allowance for the returning students.

Potential Long Term Impact
When the returning students finally graduates, they will be able to assist re-build the severely damaged areas through their skills and knowledge. Best of all they will be useful again as compared to the present where they are potential victims of criminal gangs preying on hapless survivors in Leyte.

Project Sponsor: Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Foundation
Theme: Disaster Recovery | Location: Philippines
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$10,000
Project #18387 on

26.09.2014 Mobile Tech, the Unbanked and the American Dream

Mobile Tech, the Unbanked and the American Dream

By Rick Johnson Friday, 26 September 2014 - 2:33pm

Jose Alverez is a likable 23 year old who’s easy with a laugh and quick with a smile. He moved from Guatemala to California five years ago to work as a day laborer alongside his father. Like many residents in America living close to the poverty line, Jose doesn’t use a traditional bank account. Despite the relative high fees, he relies on cash checking stores to conduct his banking.

Jose’s story is not unique. He is just one of 17 million people nationwide who represents the “unbanked”. They either don’t qualify or choose not to open a bank account. Another 51 million are “underbanked”. These are people who have bank accounts but rarely use them, opting to use what many would argue are more expensive cash checking stores.

There’s a strong case to be made for the benefits gained by entering the financial mainstream. Owning a bank account can be the fastest way to build credit, save money, avoid excessive check cashing fees, and create a financial identity. I asked Jose why he doesn’t open a bank account. “I don’t know why, I just don’t like walking into a bank. I feel like I don’t belong there.”

As we talked further, I realized that he and his father really enjoy the experience of going to the cash checking store. The owner has become a friend. He’s a reliable ally who doesn’t harass them for ID and is a trusted companion who wires their money back home to family. There are no hidden fees. Everything is upfront. It’s a visit he and his father look forward to. After I explained the benefits gained by opening a bank account, Jose concluded that it’s the right thing to do. He married the love of his life three years ago, an American citizen. So he’s here legally and identification is not an issue. We then talked about his options for joining the financial mainstream.

Given Jose’s aversion to big banks, I wondered if there were any mobile solutions that would limit his visits to branches, while charging only a nominal fee. Nearly 70% of the unbanked have a mobile phone. Jose, along with almost 50% of this group, has a smart phone.

Vodafone, one of the world’s largest telecoms with presence throughout the world, just relaunched M-Pesa. This virtual product allows users to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money easily with a mobile device. M-Pesa now has 19.3 million users worldwide, but it’s not available in the US. If virtual banking can take hold in other parts of the world, why not the US?

The underbanked in America spends about $78 billion in interest and fees every year. With the size of that market and the proliferation of mobile phones, there are a lot of companies now offering mobile solutions and trying to capitalize on this segment, while also doing some social good. Companies like Walmart and American Express offer pre-paid debit cards that can be fully accessed online. I asked if he’d consider a prepaid debit card. “I’ve heard of those, my wife told me I should get one. 

This market has been booming over the recent years, and is now a $67.5 billion business. Analysts project this market to grow to $168.7 billion in 2016. Prepaid Debit Cards allow you to deposit checks virtually via remote check deposit. But to avoid fees many of these cards require direct deposit, which is not an option for Jose. And they don’t report payment history to the major credit bureaus, so it does nothing to build your credit.

Another disadvantage is having to wait two to three business days for checks to clear. While some companies offer straightforward plans, many include nickel and dime fees that can add up. Secured credit cards are another alternative that report payment history to the credit bureaus, but they require a checking account. At first I was optimistic about prepaid cards, but now I’m leery of recommending this solution to Jose.

Many traditional banks offer robust mobile online banking solutions. But with the passage of the Dodd-Frank reform legislation, many banks have felt the pinch of reduced fee revenue, causing a lot of banks to back away from “free checking” products. Since Jose doesn’t have direct deposit and idle cash to maintain a large minimum balance to avoid fees, a traditional account isn’t the ideal solution.  

Another option is to find a bank that’s partnered with the Bank On effort. This program has created alliances with banks that are willing to offer discounted financial products to those in need. While many large banks such as Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo participate in the program, Jose is still reluctant to visit a large bank. Fortunately they partner with smaller banks and credit unions as well. Checking account fees are either be heavily discounted or waived altogether. 

I also informed Jose about a new company called Self Lender. This online company helps people build their credit profile by providing a means to create a loan to themselves with their own funds. It’s a zero interest, fee-free loan that’s paid back over a short period of time. The payment history is reported to the three major credit agencies. The service is offered for a nominal fee of only $3.00 per month and everything is accessible via mobile. Jose like the idea.

Jose’s excited about joining the financial mainstream and establishing a good credit history. “I want to work hard and buy a house someday. This will be good for me and my family.” With a smile on his face, I can see he feels he can belong to something much bigger. With some faith in himself, a bit of self-discipline, and a smartphone in hand, Jose is on his way to a new American life of financial responsibility and prosperity.



26.09.2014 5 questions for Charles Kenny: Why the world is getting better


Charles Kenny will be speaking in the Mercy Corps Action Center on October 9th, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Buy your tickets now! $5 for students/seniors, $10 regular.

Amid the swathe of spectators who harp on the failures of global development stands one economist who begs to differ: Charles Kenny.

Kenny argues that global development is actually succeeding--and he has the data to prove it.

A senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, columnist for BusinessWeek and contributing editor to Foreign Policy, Kenny spent more than 20 years researching growth patterns as a researcher for the World Bank.

His conclusion? Income isn’t a catch-all mechanism that explains why certain countries lag behind others. But we can clearly see things are getting better.

Global Envision: Can you share a little bit about your professional background - what led to your role at the Center for Global Development?

Charles Kenny: In the early 1990s I went straight from graduate school to working at the World Bank, researching infrastructure, telecommunications and the causes of growth. That became my primary interest. This was back in a time when Africa was seeing particularly poor economic growth while being surpassed by countries that were once considered to be struggling on a similar level. So why was the majority of sub-Saharan Africa lagging behind?

We usually think of economic growth as being a good measure of everything. And yes, it’s important because it shows the choices people are making--whether they have to choose between eating and buying books. But it isn’t everything.

What’s the story with income? What’s the story with other measures of life? And why are they not as closely connected as we usually think? These questions are exactly what sparked my research and book, called “Getting Better,” which argues against the idea that things are getting worse but rather underlines signs of widespread improvements from health to education. That made me interested in spreading the word and was one of the reasons I left the World Bank.

I became more interested in the idea of trying to influence the development process and how to make the world a better place. The Center for Global Development is all about that--influencing aid, trade, migration, technology, and environmental policies. How rich countries affect poor countries.

GE: Can you explain a little about your research process for “Getting Better?” What made you veer on the side of optimism?

CK: Look, income hasn't improved everywhere over the last 20-30 years. But quality of life has improved everywhere. We’ve seen countries that were further behind catching up with countries that were further along. What’s behind that? I started by looking at the data--from the strength of government institutions to how many girls make it through primary school.

Even countries that haven’t been seeing terribly strong economic growth have made fantastic progress on quality of life. To me, that showed that looking at progress exclusively through the lens of income isn’t an effective means of measuring progress.

GE: What do you say to the naysayers who insist that things aren’t getting better?

CK: You’re right to be concerned, and while I believe that, the data is massively supportive of the thesis that the world is getting better. Yes, challenges like child mortality and polio still exist, but we know how to combat them. And every year we’re getting better at utilizing the tools we have to tackle these issues. 

GE: You emphasize the need for a more multilayered approach towards understanding growth. Should we do away with traditional methods that use economic proxies, like GDP, in favor of others that focus more on social progress, like the Social Progress Index?

I want to emphasize that income does really matter. Very poor people can’t afford to buy stuff they really need. People do value income. But if we’re going to have a broad measure of the quality of life, income isn’t all that matters. Things like the Millennium Development Goals are a global response saying the same thing. We need to consider factors like infant mortality, the environment, public health.

We can’t just measure human progress along one dimension. We’re complicated.

GE: What do you think is one of the most effective ways we can end abject poverty by 2030--and what would we be trading off to choose that route?

CK: If I was president of the planet tomorrow and I could make one policy, it would be to open borders to people. It’s a really strange world we live in at the moment. Where you’re born is by far the biggest determinant of how your life is going to turn out. Even if you’re born into poverty in the U.S., you’re not living under $1 a day. But why should geography determine rich or poor?

I think we can try to equalize opportunity across geography. But we can also allow people to move somewhere where their chances are better. It’s not so crazy--one of the reasons I love the U.S. is that immigration policy in this country is comparatively very generous.

My real hope for the world I live in when I’m 80 or 90: The idea that where you’re born should affect your life quality is something that will be unacceptable.


Articles You Might Like: 
Why GDP doesn’t explain economic development: Measuring progress in the Amazon
T-shirts, technology and trade: Planet Money host says experimentation, not theory, key to cutting poverty
Extreme poverty could end by 2030, but the planet might pay for it

26.09.2014 How Content Curation Can Inform Content Marketing

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

It seems content curation has been a very hot topic of late, so we turned our attention to it a week ago. That particular post was focused on how to manage content curation itself. This week, I want to continue the thought process and analyze how content curation can inform our own content creation. Content marketing should not be blindly… read more →

The post How Content Curation Can Inform Content Marketing appeared first on Return On Now.

26.09.2014 SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature

project picture
$10 — Provides 100 bags to make tree seedlings
$15 — Sponsors ten trees, materials, and the labor to plant them
$150 — Sponsors 100 trees, materials, and the labor to plant them

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The Atlantic Rainforest is an extremely diverse ecosystem containing 20,000 plant species, 450 tree species, 2200 species of birds and animals, and more than 125 million human beings in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and more. Between human beings and nautre this creates an undeniable connection, and threat as only 8.5% of the forest remains. Our project aims to plant 10,000 native species of trees and create positive relationships between the forest and those who live within it.

Project Needs and Beneficiaries
More than 125 million people live in the region of the Atlantic Rainforest including heavily populated metropolitan areas of Brazil. Human settlements put extreme pressure on the forest. As a global community we rely on forests to capture and sequester carbon to prevent climate change. Locals rely on the free services obtained from forests like clean water, fresh air, and protection from disasters such as landslides and floods. When cleared beyond a sustainable level we risk losing everything.

SINAL do Vale is a 200 hectare farm, education centre, and meeting point. It contains preserved Atlantic Rainforest that connects to other wildlife corridors. SINAL also possesses 100 hectares of land that have the potential for replanting with native species to ensure the safety of the community and grow appreciation for nature amongst youth. With an established education program we create opportunities for children and will plant 10,000 trees with help from local schools and community members.

Potential Long Term Impact
This is the start of reforesting 100 hectares of land. As a global community we benefit from more forests capturing carbon to prevent climate change. The area near Santo Antonio has recently been effected by landslides and floods and when planted in strategic areas trees have a remarkable ability to protect from disasters and maintain clean water. SINAL employs local community members of Santo Antonio many of which live below the poverty line to help with reforestation efforts.

Project Sponsor: CEMINA (Com., Edu. and Info. and Adaptation)
Theme: Environment | Location: Brazil
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$20,000
Project #18285 on

25.09.2014 Rob Cameron Speaks with The Partnering Initiative's Darian Stibbe

This interview was originally published in the summer issue of Radar Magazine – Issue 04: Better, Connected.

At the end of 2013, SustainAbility was pleased to welcome The Partnering Initiative (TPI) to share its London office space. TPI is one of the leading organisations driving the theory and practice of collaboration between business, NGOs, governments and others.

Rob Cameron recently spent a morning in conversation with TPI’s Executive Director, Darian Stibbe, discussing the challenges and opportunities that cross-sector partnership and collaboration can bring to business, NGOs and governments.

Rob Cameron: Partnering is necessary for making progress in sustainability given the scale of the challenges we face. But it is surprisingly difficult to find great examples of partnerships that really deliver. How do you make partnerships successful?

Darian Stibbe: Firstly, there has to be an alignment of interest. We sometimes talk about ‘Davos syndrome’ in which, for example, a CEO of a company and the head of a UN agency agree to launch a partnership, but when it comes down to making it happen on the ground, there is the realisation that there is insufficient overlap of interest between the two organisations. You have to start off with a clear and necessary overlap of interest and that can be a challenge in itself.

Transparency is an essential element. All partners need to be very clear about why they are in the partnership, what is it that they want to get out of it, what are some of the internal challenges or constraints that may affect the relationship. Most issues or constraints can be worked through, but if not surfaced early, they can become damaging much later on. Transparency is also an essential component in building trust among partners.

Equity is also critical. Everyone has an essential element to bring which gives them the right to a seat at the table, and they should be respected for it.

You have to be sure of mutual benefit – everyone gets something out of the partnership, and that benefit must be reasonably balanced with what they’re contributing compared with everyone else.

More than anything it is about process: taking quite disparate organisations, building up a trusted relationship, jointly developing a vision and mission for the partnership, developing roles and responsibilities that all parties are bought into, and putting in place the right structures to help ensure success.

Finally, build in a review mechanism to adjust the partnership as you go along. For all but the simplest of partnerships, I would say it is impossible to fully design the partnership in advance; it has to be iterative and evolve, and a review process is central to that.

I think that the emergent nature of partnership and its inherent uncertainty has to be accepted even though you have tried as much as possible to establish common goals and understanding. I have seen cases
 where known or feared problems have not been addressed and outcomes not achieved because each party believed they needed the other so much that it led to an almost tacit agreement that “problems will work themselves out because we need each other so badly.”

This is a common issue. Some of it comes down to inexperience, some of it down to a lack of confidence in the commitment and relationship with the other organisation. Most people start off thinking partnering should be easy. When things start to get tricky, everyone is so desperate to make it work they often avoid the difficult conversations, and that is poor partnering. Difficult conversations are an essential part of partnering. Indeed, if you think your partnership is always easy, you’re probably missing something!

This brings up another element for success: ensuring that all those involved in the partnership have the necessary skills, the mindset and an understanding of other sectors to partner effectively. Indeed, for organisations as a whole to be “fit for partnering,” along with skilled staff they need the right systems and processes, committed leadership and, most importantly, a good strategy. There have been a lot of partnerships for the sake of partnerships. Partnering needs to be fully connected with the organisation’s strategic objectives – whether you are a company, an NGO or a UN agency.

Which raises the importance of including those in the location where the partnership is going to be enacted, where the real work is going to be done in designing the partnership. It’s great if two CEOs agree to partner – it creates energy to make a partnership happen. But the reality for the operational people in those places is that they have full-time jobs, they have busy schedules with goals, targets, and day-to-day business challenges. But they are often the people on whom a partnership’s success actually rests. I don’t think there is enough engagement at that local level.

That is exactly right. We talk about the need to give people 
the space to make these partnerships happen because they
 take such a long time. There is a huge gap between the 
investment of time to build the partnership and any results, 
which means that traditional key performance indicators 
are not helpful. What is the incentive to try a partnership 
approach if it is going to impinge on someone’s ability to 
meet his or her short-term targets? Organisations need to 
look at individual incentives and give people the time in their day job – partnership cannot be an add-on. With time, people will be able to do their day jobs much better through partnership, but there is a lag that requires investment and support.

There is also an important issue around NGOs and their ability to collaborate and partner with each other. Businesses used to be pretty bad at working with each other but with the emergence of “pre-competitive collaboration” they are now getting much better at it. But my view is that NGOs are not
 so good at working together.

In partnership, generally you should avoid having partners that do the same thing in the
 same space – you want to have complementary resources. We did an in-depth evaluation of a partnership between a UN agency and a humanitarian NGO and there was rivalry, in terms
 of competition for resources and also reputation. In fact, both partners did have quite unique resources that they brought to the table, along with the areas where there was an overlap. A good partnering process would have identified the overlap as a potential problem area and structured the partnership to mitigate the challenge. In general, working together is something that NGOs have to get better at, despite the fight for dwindling resources. In Holland, the issue has been forced by government funding being channeled to clusters of NGOs, forcing them to collaborate.

It is true that the competition for resources and the pursuit of mission is an obstacle. I think the business community as a whole singularly fails to recognise that and expects organisations whose missions are aligned to be able to easily work together, and that is often not the case.

This is a particular challenge for companies wanting to work with the UN system. The UN is made up of an array of semi-autonomous programmes and agencies, often with some degree of overlap of mandate. At the moment, companies cannot partner with the UN as such, but rather with individual agencies, each of which have their own rules and due diligence procedures. And of course, each country agency office has its own set of priorities, and so may not be interested to partner at the country level, irrespective of an international agreement. Of course, it works the other way as well. Multi-national companies, for example, are in essence made up of multiple different businesses, each with its own set of targets and incentives, and what seems important at HQ may not be important to a Country Manager.

Let’s talk about the report that TPI has recently published that focuses on the scaling-up of development partnerships with business (Unleashing the Power of Business: A practical Roadmap to systematically engage business as a partner in development). This is designed to deal with some of the problems we have talked about. Can you tell me more about its genesis?

Over the last ten years, there has been an increasing understanding within both the development community and the business community on the interconnectedness and interdependency of business, social and environmental prosperity. This has led to a growing rhetoric, for example at Rio+20 and in the High Level Panel report on the post-2015 development agenda, on the vital need to scale up collaboration with business as an essential mechanism to achieve sustainable development.

The Roadmap came out of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Corporation – a group of donor and developing country governments, UN, World Bank and business – on which I was representing the private sector last year. The aim was to outline an approach by which countries (the government, business associations, development community) can understand the alignment of interests and develop the supporting architecture and enabling environment to systematically drive effective collaboration across the sectors. It sets out five elements: building trust across the sectors, ensuring business is part of setting country development priorities, building organisational capability to partner, creating platforms to facilitate partnerships, and measuring results.

Interestingly there is a partnership that has just been announced between Cote D’Ivoire and the nine biggest cocoa companies in the world. This is game-changing in terms of the cocoa industry, and has been a long time coming. At last the industry seems to have decided to come together and the country is supporting it. There is an awful lot riding on getting this one right and I think they should apply the model outlined in the Roadmap.

Each of the five elements can be done independently but we would like to see one or two countries commit to this in an integrated way, to genuinely see over ten years whether we
 can build the structures and capabilities to bring business into development, and change the relationship between government and business to be working together for prosperous business and prosperous societies.

25.09.2014 What is Systems thinking?

Originally posted on systemstudies:
Systems thinking is a way of viewing the world. According to systems point of view, the world is built around varying kinds of systems. How can this perspective help us view our problems in a different way and help us solve some of the most difficult issues of our time? Imagine…

24.09.2014 "Health Happens in Libraries" Continues with Second IMLS Grant

"Health Happens in Libraries" Continues with Second IMLS Grant

By Elaine Carpenter Wednesday, 24 September 2014 - 12:02pm

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded OCLC and ZeroDivide a grant to continue helping libraries support health information initiatives in their communities. In July 2013, OCLC and ZeroDivide received an IMLS grant to increase libraries’ ability to respond to customer health information needs, launching the “Health Happens in Libraries” program. IMLS is supporting an expansion of that effort. The project team, along with additional subject-matter experts, will develop additional resources for individual libraries to highlight ways they can lead or support health initiatives.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with OCLC to help libraries across the nation collaborate with community leaders, institutions and grassroot organizations to promote patient engagement while addressing barriers to eHealth equity,” commented Tessie Guillermo, ZeroDivide’s president and CEO.

“A recent IMLS study showed that an estimated 37 percent of library computer users—28 million people—use library computers and seek assistance from librarians for health and wellness issues, including learning about medical conditions, finding health care providers, and assessing health insurance options,” said IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth. “This grant will enable OCLC and ZeroDivide to explore some new directions for their work, which has already helped so many people make more informed decisions about their health care.”

As a part of “Health Happens in Libraries,” the OCLC/ZeroDivide team provided a variety of Affordable Care Act-related resources and training for library staff through WebJunction, the flagship public library program, and created a website that served as a base for a community of best practice for interested librarians. An evaluation of the project found that the activities increased library staff awareness, bolstered confidence in librarians’ ability to respond to customers’ questions, increased levels of preparedness and enhanced libraries’ existing community partnerships.

With the new funding, the project team will magnify the role of public libraries as key contributors to community health efforts, especially to reach individuals who have limited access to reliable health information.

The project also will help library staff form community partnerships to increase health-related access and services. Specifically, the project team will create guides, or “health competency pathways,” to help library staff advance health topic areas within their local communities; provide targeted support for individual public libraries to help them build relationships with local health-related organizations; promote engagement models by sharing print and multimedia case studies; and create communications tools including an infographic, audio and video interviews, and a communications guide to share relevant health information with public libraries nationwide. 

“The ‘Health Happens in Libraries’ program continues to help libraries address critical health information needs in communities across the country,” said Cathy De Rosa, OCLC Vice President for Global Marketing and the Americas. “We appreciate this generous grant from IMLS to help us build on this program to provide the support libraries need to get this vital information to library users.” 

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grantmaking, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit or follow @US_IMLS on Twitter.

About OCLC 

Founded in 1967, OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing library costs. More than 74,000 libraries in 170 countries have used OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend, preserve and manage library materials. Researchers, students, faculty, scholars, professional librarians and other information seekers use OCLC services to obtain bibliographic, abstract and full-text information when and where they need it. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the world’s largest online database for discovery of library resources. Search on the Web. For more information, visit the OCLC website.



24.09.2014 Congratulations to the Winners of the Safer Roads, Safer India Challenge!


Bangalore, India -- Four road safety entrepreneurs have been selected as winners in the innovation challenge “Safer Roads, Safer India: Game Changing Innovations that Save Lives.” Their projects were evaluated by an expert panel of judges and chosen as the top solutions from a pool of more than 80 entries that activate citizenship, improve governance to be more responsive, update infrastructure, and use technology to protect drivers, passengers, and bystanders.

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24.09.2014 Support and give hope to Village Women in Bihar

project picture
$10 — Buys enough cloth for one women for a month
$50 — Pays the salary of one teacher for one month
$150 — Buys one hand operated sewing machine

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Bihar is a state in the North of India. If it were a country it would be the sixth poorest in the world. Women in village communities have a low social status and often suffer social isolation.

Project Needs and Beneficiaries
The Trust runs 3 sewing centres in our project villages, but we urgently need new sewing machines and equipment to keep these centres open. They each provide a supportive environment and training in sewing skills to up to 40 women and young girls at any one centre. When a certain skill level has been reached the women can apply for an interest free loan to buy a sewing machine which provides a very important source of income.

This project brings women whom have no voice together in supportive companionship whilst they learn a skill which can give them financial independence. Through the centre the women often become empowered in other ways, standing up to physical abuse.

Potential Long Term Impact
We work in areas of great poverty where sometimes it is difficult for people to see hope. Women can be terribly isolated often with no one to turn to for help or support. This project brings women together and gives them new found strength and hope.

Project Sponsor: People First Educational Charitable Trust
Theme: Women and Girls | Location: India
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$2,500
Project #18370 on

23.09.2014 Essays: Oxford for Impact Project

The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship works across the University of Oxford to catalyze and support faculty and their respective doctoral students who are conducting research around the world in key issue areas of interest to the Centre and to the work of social entrepreneurs. To this end, the Centre has two major initiatives: the Skoll […]

23.09.2014 ZeroDivide Team Members Are Finalists In RWJF Plan Choice Challenge

ZeroDivide Team Members Are Finalists In RWJF Plan Choice Challenge

By Staff Tuesday, 23 September 2014 - 2:06pm

Yesterday at the Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced that the team that includes three of our staff members, Vanessa Mason, Frieda McAlear and Rick Johnson, has been selected as one of five semi-finalists for the RWJF Plan Choice Challenge. Now they will advance to Phase II, the final round in the challenge, and will receive a $5,000 grant. 


Earlier this month, we wrote a blog about their second-place win at the Lifestyle, Health and Wellness Startup Weekend at Impact Hub for their health insurance shopping app, ultimately intended for the RWJF Plan Choice Challenge.


Their knowledge and experience in the eHealth sector enabled them to develop a prototype that would yield a better, easier and less confusing health insurance shopping experience. The mobile app was submitted to the RWJF Plan Choice Challenge on August 18th.


The RWJF Plan Choice Challenge asked participants to create a health insurance shopping app that allows users to compare the prices, features and ratings of various health insurance plans and make a more informed decision when choosing health insurance.


Stay tuned—Phase II winners will be announced in February 2015!



23.09.2014 Bren Smith is on the Front Line of the Crisis

photo and video via

CNN Columnist John D. Sutter joined 2014 Echoing Green Climate Fellow Bren Smith on his eighty-four mile journey from his ocean farm in Connecticut to Manhattan—in his 1983 workboat—to participate in this past weekend's People's Climate March. The feature video and editorial chronicling the trip reveal why Bren is so passionate about his work, and why he sees climate change as everyone's issue:

Three days after Sandy hit, he told me, he got online and started researching alternative methods of oyster cultivation—and new crops to "farm" in the ocean. He came upon the work of Charles Yarish, a professor at the University of Connecticut who studies seaweed cultivation. Yarish helped Bren devise a system, Bren told me, to grow kelp underwater in vertical columns, attached to buoys on the surface.

He calls the result a "3-D ocean farm"—almost invisible from the surface, but capable of producing 10 tons of seaweed per acre per year, along with oysters, clams and mussels, some of which attach themselves to the towers of kelp. This vertical farming method might help prevent his entire operation from being wiped out if another storm swept through, pushing mud across the floor of Long Island Sound.

As part of a nonprofit called GreenWave, he's trying to help spread this idea to other "ocean farmers" by open-sourcing the model and teaching what he knows.

Read the full editorial on

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