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

09.02.2016 5 Pathways to Sustainable Leadership

Alexandria Lee '14, founder of The Anew School. Photo courtesy of The Anew School.

Echoing Green President Cheryl L. Dorsey authored this article for The Tory Burch Foundation's Expert Advice series. Read an excerpt below or view the full article here.

At Echoing Green, we often talk about how the social entrepreneurs we support are “in it” for the long haul. Their commitment to doing the hard work is an illustration of the lifelong leadership required to bring about dramatic and lasting social change.

No doubt, there are common qualities true leaders have that help them inspire people to support them in their work or passion. That support – the ability to learn from and lean on others – is what allows leaders to stay in the game. I personally learned this lesson when I started an organization with my friend and mentor, Dr. Nancy Oriol. In 1992, I received a Fellowship from Echoing Green which not only enabled us to launch The Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston, but also introduced me to a community of social justice leaders. Visionaries like Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union, Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, and Priya Haji, a serial social entrepreneur who understood her leadership so profoundly, each have taught me an immeasurable amount about what it takes to create the world we want to see.

These women, and others among my community of social entrepreneur Fellows, helped shed light on my path as a leader (and still do today). Strong and sustainable leadership is about evolving – keep the best parts of yourself while remaining open to change, personally and professionally.

Five Lessons Learned


 Establish a community of leaders – and contribute!

Whether you join a formal community of leaders committed and passionate about their own projects or establish your own, be part of a group of people who will fortify your leadership. Community is key – it’s an interconnected space that energizes you. I learned from my relationship with Dr. Nancy Oriol that a mentor can be your peer. In a humbling exchange, she once said she had learned as much from me as I had from her. I realized in that moment that mentorship comes from all angles – I’m just as likely to learn from a young social entrepreneur starting their first venture as I could from a seasoned impact investor in Silicon Valley because I’m open to hearing their wisdom and sharing my own.

 Your background is an asset – use it

Use what you’ve got to get what you need. Prepare yourself to hear your own wisdom –you often already have the tools that will lead you to the answer you need. Laura Weidman Powers, a 2013 Echoing Green Fellow and co-founder of CODE2040 worked for tech startups for years and saw the disparity in representation of blacks and Latinos in those spaces. She drew on this experience to help map out a program model that flips the script on the structural barriers to inclusion for these groups. Now, CODE2040 is a leading organization working to cultivate the talent of emerging and underrepresented talent. Starting with your own experiences and understanding of a space is one of the best ways to make a difference.


As leaders, often you find yourself at the front. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look around to understand what else is happening in other lanes. Be open to alternative avenues to addressing the problem you’re committed to solving. Alexandria Lee, a 2014 Echoing Green Fellow, is working to provide unparalleled academic and socio-emotional training to African American boys who have been labeled “at-risk.” Though her first school site fell through, she knew she still had a good idea on her hands. Instead of trying the same route, Alex developed a new partnership (Ember Charter School) to merge The Anew School with TFOA Charter School, an existing school (led by 2007 Echoing Green Fellow Rafiq Kalam Id-Din). And it’s not just Alexandria who will benefit from the partnership – the presence and focus of her vision will contribute to and strengthen TFOA’s wonderful existing community.

 Continue reading this article on

Related Posts 

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09.02.2016 ZIka Hackathon Hong Kong

From Makerbay:

The international community is looking at ways to prevent Zika Virus from spreading. Join an international group of makers / hackers / scientists / citizen scientists that are trying to develop innovative measures against Zika at MakerBay, Hong Kong...[more]

09.02.2016 Bio Nano & #Nanotechnology

From Autodesk:

Autodesk' BioNano Work
What could happen when the future of making things gets shrunk down to nanoscale? What kind of shapes could be created? What new kinds of techniques could be used to fight disease?
Posted by Autodesk on Monday, February 8, 2016

09.02.2016 Africa Internet Group set to become continent’s first ‘unicorn’

In the FT:
Africa Internet Group is set to become the continent’s first “unicorn” after securing an investment valuing the ecommerce group at more than $1bn...[more]

09.02.2016 Building a Luxury Line

Leila Janah founder of Samasource writes:
...At Laxmi, we wanted none of that. We decided to form a new brand dedicated to a deeper, more positive luxury oriented around social good and ingredients that are better for our consumers and for the world.

But my research helped me realize that while mass-production is certainly true of some brands, especially those in the new “Masstige” category (mass-produced offshoots of a designer’s main line, often produced in a very different setting than true luxury items), it’s not true of many of the great luxury brands, still produced artisinally. We still have much to learn from them.

Goyard and Bottega Venetta craft each of their bags by hand, and guarantee every aspect of their product’s quality. A saleswoman at Bottega, where I went to learn about different fabrication techniques, told me that the mark’s signature woven leather bag is durable enough to be used to transport several heavy laptops at a time without showing signs of wear (a feat that would kill most handbags).

So what imbues a product with luxury? What makes it special enough to warrant paying more for? I distilled my answer into four Ps: Provenance, Properties, Presentation, and the Public. Luxury products need to differentiate across each of the four Ps to create more value from customers and warrant a higher price...[more]

08.02.2016 A Bitter Cup of Tea


If you want a clean conscience, you might want to think twice before pouring that cup of English Breakfast tea.

Even after a BBC exposé of tea plantations in Northeast India forced tea brands to address issues within their supply chains, a living wage remains a pipedream for the majority of India’s tea laborers.

The investigation, broadcast last September, revealed a litany of health, labor, and human rights violations on plantations owned by two of the world’s largest tea producers, McLeod Russel and Assam Co.

The report’s findings raised questions about the validity of ethical certifications and put pressure on the United Kingdom’s largest tea brands to improve the sourcing of their tea.

Tea brands responded to the report in haste, with three of the UK’s most popular tea brands – Twinings, Yorkshire Tea, and Fortnum and Mason – suspending business with Assam Co. until it improved conditions on its estates.

The ethical certification organization Rainforest Alliance, which had certified all of the estates in the investigation, stripped several of Assam’s estates of its green frog seal - an indicator of socially and environmentally conscious practices - and added the provisions of adequate housing, water supply, and sanitation to its auditing criteria.

The response was quick but skirted the root of the problem, according to labor organization Centre for Workers’ Management. Traders and tea brands, it claims, aren’t paying plantations a fair price for their tea, driving plantations to skimp on wages and equipment for their laborers.

A few powerful global corporations dominate the buying and retail side of the tea market, according to the labor group’s 2013 report, Brewing Misery. The corporations manipulate leaf prices and concentrate profits upstream in the supply chain, leaving the plantations at the bottom of the supply chain reluctant to expend even a modest amount on their employees.

The lopsided supply chain lets tea buyers pay low prices for high quality tea and encourages plantations to pay their workers next to nothing, according to the report.

Although plantations in the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu sell their leaves for a higher price than plantations in the northern state of West Bengal, tea auctions fetch nearly 40 percent more for the higher-quality northern tea, according to statistics provided by Tea Board of India.

This paradox reflects two major market failures: The lack of competition among tea brands and auction houses and a dearth of non-tea-related jobs in Northeast India’s tea-growing regions.

Assam and the northern region of West Bengal – home of the Darjeeling hills, the Terai plains, and the Daoors foothills – were sparsely populated regions of India until the mid-19th century, when the Assam Co. began transporting laborers to the region to work on the fields of its expanding tea empire.

With few options for better-paying jobs in the remote northern region, tea laborers have limited clout to demand higher wages. Instead, they must accept unfavorable terms, including wage cuts for failing to meet the nearly impossible harvest quota.

Their counterparts in the more densely populated states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu not only have more sway when clamoring for higher wages; they also have the luxury of higher-paying jobs outside the tea sector. Still, wages in the south are low, and living and labor conditions are often shoddy.

Until traders and brands pay the plantations the true price of their product, ethical certification organizations, such as the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade International, have limited power to improve wages and living conditions.

After a July 2013 article in the Observer called attention to Fairtrade International’s lax standards for certifying tea estates, Fairtrade issued a statement in which it acknowledged that its wage requirements in Assam fell short of a living wage. But it argued that brands, retailers, and consumers must all pay higher prices for tea before plantations can raise wages.

Currently, Fairtrade-certified plantations in Assam must pay their employees at least the local industry wages, which, in Assam, is roughly $1.50 a day – well below the state’s minimum wage of $2.60. Tea estates justify such low pay by providing in-kind benefits and non-wage allowances, like housing, primary education, medical care, firewood, and subsidized grain. Only when these payments are monetized, tea laborers in Assam make more than the national minimum wage, according to a study on tea estate wages by Oxfam and the Ethical Tea Partnership.

But many of the estates aren’t providing these services, and the Indian government has begun to assume responsibility for the laborers’ basic needs, according to the Centre for Worker’s Management.

Life on the tea estates is so tenuous that traffickers lure girls into domestic slavery by promising a better life. The practice is so rampant in Assam that Kailash Satyarthi, winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, founded the organization Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) to track down and return these children. Satyarthi’s organization rescued 2,600 children between 2011 and 2013, but Delhi alone is believed to house more than 100,000 children living in domestic slavery, the Observer reports.

“The owners of these international tea estates don’t care for these people,” Satyarthi told the Observer. “They don’t pay them minimum wages. Forget about the decent wages. They don’t even pay survival wages.”

08.02.2016 'Our promise': Craig Redmond on how Mercy Corps is fighting climate change


Craig Redmond has been a leader with Mercy Corps for more than 15 years. Now he's helping the organization adjust to the biggest threat to the developing world: climate change.

"I want people to know that climate change disproportionately affects the poorest in the world," says Redmond, Mercy Corps' Senior Vice President of Programs. "You know that really moves us to act with real urgency. That's our obligation and that's our promise to the communities that we serve."

Since 2000, Redmond has served in a variety of leadership roles in the field, including Regional Program Director for South and Southeast Asia. Prior to Mercy Corps, he worked with the U.N. In December, Redmond hosted a public discussion on Mercy Corps’ role in fighting climate change and what’s at stake for the developing world.

Climate change affects developing nations the hardest: Poor public health, overcrowding, insufficient infrastructure and rampant poverty plague developing countries and account for 95 percent of fatalities from natural disasters in the last 25 years.

Here’s the catch: developing nations account for over 54 percent of global fossil fuel use. By 2040, they will consume 65 percent. These states need inexpensive energy to raise their citizens’ public health and socioeconomic standards.

Redmond recently sat down with Global Envision to discuss Mercy Corps and its mission in the age of climate change.

GE: Why is climate change such an important part of Mercy Corps’ mission?

CR: I think we’re going to have trouble achieving our mission if we don’t address climate change. Some of the toughest places that we work around the world are suffering disproportionately from the effects of climate change, and therefore to not take on that issue is shortsighted, and would be like not thinking about [economic] markets, or not thinking about health and hygiene. It’s one of the disciplines we have to be great at.

GE: What are some of the biggest concerns climate change poses for the developing world?

CR: Lots of research shows that underneath the issues, one of the early sparks of this or that crisis was something related to climate. The crisis in Syria, in fact. There's evidence that shows the change in rainfall patterns on farms, and the wells that did not recharge as they have in the past, forced people off farms and into cities, which helped stimulate some of the disruptions that happened there. And then you look at things like Darfur and Sudan, and this is an example of climate change affecting grazing patterns, which led to conflict. We could go on and on—climate change is present in a lot of the roots of the issues that we address.

Climate change is present in a lot of the roots of the issues that we address.

GE: How do you factor the poverty element into addressing climate change?

CR: We believe in the systems approach to what we do. In this case, the Climate Resilient Development model. You look at certain events and realize that a whole series of solutions have to be brought to bear in order to improve lives or build secure, productive, or just communities. On the question of poverty, some of the roots may be in climate change, but some of the solutions would be working on the broader resilience issues around that, including access to markets, including financial services. We’re not a single sector organization and therefore we take a systems approach and view of the problems that we address. We look at root causes when figuring out solutions.

GE: What is an example of Mercy Corps's success with the Climate Resilient Development Model?

CR: The work that we've done with the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network in Indonesia. I like the way that that program focused on resilience in secondary cities and the fastest growing urban centers in the world. We sat down with all the stakeholders, particularly government, and identified the sources of the threats and plotted out the solutions. That project had an interesting profile: We had a mandate to work closely with government and other organizations, such as research institutions, international foundations like the Rockefeller Foundation, and therefore there was a learning aspect to it, which allowed us to progress and course correct and really had all the elements that made it a great program.

GE: How will Mercy Corps transition into the stakeholder that can bring organizations together? How do you bring Mercy Corps to that next level?

CR: We have to be the organization that can, and does, have a vision for what is possible. We've done our homework, we've done our research, we know the issues, and we can create a compelling vision that will draw people and resources to the solutions. We talk about the “Three I's” at Mercy Corps: Impact, influence, and ideas. It's a matter of bringing all of those to bear on the complex issue of resilience.

We have to be the organization that can, and does, have a vision for what is possible.

GE: Developing countries account for 54 percent of global fossil fuel use – by 2040 it will be 65 percent. How do you raise wealth, while moving away from fossil fuels when it’s the infrastructure in place?

CR: We can model ways of helping to create wealth and economic stability in communities that aren't damaging to the environment. Mercy Corps on its own is unlikely to have a massive impact on 65 percent of the globe's decision to use fossil fuels or not. But, what we can do is influence the way governments move and the way communities act—we do that by modeling. We have to be out front in talking about the issues. It’s about creating political will for a positive change, and we have a role to play there.

GE: What international development problems could arise, or current issues that could be exacerbated, in the next 10 years and beyond, if climate change action falls by the wayside?

CR: I'm a believer in people's willingness to do the right thing. We have lots of evidence of this every day in the tough places that we work: people who do the right things for themselves and for their communities. At the same time, I'm extremely concerned about the political will on the highest level, to make tough decisions that will bring about the changes at the speed in which they need to happen. If you look at our world and where we're working, something tells me that the issues related to water are going to be major. A lot of people have been saying that for a long time, but it feels really even more critical than it did five years, 10 years ago. Ten years from now, we may well have that as one of our essential issues that we're trying to deal with, as an offshoot of the climate change question.

I'm extremely concerned about the political will on the highest level, to make tough decisions that will bring about the changes at the speed in which they need to happen.

GE: You mean potable water as well as sea level rise?

CR: Sea level rise is one thing, but I mean access to clean, safe water for consumption as well as agriculture. I grew up on a farm. I love asking questions of the farmers I meet all around the world, and I hear them saying that the farming practices that I was taught by my father, and his father taught him, no longer work. Nor do the seed varieties that we have. Nor do the irrigation practices that we have. Rainfall patterns have changed. I think this is a dramatic one and it’s happening faster than any of us thought.

GE: Because there are so many smallholder farmers and agrarian based communities in the developing world, right?

CR: Yes. For sure. That's why I feel so passionate, and why it’s smart for [Mercy Corps] to position ourselves around the question of resilience. So, how do we help smallholder farmers become more resilient to the effects of climate change? That's right at the heart of who we need to be.

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08.02.2016 From DIY YouTube Videos to Mechanic Master

Verve Nation reporting on Taiwo Abiri's motor repair business- 'Motomi':
image via FaceBook
He studied Economics because his sister said it was a good course, studied for MBA as advised by his parents, so as to end up in an exquisite office where he would earn a six-figure salary. But what he truly wanted was to be a motor mechanic.
More here

05.02.2016 The Heart of the Work: Why mHealth Initiative Linda Mtoto Relies On Volunteers

The Heart of the Work: Why mHealth Initiative Linda Mtoto Relies On Volunteers

Lisa Jones | February 5, 2016
How far can tech solutions to social challenges go? “To the ‘last mile’ rural communities,” says Isaac Gogo, founder of Kenya-based mobile health initiative Linda Mtoto ...

05.02.2016 5 Facts to Test your Knowledge of South America

This is the first post in a geography quiz series that will feature Kiva borrowers, partners and fellows from a specific region. Answers to quiz questions can be found at the bottom of this post.

South America is a continent with 12 countries, 385 million people and 6.9 million square miles. Find out some cool facts - and get to know a couple Kiva borrowers along the way!


Meet Avelino, a Kiva borrower from Peru. Click here to read about his success.


Kiva’s lending team, Alpacas for Altruism, has contributed to nearly 1,440 loans!

Banco do Povo Crédito Solidario, a Kiva field partner in Brazil, provides more than 90% of their loans to women borrowers.

Can you identify this country’s flag?

Read this fellow’s first-hand account of “Kiva Magic”, the moment a borrower realizes their loan connects them to dozens across the world.

Can you identify this country?

ANSWERS: 1. Alaska 2. South America 3. Rio de Janeiro 4. Ecuador 5. Peru

03.02.2016 Ranking Digital Rights

The Ranking Digital Rights initiative is important. Take a look.

Like the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Who has your back report" these efforts analyze, report on, and rank the privacy-respecting practices of corporations and online companies.

So, what about civil society?

The Foundation Center's Glasspockets effort tracks voluntary transparency practices of foundations.

But we have no  standards and no accountability for how nonprofits and foundations collect, use, and protect our personal data - whether we are acting as donors, beneficiaries, volunteers, or fee-paying customers. When I interact with a nonprofit I do so as a private person, giving my money and my time (and increasingly my data, such as a phone number, email address, and credit card number) to them to accomplish some public-facing purpose. My trust in that organization is key - to use my money, time and data wisely and in line with their mission.

The Digital Civil Society Lab and Markets For Good Initiative at Stanford is working with several partners to run the project to help nonprofits and foundations think about these practices. But - we the people - will have to be the ones to set the standards by which we can trust these organizations and hold them accountable.

03.02.2016 Commercial Availability: The Poison Pill for Marrakesh Treaty Implementation

If you can buy a book, you can’t borrow it. 

That’s the lobbying position of some companies in the intellectual property field when implementing the new Marrakesh Copyright Treaty. Marrakesh is intended to end the book famine for people who can’t read regular books because of their disability. Libraries for people who are blind or dyslexic are the primary source of accessible books in audio, large print or braille. But, some companies want to empty the library shelves and insist that only books that can’t be purchased are allowed to be stocked in such libraries. Imagine what a regular library would look like if it couldn’t stock books that could be purchased by the general public! That would pretty much defeat the purpose of having a library.

As the founder of the largest library for people who are blind or who have other significant disabilities that prevent them from reading printed texts (such as dyslexia or brain injuries), I think this is a terrible idea. Since people with disabilities tend to be the poorest of the poor, it seems odd to campaign to hobble libraries that serve only this community. Wouldn’t it make more sense to make it easier for people with disabilities to get access to the books they need for education and employment?

In this post, I hope to convincingly make the case why countries ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty should implement copyright exceptions for people with disabilities which do not have these self-clearing provisions, technically called “commercial availability limitations.” Our experience successfully building Bookshare under the United States copyright exception, which has no such commercial availability limitation, informs this strong opinion. My position rests on three pillars: the moral case, the economic case, and the practical case.

Countries implementing the Marrakesh Treaty, might benefit from hearing the experience of other countries which have already put such copyright exceptions into place. I hope they follow the lead of the great majority of these countries and allow libraries serving that community to be fully stocked with the needed accessible books!

The Bookshare Library Experience

I am the CEO of Benetech, the nonprofit organization that provides the world’s largest online collection of accessible books, for people with disabilities that interfere with reading, through our Bookshare library. Bookshare was created under the Section 121 U.S. copyright exception, which was one of the inspirations for the Marrakesh Treaty.

The Bookshare promise to American students with disabilities is that if they need a book for education, Bookshare will ensure that they have it. Under our copyright exception, we simply buy a copy of the needed print book, scan it using optical character recognition, and create an accessible ebook. These ebooks can be instantly turned into the accessible format needed by the student with a disability, such as braille, enlarged print, or our most common format, audio through a computerized synthetic voice. We don’t have to ask for permission from the publisher or author. We don’t have to research questions of commercial availability, affordability, or format availability. We simply act to ensure the person who needs an accessible book can get it.

As an organization that puts this disability-specific copyright exception into practice, I can say with confidence that the U.S. exception model works well here. We go to great lengths to ensure the digital works we provide are restricted to bona fide patrons with disabilities. Over 350,000 American patrons now download more than a million accessible books and periodicals each year!

And while the publishing industry was skittish about Bookshare’s library at first, now more than 500 publishers are our partners, directly providing over 80% of the 5,000 books we add to our collection each month. Publishers, representing the majority of top trade and educational books, have already voluntarily provided, for free, more than half of the 385,000 books in the Bookshare collection.

Together with these enlightened publisher partners, our nonprofit has been able to effectively end the book famine in the United States for people with disabilities that affect the reading of print.

The Moral Case

The Marrakesh Treaty is a human rights treaty in an intellectual property framework. Its primary goal is to end the book famine for people with disabilities, ensuring that they have access to the materials they need for education, employment, and social inclusion. Assisting the blind has been a moral imperative for societies and religions since ancient times. With the advances in publishing and technology, it is now within reach to ensure equal access to books for all.

The Marrakesh Treaty was designed to address the biggest remaining obstacle: the existing system of providing books to society did not meet the needs of people with disabilities. The commercial publishing industry isn’t selling accessible books, and the cost to obtain permissions to produce accessible editions of print books effectively discouraged the social sector from doing more than a token amount of accessible book production in the great majority of countries in the world. And thus we have a book famine, where the typical blind person in the world has no accessible books, and depends on the charity of others to read books aloud.

In the face of such denial of access to information, a copyright exception that makes it possible for the charitable sector to serve these needs makes great sense. However, saying that libraries that serve people who are blind or otherwise disabled when it comes to reading print are barred from lending books when it is possible for someone to purchase that book does not make moral sense. Why destroy the ability of libraries to serve some of the most economically disadvantaged in our communities first? This is capitalism at its least admirable. That is the essence of the moral case for a copyright exception. It enables the realization of the right to read. It has a minimal impact on the financial interests of the publishing industry. And it is within our reach.

The Economic Case

We shouldn’t put the economic interests of publishers ahead of the human rights of people with disabilities. This is especially true when the long-term economic interests of publishers are better served when potential purchasers of books have the best chance at an education and employment through access to knowledge.

Our experience in the United States has shown that economically empowered people with disabilities tend to be voracious readers and active purchasers of accessible audio books and ebooks. But that is because we have a robust copyright exception in the United States that ensures that people who are disabled have equal access to all of the books they need from accessible libraries. They are just like people without disabilities who depend on libraries if they are poor, and generally prefer to purchase books when they have the capacity.

One of the top three advocacy positions in the United States of both the National Federation of the Blind and of my organization is campaigning for greater accessibility of commercial electronic books. Our motto is “If it’s born digital, it should be born accessible!” This may seem counterintuitive: why would organizations that so strongly support a copyright exception without commercial availability limitations fight for commercial availability? Fundamentally, it’s about equality. People with disabilities should both be able to use libraries on terms similar to those of people without disabilities, and be able to purchase books that work for them. But, we strongly object to removing the safety net of an effective copyright exception in the United States while we are still early in the born accessibility campaign.

The Practical Case

Charity provision is done on a shoestring. Government funding is slim, and not available in most of the world. Rights clearance and research is expensive: it’s a big reason we don’t have the books people with disabilities need in most of the world. As Bookshare, we believe we can find money to extend the availability of our collection globally to the poor. Richer countries like the U.S., Canada, and the UK all fund our work, with a focus on serving their citizens. But these countries have no objection to helping others with the results of that work.

A key provision of the Marrakesh Treaty is easing the import and export of accessible books among countries implementing the treaty. The leverage here is ensuring that our patrons benefit from the sum of global efforts to make accessible books, rather than recreating the same titles over and over again.

This, of course, was the founding idea of our Bookshare library: scanning a book once and then making it available to all the people who need it. And we’re now making this happen in countries beyond the United States who, like India, have implemented Marrakesh without commercial limitation provisions. We now have volunteers throughout India adding local language titles such as Tamil into Bookshare.

But, in countries with a “commercial availability” limitation, it doesn’t work very well there. Charities fret about whether they might get in trouble. They don’t touch important titles, denying access to people with disabilities to the books in great demand from people without disabilities.

As Bookshare, we won’t touch the books needed in those countries. We have no effective ability to research availability and don’t want to risk our services in our home country, which is paying for over 95% of our work. We are delighted to serve books to Canadians with disabilities today, but we only serve up books where we have publisher permissions. This works well for English language titles in demand in both countries, but not for Canadian specific titles, especially in French.

Marrakesh allowed for the possibility of commercial limitation (though it does not mandate it) because a handful of countries, generally wealthy ones such as Canada, had these provisions in their domestic copyright exception, and they needed to be accommodated. But, this is a poor model for fully addressing the book famine and one that shouldn’t be emulated, especially in the international context of the Marrakesh Treaty. This is especially true of developing countries without the means to fully fund these efforts and financially accommodate publishers for the ability to serve people with these disabilities.


The language a few publishers and other intellectual property lobbyists are pushing for in the laws being devised to implement the Treaty—including the “if you can buy a book, you can’t borrow it” concept—could mean the end to libraries as we know them. It would severely undercut the traditional role libraries play in serving those who simply cannot afford to purchase books. Imagine a person using the library to do research or a school project—someone who needs to look at ten or twenty books, but doesn’t want to buy them—they’d be out of luck. And, if we start requiring people with disabilities to buy books rather than borrowing them from libraries, who’s next on the list? Ripping books out of the hands of those who need them most—whether it’s from our Bookshare library or from your local library—is simply unconscionable.

Furthermore, it doesn’t make economic or practical sense. Publishers will be better off in the long term if people with disabilities have better access to educational and economic opportunities. People with disabilities are the most logical customers for digital ebooks. We need to drive to a future where those people who can afford books easily can, and those that cannot are not denied access to this critically important content.

As your country moves to implement the Marrakesh Treaty for all the good and wonderful reasons of helping people who are blind or have other disabilities that interfere with reading print, please advocate for a copyright exception without the poison pill of limiting this law to books that cannot be purchased. If we can do that together, we will advance the cause of ending the book famine, and providing far better opportunities for people who need accessible books the most, and are least able to afford them.

03.02.2016 2016 Content Marketing for Small Businesses: Back to Basics

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

In our expert roundup to ring out the old year and bring in the new, we talked to thought leaders in the field of content marketing about their predictions for this year. Now we’re going to spend a little time parsing all that good insight into actionable plans around content marketing for small businesses. Bet on the Fundamentals: Websites and Email… read more →

The post 2016 Content Marketing for Small Businesses: Back to Basics appeared first on Return On Now.

03.02.2016 Say hi to our newest Kiva fellows class, KF 29

Hold onto your hats, Kiva just trained our 29th fellows class last week. Eighteen fellows came to town (San Francisco!) and joined us at our headquarters for a week of intense training before embarking on their assignments. We might be located in the United States but our fellows come from all over the world and this class was no different with 11 nationalities represented amongst them. This is one of the liveliest times of year in our office and we can’t help but share a few of our favorite behind-the-scenes photos. 
Bright eyed and bushy tailed at 8am on a Monday while being welcomed by our CEO Martin Tschopp.
Fellows break into regional groups for specialized training.

Our new Kiva Zip fellows have an extended Q&A with our Zip team.

The big red ball is one of our favorite icebreakers.

Fellows week is filled with many, many questions.

At the end of the week, each fellow ‘pins’ themselves to our Map Wall.
Good luck out there, KF29! Don’t forget to write :)


03.02.2016 Don't Quit Your Day Job: Use Your Time And Talent To Make An Impact

Direct Impact participants visit Echoing Green Fellow Solomon King Benge, founder of Fundi Bots, in Uganda.

A version of this article originally appeared on Forbes.

Today’s generation of young professionals don’t just want to clock in, clock out, and take home a paycheck.  They want to make a difference. Studies show that 30% of millennials say that finding meaningful work is more important than high pay, and 90% want to use their skills for good.

But, today’s diverse social impact ecosystem means that there are many ways to get engaged. For young professionals, one way to truly direct impact is to join a nonprofit as a member of the board. As a board member, these leaders have the ability to shape, strategize, strengthen, and grow organizations to ensure that they are not only doing good work, but that they are working efficiently and effectively for the greatest impact.

Similarly, organizations and social entrepreneurs need a strong board to thrive. In today’s current environment, 48% of board members say that they don’t feel that their fellow board members are engaged in the work of the board, according to a 2015 survey from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  This level of engagement is essential because the best boards will help a social entrepreneur challenge the status quo, and bring a unique and diverse set of perspectives.

But what characteristics does someone need to embody in order to best contribute to this relationship, and ultimately, to social impact? There are six guiding leadership principles that all private sector leaders should exhibit as they collaborate with nonprofit leaders. 

Personal Mission and Purpose

In order to have a personal impact on the world, it is important for leaders to first understand their own story, so they know why they do what they do. Within the first several hours of Direct Impact, Echoing Green’s experiential board leadership program, corporate leaders go deep into their past personal successes and failures to understand what is at the core who of they are, who they want to be, and the impact they want to have. Once someone develops an understanding of their story, the process to uncover a personal mission can begin. While someone may work in investment banking during the day, perhaps what’s actually most important to them is uncovering the economic barriers that formerly incarcerated individuals face upon returning home. Or someone might work in supply chain management, but are most interested in how to provide safe prescription drugs through last mile distribution.

Be Confident, Be Humble

While there is no perfect measure for extraordinary leadership, it is important for leaders to constantly work to learn more about themselves so they can adapt and regularly improve themselves. In Direct Impact, individuals take part in peer consulting and feedback, where they receive immediate and honest feedback from others in a safe space. As self-awareness develops, individuals can become increasingly confident in their ability to create impact—yet at the same time, they become increasingly humble, knowing that they cannot solve any big problems alone and that they don’t have all of the answers. They aren’t afraid to make mistakes, and when they or others do, they learn from them and move on without placing blame on anyone.

Ability to Attract and Influence Others

Beyond investing in understanding themselves, strong leaders also invest heavily in creating and sustaining strong relationships. They know how important inclusiveness is, and seek to develop relationships with CEO’s, peers, their barista, local teenagers, and everyone in between. While developing their own strong, diverse network, they begin to develop the ability to influence others. In Direct Impact, candidates go on site visits with Echoing Green Fellows and begin to see the immense networks each individual has created in their own sphere—from those most directly affected by the problem, to those with the political power to change systems, to collaborators in other fields.

Openness to Change and Disruption

Like social entrepreneurs, strong leaders know that innovative solutions are required to solve the world’s biggest problems. They know that failure should be embraced, and is required throughout every step of the change process. They are unafraid of reality, and know that facing big problems head on is more important than developing quick solutions that only solve surface level problems. When working with an organization long-term, they don’t believe in the sentiment that ‘this is how things have always been done’. Instead, they constantly disrupt, even when it goes against what they previously thought.

“This experience has affirmed that nonprofit boards today are not working as they should, and like many other industries and structures, they are ripe for disruption.  Nonprofit boards should be effectively helping the organizations and executive directors they support to not only grow and scale change, but to make sure the sustainability of the organization is at the forefront of this growth.” – Maria Brewer, RRE Ventures.

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Leaders consistently try on the perspective of others, seeking to understand how their actions or decisions might affect others. They don’t make assumptions based on the perceived backgrounds of others, but instead ask deep and honest questions and recognize and respect their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

“The site visit to [Echoing Green Fellow organization ConTextos, working in El Salvador] was motivating and powerful. It was a reminder that we cannot ignore what happens in other parts of the world, as it has a direct impact on us.” – Marion Ntiru, Citi

Strong Curiosity Fueling Desire to Learn

Leaders are intrinsically curious. They blur sector lines, are voracious learners, and go far beyond one or two sources to understand complex issues. They welcome disagreement, as they know that is where true learning begins. Each Direct Impact participant chooses to go through the intensive program because they know how important it is to learn and practice leadership and board governance in order to best serve the missions they ultimately support.

All young professionals should be thinking about how they can drive social impact. And, it doesn’t always mean quitting your job. What’s important is to identify and hone these leadership principles, and to use them as a guide to living an impact-driven life.

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03.02.2016 Underground Railroad Slave Station: Josiah White's Log Cabin

Yesterday, I visited a 'station' - a safe house along the Underground Railroad in Southern Illinois. The Josiah White Log Cabin sits behind the Cheney Mansion, as undetected as one could imagine. If you're not looking for it, you'll drive right by.

Amazingly if you Google "Cheney Mansion" there is very little mention of its role in helping the slaves. Cheney was a politician and an active abolitionist. In fact, many abolitionists lived in Jerseyville, Illinois. When Harriet Tubman was helping slaves to freedom, she needed help, she needed a network of people who believed what she did that slavery was wrong. So she helped as many slaves as she could get to freedom. "The railroad truly was the feet of the escaping slaves or a silent trip hidden under the hay of a horse-drawn supply wagon of a "conductor." If you can, imagine walking from the deep South up to freedom, the north. Think about traveling only at night where it made it harder for slave trackers to catch them. Think about the conditions Harriet Tubman and her escapees had to survive under. Surely there was rain, cold, heat, and of course the wildlife that lived in those wooded areas. How about what they ate? No one had coats, only the bare clothing on their backs the night of the slaves escape. So it was important to have a conductor and stations in which to rest in order to get to the next stop on the Underground Railroad.

"The conductor was a person who assisted the slaves in getting from one station to the next. A "station" was a code word for the next safe stop on the railroad. And this railroad ran from the south to north into Canada (the promise land or freedom). Conductors suspected or caught helping fleeing slaves, risked being fined as much as $500, as well as threat to their life, limb and property. Alton's riverfront location was a vital hub in helping slaves create connections to freedom in the north. Free blacks and hired slaves who worked on riverboats were able to spread the word about the Underground Railroad to other slaves. Because St. Louis, down river from Alton, was one of the largest slave-holding areas north of New Orleans, historians believe many slaves escaped through Illinois as it was a free state."

The Josiah White Log Cabin was considered a "safe house" -- a place in which slaves traveling to freedom to the North could rest, get a good meal, before they left out the next night towards their journey to freedom. I must admit this was a daunting experience, it left me feeling humbled and very appreciative for what the slaves went through so I could have freedom. So we could have freedom. This is the 3rd in a series of articles on various historical relevant Black History events and locations in and around the St. Louis, Missouri region. Come back each day to enjoy more! Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

02.02.2016 Raw Data - the podcast

Podcasts are in again. I know you know that.

I was recently asked by the amazing folks at Worldview Stanford, who have included me in some of their regular campus programming, to do an interview for their new podcast. So first I wanted to listen to what they were up to. I missed my bus stop I was so tuned in.

In partnership with the Cyber Initiative at Stanford the Worldview folks have put together a great series (Raw Data) on how digital data are reshaping our lives. The Uploaded episode does a better job of explaining the power of metadata than any news story I've read. I wish I'd heard the episode on "crowd work" before sending Blueprint 2016 to press. The story on bitcoin made the slightly-less-near term changes that digital data and infrastructure may have on global finance accessible, compelling, and real.

I listened to the episode on digital data and voting the day after the Iowa caucuses. I should mention I also binge watched Scandal, seasons 1- whatever. Let me put it this way - Shonda Rhimes' plotline on rigged elections was pretty darn scary in its plausibility, and its got nothing on what Mike Osborne and Leslie Chang (hosts of Raw Data) interrogate in their episode, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Data."

Each episode weaves a story from research. This is not simply a good Malcolm Gladwell article told on the air. The hosts interview scholars from multiple disciplines, visit companies, and speak with policymakers in such a way that you don't realize you've just had your mind blown by researchers in economics, law, engineering and psychology - you're just listening to a really good story. And learning a lot.

What other podcasts are you listening to?