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

05.03.2015 5 Badass Women in the Fight Against AIDS | @RED

March 8 is International Women's Day. We're celebrating by recognizing these 5 badass women in the fight against AIDS -- and proof that an AIDS FREE GENERATION is within our grasp.

Who are the badass women in your life? Tweet us @RED & let us know.

Dr. Patricia
Dr.  Patricia is a former physician at Tema General Hospital in Ghana where she treats HIV positive individuals and offers them care, support and treatment.  Dr. Patricia spends a significant amount of her time counseling and treating HIV positive mothers on how to prevent transmission of HIV from mother-to-child. Tema General Hospital receives funding for its HIV programs from the Global Fund, the recipient of (RED) funds. 

She administered the clinic’s first successful PMTCT treatment, which saw an HIV+ mother deliver an HIV free baby as a result of having access ARV medication.

Gladys is a role model for men and women living with HIV.  Through the Models of Hope program at Korle Bu Clinic, funded by (RED)-financed Global Fund grants, Gladys counsels those diagnosed with HIV and helps them to understand HIV/AIDS and the treatments available.  

Joyce is a vibrant mother of two healthy children, Mawenia and Delali, who were both born HIV-free.  “Before I start my story,” Joyce says, “people don’t believe I have HIV.”  Thanks to Joyce’s role as a public HIV/AIDS Ambassador for the Heart to Heart organization, she is able to share her story with community groups, schools, and through the media in order to spread awareness of HIV prevention and treatment and to combat stigma through changing public perception of what it means to be HIV-positive.  As Joyce puts it, “I’d rather come out and say it myself…to help reduce stigma…this is how HIV is.”

Almost 2 years ago, (RED) met Doris and her son Michael, who was born HIV-negative thanks to treatment that prevented the transmission of HIV during pregnancy.  Today, Doris is more vibrant than ever.  “Life is good to me.  Now I’m healthy…taking my drugs… I’m taking good care of myself and my boy,” she says, beaming with pride.  At the top of his class at school, it seems Michael’s future can be as bright as any mother can hope.

Rita’s HIV-positive, but her children Simon and Simona are not, thanks to treatment that prevents mother-to-child transmission of HIV.   Today, she’s as strong as ever and able to support her healthy family.  “I continue to take the drugs. It’s been three years now and I’ve never felt ill.”

05.03.2015 "You can’t teach someone to become a founder"

Mark Essien in Medium:
image via TechCabal
I am 100% convinced that the incubation model in Africa is fatally flawed as a method of creating big software companies. Of the 9 biggest software startups in Nigeria, none was built by an incubator (Konga, Wakanow, Iroko, Paga, DealDey, Jobberman, Cheki, PrivateProperty, Nairabet, Nairaland).

Of the 15 next biggest software startups after the above, the only one that came out of an incubator is BudgIt, and I’m not sure that BudgIt was properly ‘incubated’, all I know is that they used to operate from CcHub.

Incubators just don’t work, otherwise they would have produced more successful startups in Nigeria. Even Kenya and Ghana that have a stronger incubator scene have produced nothing of note...[continue reading]

04.03.2015 Ethics, data, mission and revenue

I just finished a three part series on digital values and civil society. We'll have to call this post part 3.5.

As I did so, I was (slightly) relieved to see that the Chronicle of Philanthropy raised an ethical eyebrow at the growing practice of nonprofits' selling data and digital data rights in their link to this story from The Philadelphia Inquirer.*

This is a great example of the ethical conundrums facing nonprofits in the digital age. Gather and sell people's data? Nothing new in that business model - it's been working ridiculously well for social media giants and search companies for more than a decade now (works great for data brokers also).
  • Why should or shouldn't nonprofits sell data from those they work with? 
  • When should they do it? 
  • Under what conditions? 
  • Is there any nonprofit/mission-driven special privilege or pass or encouragement we want to endorse where this practice is involved? 
  • If there are special conditions for nonprofits or mission-based businesses what are they and who's going to monitor adherence to those conditions? 
  • And if there are not special conditions for nonprofit enterprises regarding their use of this resource, why are they nonprofits?
Please consider how the logic behind your answer regarding data for pharmaceutical research (as examined in the story) extend (or not) to other types of data, because it's more than physiological information that gets shared, it's also demographic, geographic, and other identifying information.

Some data may have real public value. Since many of us gladly (unknowingly? with reservations?) exchange our data for free 2-day shipping, the exchange of data for life-saving medical breakthrough may well be worth it? How can we value these exchanges? Make them more visible? And what spectrum of rights might we want regarding how we protect and how we share our data and for what purposes?

Got an answer to these questions for your nonprofit or your foundation? Great. If so, you are way ahead of the rest of the sector, which is still writing ethical codes that ignore the value and challenges of digital data.

*In the same issue the Chronicle is running an ongoing series of "he said, she saids" about "tech for good." It's not about how many drones, how many 3D printers, or who uses bitcoin - it's about purpose, respect, accountability, and with what limits and rights we pursue digital opportunities to achieve our missions. But at least the Chronicle stories engage different viewpoints about digital - instead of acting like it's not there.

04.03.2015 A new offering and a new partnership with Mommy Measure: fundal height measure

obstetric measure | SFH | fundal height | antenatal care

We are happy to announce a new partnership with a creative U.S. based team-- the folks at Mommy Measure. Mommy Measure uses the concept of fundal height as a way to empower pregnant women in the U.S. to track one of the parameters of pregnancy-- the growing belly!

Maternova has been working with Mommy Measure to translate this device into a variation useful for antenatal care settings in lower resource settings. The obstetric measuring tape can be used by midwives to identify pregnancies that may be at higher risk.

Though not a perfect measure, the symphysis-fundal height can be used to complement other methods of tracking pregnancies. Particularly useful in the second half of pregnancy, the fundal height measures, in centimeters, the length/height from the top of the woman's public bone to the top of the uterus. This measurement actually correlates with the weeks of gestation. Thus a measurement of 22 cm is approximately indicative of a normal pregnancy at 22 weeks (plus or minus).

The fundal height measurement, according to the literature, is most useful in terms of tracking a pregnancy over time-- does the height continue to increase every two weeks and correlate with the gestational age? If dramatically off, it MAY signify a problem that needs further exploration. For example, if the fundal height were dramatically lower than expected, it might signify intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and a risk of a low birth weight baby, for which special preparations should be made. On the other hand, if fundal height were dramatically higher than expected, it might signify polyhydramnios or multiples (twins!).

Note that the literature on standards for different populations is not entirely conclusive. For example, this study delineated specific fundal height measurements for pregnant Nigerian women. The literature also notes that the metric works best when the same provider takes and records the measurement each time. Ideally, a range of measurements for the obstetric tape would be created for each local population, identifying women at the extremes.

Each midwifery society and obstetric society will likely have its own standards for fundal height measurement, and a consensus on what other measures should complement this measure. This device should not be implemented independent of consultation with national guidelines!

The other innovation on the Mommy Measure/ Maternova version is the pictographs on the reverse side ,indicating danger signs of pregnancy. A set of images can be used to indicate to expectant mothers and family members, the kinds of symptoms that require immediate attention.

04.03.2015 Land for sale? The rise of contemporary banana republics


In the Chaco region of northern Paraguay, Geronimo Arevalos' small field of tomatoes should be flourishing. But the plants are dying, coated in pesticides from a new neighbor close by: industrial farming.

Foreign-owned industrial farms have become pervasive in the developing world due to “land grabs.” Land grabs are a polarizing issue with a simple premise: A wealthy nation purchases or leases farmland in a developing nation. Unfortunately, the economic and social effects of land grabs are complex.

To Grab or Not to Grab?

A common argument supporting land grabs is that the host nation’s economy profits from the lease or sale. This income could be used by the government to improve the quality of life for all of the leasing nation’s citizens.

However, the Food and Agricultural Organization has found that the most efficient method of reducing rural poverty in a developing nation occurs when the government works with small-scale farmers to develop an agricultural industry that involves these farmers as sellers in a co-op.

In the event that a land sale or lease is beneficial to the majority, many land grabs have the potential to be reversed. Around the globe, development organizations are increasingly fighting to restore grabbed lands back to evicted former farmers. However, righting a wrong doesn’t restore devastated communities that depended on local farmers’ plots. Once big agriculture leaves one region, it simply arrives in another to begin the process of taking over small-holder farmers’ plots once again.

The Buyers

The 21st century could be characterized so far as the “century of scarcity.” Agriculture in the developed world has become expensive as land, labor and water prices soar to new heights. Rapid growth of population in most developed nations compounds these economic hurdles.

Many developed nations solve these problems by looking far from home to find cut-rate arable land and resources in developing nations a favorable currency conversion rate and lax regulations.

Great Britain, the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates and Israel are some of the heavyweight purchasers.

So how do these developed nations acquire land rights?

Developed nations “grab land” directly by purchasing or leasing. India has spent more than $4 billion leasing and purchasing land in Ethiopia. Indian-backed private companies have also purchased large plots in Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Mozambique. Many nations also purchase indirectly: Government-supported private corporations acting as fronts have bought a staggering 205 million acres of land in the developing world since 2000, according to The Economist.

The Sellers

Most landlord nations in this game of agricultural “Risk” are in Africa, Southeast Asia and South America. Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique, are among the top nations that have sold or leased their land.

Many developing nations are desperate for international investment to boost their economies, and eager world powers are hard to turn away when they flash their wallets. But, critics say, some of the governments may sell or lease land that isn't theirs--either legally or traditionally.

Rural land in developing nations is commonly passed down by families, generation to generation. Many families have been farming the same plots since before their nation’s borders were drawn.

Smallholder farmers often don’t have formal claim to their land. Almost all of sub-Saharan African land is untitled, meanign they have no official paper to show they own it. The result is that desperately poor subsistence farmers are being exiled, sometimes overnight, from their ancestral lands in order to make way for mega-farms.

A recent sampling estimated that 30 percent of the lands leased or sold in developing nations are disputed indigenous and locally claimed lands.

The Local Problem

Most of the poorest citizens in developing nations -- an estimated 2.5 billion people -- are small-scale farmers. These farmers are commonly forced from their land without compensation for their lost livelihoods and homes. Homelessness and unemployment become their daily concerns.

As Tim Hanstad, CEO of Seattle-based Landesa, emphasizes, “Landlessness is the best predictor of poverty.”

To make matters worse, many farms in the developing world are worked collectively by multiple families; a loss of such a collective plot can wipe out an entire village’s livelihood. When a critical mass of farmers in a region become unemployed, entire communities can fold as local businesses’ client bases dry up, explains The Guardian.

For the farmers lucky enough to retain control of their land, herbicide drift from surrounding corporate farms can wither their crops, such as Geronimo Arevalos’, and poison their groundwater, leading to devastating health problems.

The National Problem

In the past, private foreign investment in the agriculture sector had the happy effect of raising a developing nation’s economy. Farmers would typically move up the economic ladder from farming to manufacturing, since a corporate crop provided jobs as well as fostered competing production by the host nation’s local corporations. No longer says The Economist. Instead of boosting the global economy, these land grabs are purely for hoarding grain for the investing nation.

Land grabs are also sparking violence between the government and evicted locals. Thousands from Ethiopia’s most remote tribes were forcibly displaced from the Lower Omo valley in 2013 to make space for a dam, built to irrigate a private Malaysian investor’s crops. Protesters were given lengthy prison sentences and sometimes murdered by Ethiopian soldiers.

Remember This

So far, the 21st century has had an explosion of banana republic-style economic imperialism. Unless the land grabbing nations rethink this practice, small-plot subsistence farmers like Geronimo may face the end of their way of life.


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04.03.2015 Corporate irresponsibility causes health epidemics in Nicaragua and Boliva


The backbreaking labor in Nicaragua’s sugar cane fields is fueling a debate on who is responsible for workers’ health. Time and time again, corporations have prevailed and employees are left to live with debilitating diseases on their own.

In Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Americas, workers spend up to 14 hours a day chopping down heavy stalks of cane, earning a meager 86 cents per ton. Although workers push on through the six-month long harvest season, and in 98 degree heat, many are falling ill with chronic kidney disease.

In the past two decades alone, an estimated 20,000 people have died from chronic kidney disease in Central America.

La Isla Foundation, an international research and policy organization, has stepped in. In partnership with universities and lawyers, the foundation is currently researching the links between chronic kidney disease, labor conditions, and agrochemicals used at Ingenio San Antonio (ISA), the largest sugar mill in Nicaragua.

“I was healthy when I started working for the company and sick when they got rid of me...Every family here has lost someone, the work is making us sick, but there are no alternatives...We are all dying from it, it’s a total epidemic,” explained Walter, a 32-year-old who works alongside 13 of his relatives in the sugar cane fields of ISA.

In Walter’s hometown, 70 percent of men have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and 2,800 to 3,500 have died in the past decade. The majority of these men worked on the sugar cane plantation in Chichigalpa, earning the town a grim nickname: “La isla de las viudas,” or “The island of widows.

News of the plight of sugar cane workers in Nicaragua is spreading fast. In January of this year, National Geographic, released a moving documentary, capturing the lives of those affected by the disease. However, companies like ISA have not taken responsibility for the health costs endured by their previous workers, the growing number of widows, or for improving their working conditions.

Prior to last year’s harvest season at ISA, Walter met with a company doctor to ensure he was fit for the grueling work. When his blood test revealed the beginning of kidney dysfunction, Walter was immediately dismissed, despite 11 years with the plantation. The doctor did not provide a follow-up exam, leaving Walter on his own to face the lethal condition.

Without other job opportunities, many sick workers in Chichigalpa continue to work under ISA subcontractors, using fake IDs.

“Almost all 50 cutters on my team have the disease and are using false IDs,” Walter said. “Of course the company knows, they see us working in the fields. The ‘ghost teams’ are an open secret.”

Although the root cause of chronic kidney disease is undetermined, research featured in MEDICC review, has linked the disease to occupational conditions such as prolonged exposure to heat and dehydration.

In Nicaragua, the national health care system recognizes the disease as occupational. However, in order to qualify for disability or specialist care, a worker must prove they contracted the disease while working.

Unfortunately for Walter, and other sugar cane workers, ISA does not provide medical records following the company doctor’s diagnosis.

“The company cannot compensate for something that it has not caused,” an ISA spokesman told The Guardian. Instead, the company discussed its corporate social responsibility model including impressive donations to local medical facilities, schools and various infrastructure projects.

However, the solution to this problem goes far beyond corporate social responsibility. An overall lack of alternative job opportunities results in workers who are less likely to complain about conditions, are unable to shift jobs when it is affecting their health, and often migrate from rural to urban areas. This leaves companies with the upper hand and little incentive to meet workers needs.

At the Cerro Rico mine in Bolivia, or “the mountain that eats men”, the situation is not much different. There are 15,000 miners who work in the mountain’s dangerous, high altitude and dark tunnels, facing the risk of death everyday.

Silicosis, an incurable lung disease, has become an inevitable fate for workers in the Cerro Rico mine. Much like the plight of cane cutters in Nicaragua, workers continue to enter the mine everyday in order to support their families.

After years of slave-like labor, management over the mine was put into the hands of several mining cooperatives, typically owned by families or small groups. Despite having a strong political presence, the majority of the employees have little to no say in its operation. The result has been a complete breakdown of working conditions. Without regulation, the basic safety measures have disappeared, and children as young as 6 have been reported working in the mine. 

Alongside La Isla Foundation, there are other organizations such as the International Labor Rights Forum, addressing the ability of workers, like those in the Cerro Rico mine, to advocate for better working conditions.

Yet a common thread in both these stories is the lack of decent job alternatives. The International Labor Organization (ILO) is tackling this deficit through programs that grow individuals’ skill sets for employability as well as support vulnerable populations in rural entrepreneurship ventures. In Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, ILO provided training for 2,900 female entrepreneurs. The result? One new business had been created for every two participants.

Taking these various strategies into account, addressing corporate irresponsibility may be most effective through a comprehensive approach. Empowering miners and sugar cane workers alike with alternate job opportunities, scientific knowledge, and a platform for advocacy will get them one step closer to a dignified livelihood they deserve. 

Miners in Bolivia. Photo: Jenny Mealing (Flickr)

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04.03.2015 West African Food Stops

Building on the African food emerging meme.Experience Nigeria at Patina in Morrisania, the Bronx. The NYTimes reports:
Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times
“You don’t eat, we fight,” said the woman who had brought out the heaping platter, hands on hips. Then she leaned forward and gently folded up the ends of my sweater sleeves, which were drooping dangerously close to the food. “So they don’t get dirty,” she said, before disappearing into the kitchen.

It can be an intimate, if slightly disorienting, experience dining at Patina, a very small West African restaurant that opened two and a half years ago in Morrisania, in the Bronx. The name — derived from that of the owner and chef, Tina Amalime, known as Lady T — is posted in the windows, which are sometimes still partly covered by steel shutters, even when the “Open” sign is lit. On the awning, the title is simply African Restaurant, alongside a promise of African, American and Caribbean cuisine...[continue reading]
Francis Lam on Ghana's Spicy Spinach Stew:
Grant Cornett for The New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Theo Vamvounakis.
I thought I would talk with Samuel Obeng about the smoky spinach stew the chefs serve at his Bronx restaurant, Papaye, but he steered the conversation toward weightier matters. “I want to set up an African cultural center here in the Bronx,” he told me. “In Manhattan, they have a museum about sex! So why can’t I have an African museum? We can teach our kids how people back in Ghana dress, how they talk. We can teach our kids how to drum.”
More here

And for your food tutorials Yetunde “Yeti” Ezeanii's AfrofoodTV:

Bean dishes form a sizable part of African cuisine. MoinMoin is a savory bean cake of Nigerian origin and is typically served as a side dish with staples or can be eaten alone. This dish shows the ingenuity of African cuisine. It is healthy and delicious.

03.03.2015 Rang De Impact Confluence 2015: An update

No name could have been more apt for the just concluded meet of our impact partners’ than the name we conceived it with. It was a confluence of the best minds in the impact space, a sharing of values and a rekindling of the spirit to work towards holistic development in India. Stalwarts in the social development space such as Rajendra Joshi of Saath and Stan Thekaekera of Just Change were in attendance; their humility and dedication really bowled us over. The meet also brought together all our impact partners – ‘the real heroes’,  as we call them, our board members, our social investors and the entire Rang De team.… Read further

03.03.2015 Values Aligned Technology

I've been thinking a lot about values, society, and technological design. I'm trying to articulate what, when, and how the values that shape civil society should be expressed with and within technology. What I do know is that it's not just at the point of use. We need tools that default to the values we care about, not just those that serve the company that built the tool or the government that regulates its use. We can't continue to duct-tape our tech tools into our social sector work or political protest.

So far, most of what I've read about this, and the thinking I participated in at the Ethics of Data Conference, talks about ethical decision making across the data lifecycle. This is an important start. But it doesn't seem to start early enough in the tech/data development process. The values of the end user and the end uses need to be designed into the tools from the beginning.

Think about this. In civil society, for example, voluntary participation is not just a key value, it's a defining premise of the sector. In the tech world, the idea of voluntary participation translates into "opting in" (or more often, "opting out") This is usually managed through a deliberately opaque "consent process," which really doesn't describe what's happening if you are barred from the service if you don't sign on. That's not voluntary or consent-driven engagement, that's force.

Civil society should be thinking about processes and using tools that require informed consent and provide the informing. Active consent. What I recently called "Gung ho consent, with an opportunity to stop consenting at any point." As data collection becomes part of everything we use ethicists are already thinking "beyond consent."  As new technological infrastructures like the blockchain come along, there's a pressing opportunity to consider the values that shape them and how civil society can shape their use. And if an individual doesn't want to consent to your data collection processes, do you really want to cut him or her off from your food bank, homeless shelter, museum exhibit or vaccination? In the interest of the greater good, do we really want access to core services to depend on someone's consent to an organization's data processes? That's not what I call voluntary.

When it comes to new technologies or applications of technologies we don't need to go through the pendulum swing of "exuberant hype, omnipresent use, creeping doubt" that has become familiar courtesy of search engine data collection, social media data exhaust, peer to peer car sharing "God views," and wearables that creep us out. There are other approaches.

One way to think about this is to think of tech and data design like we think of electoral district boundary setting. It may not seem as sexy as running for office, but boy does it matter. Gerrymander the district lines and you exert a lot of control over who runs and who wins. Over time and across place how these lines are drawn can come to matter at the macro level - such as the makeup of the US House of Representatives - a body which can ultimately have global influence. All because of how the lines were drawn.

Design defaults in hardware and software are as value-laden as district boundaries. What stays in, what gets collected, what gets stored and where - these decisions nudge our behaviors, at the individual level and at the macro level.

It may seem tough to align our values with the design principles that shape our technologies, but it can be done - on both the supply side and the demand side. The Responsible Data Forum is one example of a "supply-side" approach to tools like this - designing tools with and for communities of activists so that the technological defaults are those of the communities. On the demand side - we as individuals (consumers) - also have power. As Dan Gillmor, a noted tech journalist says, when he chooses tools he wants to put his faith in the values of a community not in a company. If all of civil society thought this way it would dramatically shift the power dynamic between the user of a tech device, the person whose data is being stored in/captured by the device, the device itself, and the designers of the code and hardware. Users would understand what the devices were doing, the device would default to users' choices, and the world of choice in devices would expand.

Bringing these values to bear in the design and development of data processes or new tech tools isn't easy. I was inspired (somewhat ironically) by an observation about how the role of industrial design has changed tech innovation, courtesy of Jony Ive at Apple. In a 2015 New Yorker profile of the company's lead designer, Ian Barker writes:
"Typically, Robert Brunner explained, design had been “a vertical stripe in the chain of events” in a product’s delivery; at Apple, it became “a long horizontal stripe, where design is part of every conversation.”
This is how we need to think about societal values and technology devices. Something that is considered throughout the technology creation process. Not the values of the device makers but the values of the end users and the sector in which the tools will be used. That would lead to technology that serves us, not situations where we need to jury-rig the tools for our ends. Values aligned technology - something to aspire to, especially as digital sensors and networked connectivity become part and parcel of everything.

This is part three of three in a series on digital values and civil society. Part one is here and part two is here.

03.03.2015 Education's Digital Revolution in the Developing World


The 21st century’s educational foundation isn’t a pile of books--it’s a jumble of fiber optic cables. Library For All is using those cables to stream a digital library to Haiti, helping school children jump-start their education.

Library For All is a small organization by any standard; a staff of nine work on the top floor of a small, brick office building--the kind of office that gets swallowed up in the glittering gray glass-and-steel skyscrapers of New York City. However, the organization’s real work is 1,534 miles away, in Gressier, Haiti.

Gressier is a small, dusty coastal town 14 miles west of Port-au-Prince, and just two miles east of the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti. Like many nearby towns, almost half of Gressier’s buildings were shaken to tangled rubble on that Jan. 12 afternoon. It was at a small school filled with former child slaves and orphans, that Library For All began its mission to educate developing nations’ youth, using mobile technology and digital libraries.

Library For All strives to provide a rounded educational archive for young users. The digital library holds “linguistically and culturally relevant texts for students living in poverty in developing communities,” as well as standard core educational texts, such as textbooks of math, science, and literature.

Library For All's Beginnings

Library For All was founded in early 2012 as the brainchild of Rebecca McDonald and Tanyella Evans. McDonald had moved to Haiti to help rebuild after the 2010 earthquake, and Evans had spent a year in Uganda teaching children.

Rebecca McDonald quickly noticed a theme when she peered into classrooms in Haiti; most schools had only a small stack of books for the students to share. She mulled over how to make texts accessible in similar classrooms around the developing world. McDonald and Evans realized that the digital library could be part of the solution.

But funding an education revolution is expensive work.

Library For All grew quickly, building partnerships with the Mobile Alliance for Global Good, Global Campaign for Education, and the NYU Stern School of Business. Partners provide funding, as well as donate digital content; they see the importance of Library For All’s goal and ensure it has the resources for growth that many startups lack.

McDonald and Evans set their sights high this year and competed against a host of other organizations in the Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge for a share of the $3 million pot. In January, they split 1st place with seven other projects and took home $265,000.

Why It's a Game Changer

Library For All recognized that technology has already begun to transform education in the developed world. Tablets and laptops are becoming standard classroom fixtures in schools, from which students stream books and lessons. However the people that desperately need innovation in education are in the developing world.

Library For All’s magic is that the digital archive solves the overwhelming task of procuring, transporting, and maintaining educational texts in developing countries. To solve that problem, Library For All uses a “device-agnostic” cloud that is compatible with any of Google’s android devices; cell phone, tablet, computer or otherwise. A low bandwidth internet connection paired with a pre-installed app ensures that these devices work in internet-poor regions.

But digital reading devices are expensive. Through Library For All, schools can register to have their mobile devices sponsored. Fortunately, mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous in the developing world; of the 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion own a mobile phone.

Similar Initiatives in Development

The UN champions youth education as one of the most important areas for focusing on development.  Youth education has a long-term uplifting effect on every aspect of society. If every student in low income countries learned basic reading skills, according to the UN, 171 million people could escape the rut of poverty, resulting in a 12 percent reduction in poverty worldwide.

Library For All is not the only organization to see the light of the digital cloud. Across the world, digital libraries are streaming into the hands of school children as giants of international development throw their weight behind this issue.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative have been huge proponents of the digital library movement, sponsoring the Access to Learning Award (ATLA) and the prolific World Reader, respectively.

On a smaller scale, startups such as Librii plan to take the digital library field one step further, opening small libraries throughout Africa in shipping containers stocked with modified low-bandwidth computers that access a digital library.

Library For All's Future

Library For All is poised to sprout hundreds of enriched minds in Haiti, educated young people  who will go on to increase the standard of living for thousands more. Education, in short, is exponential. By equipping their library a with both culturally relevant and core educational texts, Library For All ensures children receive a comprehensive education network that is specially designed to be streamed directly to their portable reading devices, wherever they are.

The internet is a tide that raises all boats of knowledge. Library For All’s digital library is now streaming the flow of information to children in Haiti, but they are not even close to being done. “We want to reach 5 million kids by the end of 2017,” says McDonald. “We’re crazy ambitious.”

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03.03.2015 iLab Liberia's Revolution Project

Disrupt Africa reports:
Liberian tech incubator iLab, along with its partners Business Start-up Center (BSC) Monrovia and SPARK, has invited stakeholders to join the Liberia IT Revolution Project, a two-year initiative to boost the IT ecosystem in Liberia by nurturing and motivating startups.

iLab Liberia and its partners, with the support of Swedish International Development Aid (SIDA) and Mercy Corps, are looking to identify creative solutions in mobile and internet technologies, software and web development, and link them to market opportunities.

“The project strengthens the Liberian IT sector, creates a vibrant entrepreneurial culture amongst IT businesses and entrepreneurs, increases the growth potential for businesses,” iLab Liberia said.
More here

02.03.2015 How Dow, Novo Nordisk and Others Own Their Indirect Impacts

Flickr image by Brent Flanders

Our recently released research See Change: How Transparency Drives Performance proposes a solution to the stalled state of sustainability reporting and transparency. See Change highlights three key elements that must be addressed in order to gain the most value from transparency and reporting efforts: materiality, valuation of externalities and integration. This is the second in a three-part series, which was originally published on GreenBiz, to explore those elements.

In the first article in this series, we explored how materiality enables companies to focus their transparency efforts and leverage the value of sustainability reporting. The second important element of transparency is valuation of externalities. After identifying and prioritizing the most material issues, companies should account for externalities: the unintended indirect consequences associated with an economic activity for which the costs have not been accounted.

Valuing externalities, such as the full cost of GHG emissions or the upstream environmental benefits of choosing a recycled material, allows a company to understand and present a comprehensive picture of its role in society and the environment.

Despite a dependence on services and resources provided by society and the environment such as access to fresh water, clean air, pollination of crops and thriving communities, to date companies have not yet had to formally recognize — much less account for — those externalities.

Even indirect impacts can be significant
Although there is little incentive to account for indirect impacts associated with good soil health, paying a living wage or switching to recycled materials, for example, a number of drivers including resource scarcity, stakeholder expectations and reporting guidance (such as the IIRC’s Integrated Reporting Framework) are prompting companies to review their indirect impacts.

As a result, this type of evaluation can help companies make more informed decisions, improve performance and thrive within environmental limits. A recent Globescan/SustainAbility survey explores ways to do this.

The good news is that an increasing number of companies have begun evaluating their externalities and using the information to inform their decisions.

For example, the Dow Chemical Company has been assessing some of the indirect impacts associated with its largest manufacturing plant in Freeport, Texas. Dow worked with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to explore options to improve air quality near its facility. Dow sought to demonstrate that planting trees could be a viable and cost effective complement to conventional air filtration systems such as “scrubbers” on smokestacks. Through modeling, Dow and TNC found that reforestation indeed could be a cost-effective air quality strategy compared to additional conventional control technology.

While the two approaches had similar implementation costs, reforestation had additional benefits: restoration of wildlife habitat, provision of recreational opportunities and carbon storage provided by the trees. “This could be a cost-effective alternative to pollution control devices, which has a potentially big impact for Dow, TNC and beyond. This natural infrastructure solution could be very scalable so the impacts could be quite meaningful,” Glenn Prickett, Chief External Affairs Officer at TNC, noted.

Other companies such as Puma, Kering and Novo Nordisk have produced Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) statements to identify where in the value chain the most significant indirect impacts occur and better account for them.

Novo Nordisk examines the value chain
More specifically, Novo Nordisk worked with the Danish Ministry of the Environment to assess the environmental impacts along its value chain. The EP&L revealed that Novo Nordisk’s total environmental impacts amount to $252.33 million, with $38.47 million in water use, $193.49 million in GHG emissions and $20.37 million in air pollution.

The majority (75 percent) of impacts occur in the raw material extraction phase and in the final product phase and are caused by GHG emissions. Anne Gadegaard, program director of Corporate Sustainability at Novo Nordisk, oversaw the EP&L process and noted that the process “has given us data in a way that we have never had before. We will use that as part of the review of the environmental strategy this year.”

Improving transparency
Meanwhile, a number of companies have different approaches to increasing transparency on relevant externalities.

Disney, Google and Shell are using shadow pricing, an estimated price of a good or service where the market price doesn’t reflect the full cost, to better account for the indirect impacts associated with GHG emissions.

Natura is tracking the environmental impacts of its suppliers and using this information to inform with whom the company will work.

The Crown Estate is measuring its Total Contribution to the economy, society and environment.

JetBlue evaluated the importance of the Caribbean’s natural ecosystems (PDF) to its vacation-seeking customers and therefore its profitability.

Reduced risks, lowered costs, enhanced brand equity and increased growth are just some benefits that companies receive from this type of valuation. Ultimately, the valuation of externalities can reveal unseen, yet significant impacts that spur a company to explore its fundamental business model and potential innovations.

Despite these benefits, suddenly putting a price tag on every element of society and the environment is neither practical nor necessarily even desirable. As journalist George Monbiot pointed out, applying the same economic approach to solving the problem as the one that created it is a road to ruin.

And yet we are reaching a tipping point where these issues, which carry real costs, will need to be accounted for soon. This type of valuation acknowledges impacts in a market that currently fails to fully account for them.

3 steps to better evaluating externalities
Companies can evaluate their externalities and use the information they’ve gathered to inform decisions by following the guidance in SustainAbility’s See Change report.

  1. Explore indirect and unaccounted-for impacts associated with material issues and consider engaging a partner organization or existing coalition with access to tools and methodologies for valuing externalities.
  2. Identify one or two material issues to pilot valuation approaches and assess the externalities, positive and negative, associated with each issue.
  3. Use the results of the valuation to inform existing corporate strategy as well as internal stakeholders and consider sharing the results publicly to foster evolution in the field.

We expect to see increased attention to externalities valuation in the near future — from value chain approaches that assess impacts, improved valuation methodologies and more effective incentives and regulations on reporting and disclosure — especially in sectors heavily dependent on natural capital such as agriculture, forestry, mining and energy. Greater incentives and regulations, as well as more companies embracing this approach, will make the valuation of externalities a far more common practice.

02.03.2015 Global Ideas News Brief


Food security

Food Riots Are Coming: Here's Where
As food prices rise, people get very, very angry.

Wanted: innovative ideas on how to feed nine billion people
The Guardian
To produce 60 percent more food by 2050 we need to break down the silos. Innovation will only come from a diversity of voices, says UN food security chair

I had a farm in Africa
The Economist
South Africa takes a populist turn on land reform

Food Waste Grows With the Middle Class
Massive food waste by humanity is an undisputed fact documented daily in tons of discarded scrapings from dinner plates around the world.

Emerging markets

The Quiet Global Transformation of Global Development
Huffington Post
When I started working in emerging markets - or "least developed countries" as they were less politely known in 1990 - aid and investment were regarded as two starkly separate approaches to supporting development.


A Mantra for the Privileged
Stanford Social Innovation Review
There is a lot of untapped potential in would-be entrepreneurs in developing countries. But they can’t afford to “fail fast, fail often.”


How girl activists helped to ban child marriage in Malawi
The Guardian
Malawi has raised the legal marrying age from 15 to 18. A girls’ rights campaigner explains how advocates secured this victory


India’s slum tailors to the rich and famous
Gulzar Ahmed is one small link in the human bridge between Dharavi, one of India’s largest shanty towns, and the fashion boutiques of Milan.

Bringing Respect for People to the World’s Sweatshops
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Those advocating social change through multinational corporations need to raise their expectations.


Liberia's President: Ebola Re-Energized Her Downtrodden Country
There's a lot to celebrate in Liberia: The number of new Ebola cases have been declining, kids are going back to school and life is returning to some semblance of normalcy.

Articles You Might Like: 
Reducing Waste and Improving Global Food Security
Six ways Ebola is reversing development gains in Liberia

02.03.2015 Economics Can Make A World of Difference on SDGs

Right now, the United Nations is negotiating what might be one of the world’s most powerful policy documents. It could influence the movement of trillions of dollars, pull hundreds of millions out of poverty and hunger, reduce violence and improve education – making the world a better place. But much depends on this being done […]

02.03.2015 Data privacy standards - another missed opportunity for civil society

Here we go again. A small group of #nonprofits will engage in the policy battle about data privacy. The rest of nonprofit sector and philanthropy will stand by, ignoring it. Thinking "consumer data privacy standards" - not our issue.

Yes, It is our issue. Replace the word "consumer" with the word "individual." Now, does it sound relevant? Digital data privacy matters to nonprofits and foundations.  Digital isn't optional, it's integral. Data management (including privacy) is the equivalent of fiduciary responsibility.

Managing, protecting, securing, destroying and respecting digital data is the key organizational capacity issue for nonprofits and foundations today. You have data from and about your beneficiaries, your donors, your staff, you.

How nonprofits manage data matters. Handling it well could (and should) lead to long term retention of trust and integrity in the sector. Standing by and waiting for Comcast, Target, Home Depot, Sony, your health insurance company, JP Morgan, (and every other major corporate or government agency that's recently been hacked) along with Axciom and the other 3999 commercial data brokers to come up with a bill won't help civil society. Standing by doesn't help you as an individual (the proverbial "consumer"), it doesn't help your nonprofit or foundation think through these issues as they matter to you, and it doesn't help the sector.

The sector as a whole is missing an opportunity to stand up for the rights of individuals and to stand up and differentiate nonprofit corporations and their respect for data privacy from their commercial competitors.  On the issue of people and their digital data why aren't nonprofits and foundation standing up saying "We Will Do this Right?" Here's what I wish nonprofits and foundations were saying right now:
"Since we're not in the data collection business to make a buck, and because we do collect (a lot) of data on you, this is how we handle it, this is how we use it toward our mission,  these are your rights to get it back from us, and here's proof of our data integrity."
What a moment to declare the integrity of the sector and collectively stand for trustworthy, mission-driven, transparent and understandable, respectful approaches to using personal data for public good.

Oh, the depressing sound of silence.

This is part two of a three-part series on digital values and civil society.  Part one is here. Part three will appear on Wednesday March 3, 2015.
*Thank you to those nonprofits that are engaged on these issues including the Center for Digital Democracy, Georgetown's Center on Privacy and Technology,

02.03.2015 Crowdsourcing: Practical Insights for Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Philanthropists

Crowdsourcing involves soliciting input from the public, usually on a digital platform, to address market gaps and surface promising solutions in an open, efficient way. It often has a voting component wherein the top-voted ideas win support. Crowdsourcing uses collective intelligence to help creative ideas rise to the top – while generating a real-time feedback loop […]

02.03.2015 Bold in Action: Stepping up to the Challenge

This month, in honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating amazing female social entrepreneurs who are solving some of the world’s biggest problems.  From local leaders to global champions, these Echoing Green Fellows are cracking glass ceilings and changing society for the better by putting their big, bold ideas into action. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Conference on Women, where global leaders envisioned a world where gender equality is a reality for every woman and girl, and it’s a moment to stop and honor the women who came before, the women who are paving the way now, and to reach out to and inspire tomorrow’s generation of female entrepreneurs. 

Meet 2013 Echoing Green Global Fellow Morgan Dixon, co-founder of GirlTrek. GirlTrek is a national health movement geared towards encouraging women – starting quite literally with their sisters and mothers – to walk for better health, inspire their daughters, and reclaim the streets of their neighborhoods. Learn more about Morgan and Echoing Green’s Global Fellowship.


This video is part of a weekly series of portraits of Echoing Green Fellows. Learn about their organizations, their moments of obligation, and how Echoing Green supports their work, on our YouTube channel.

Related Posts 

Bold in Action: Opening the Doors of Prison Reform

“When I left those folks behind, I promised myself that one day, I would do my best to circle back and help Americans understand the impact of its current policies.” Go »

GirlTrek Follows in the Footsteps of a Civil Rights Legacy

When Vanessa and Morgan started to walk for change, they realized they were doing more than building a women’s health organization—they were tapping into a narrative much larger than themselves. Go »

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02.03.2015 Lychees and the Fanohana cooperative

Over at Spore:
image via Ethiquable
Restructuring the Malagasy lychee sector

Annual lychee production in Madagascar is presently estimated at 80,000 to 100,000 t. The initial strategy was to boost volumes, but this resulted in a decline in fruit quality. Then in 2010/11 shockwaves rippled throughout the sector when Germany suspended imports after sulphur residues on lychees were found to be above the threshold allowed by European regulations. This led to a complete overhaul of the Malagasy lychee production sector, and an extensive certification programme was initiated. Only a few exporters had Global G.A.P. certification in 2008, but since then a majority of others have qualified. “This is now a precondition for gaining access to the European market,” says Gerbaud.

There is renewed confidence in Malagasy lychees, but this has not improved
smallholder producers’ livelihoods - they are still generally at the mercy of the market, and without any bargaining power, are forced to accept prices. Prices fluctuate from season to season, but also within the same short marketing period (November-January). The development of an organic and fair trade sector, along with enhanced fruit processing potential, seems promising for these smallholders, who represent an overwhelming majority in this sector in Madagascar.

A promising new approach

The Fanohana cooperative, based in the Analanjirofo region on the east coast of Madagascar, which is supported by various partners, including the French NGO Agronomes et veterinaires sans frontières, has succeeded in promoting local products by processing and selling them on export markets. Lychee was the main focus of this cooperative at the beginning, followed by pineapple, vanilla and spices. Fanohana currently produces fresh, certified, organic and fair trade lychees which are processed into pulp and canned or exported in bulk. The certification label has enabled cooperative members to obtain stable, above-market prices. The structuring and professionalisation of the farmers’ organisation and the search for alternative lucrative business opportunities were key to this success. Also decisive at the outset was the commitment of the French cooperative company, Ethiquable, to buy lychee pulp. Volumes increased tenfold, to reach around 400 t between the 2008/09 and 2013/14 seasons, and the number of customers grew from one to five
More here

01.03.2015 The ethical blindness of algorithms

Originally posted on Quartz:
Can an algorithm be racist? It’s a question that should be of concern for all data-driven organizations. From analytics that help law enforcement predict future crimes, to retailers assessing the likelihood of female customers being pregnant (in the case of Target, without their knowledge), the increasing scale of computer cognizance is raising…

01.03.2015 Digital isn't optional and it isn't "other"

Digital infrastructure and the nature of digital assets have been transformative. Business gets this - companies traffic in data, are valued in the marketplace by their ability to collect and manage digital data, products are designed around data, entire companies shift their focus from computers to music to telecommunications to wearables to automobiles (I'm looking at you, Apple). Business schools can't promote digital innovation headily enough. If the biggest topic in US healthcare a few years ago was the Affordable Care Act it's rapidly switching to use of your personal health data.

Governments get it and are opening their data stores, sometimes for good and sometimes to obfuscate and confuse. What data we want our government to collect on us in the name of security - and where and how they get it - has dominated news cycles and Administration edicts since the middle of 2013. Net neutrality is (literally) the policy issue of the day - and represents a major grassroots, civil society policy win.* Broadband access is gaining policy attention, and keep your eyes out as our attention shifts to Zero Rating as the next big threat to free speech and association.

You'd never know any of the above from looking at the philanthropy and nonprofit news or associational agendas. For example:
Independent Sector has released it's new guidelines for good practice and ethical principles for the social sector. There are important updates in here from the last version, especially raising data security to the level of governance responsibility that it deserves. But "secure your servers" is pretty much the extent to which these guidelines acknowledge the digital underpinnings of today's civil society.

Grantcraft has a new guidebook out on capacity building. It offers great guidance for funding institutions, but there's nothing in it that I found that wouldn't have applied to funder/nonprofit relationships in 1994 (pre-World Wide Web and mobile phones). Is that because nonprofits' digital capacity is so robust or because it's unimportant? Or not understood or undervalued?
Grantmakers for Effective Organizations has a new updated guide on capacity building also. A search for "digital" in the pdf file yields no results. 
Philanthropy and civil society need to step up to our digital reality.

Digital is not optional. This is not about whether or not you have a Snapchat account or live-tweet your board meetings.
  • If your organization uses a printer or a copy machine your information is digitized and subject to third party review. You are a digital enterprise.
  • Does your organization file a 990 or 990-PF?  Even if you filled it out in pencil and hand-delivered it to the IRS, you do know that information gets OCR'd, digitized, and uploaded to the net, don't you? Congratulations - you are a digital enterprise. 
  • Do you work on housing, education, healthcare, environmental conservation, social justice, biodiversity, economic or community development, urban planning, civic engagement, transportation, the arts and culture, human rights, religious tolerance, or any other issue? If so, then digital data and infrastructure are shaping your strategy choices, your potential partners, and any chance you have of achieving your mission. Yours is a digital mission.
Nonprofits and foundations today are digital enterprises, operating in a digital world.
  • They need to understand how digital assets, resources, and infrastructure work - (hint: it's not the way financial assets do) - in advancement of their missions and in opposition to them. 
  • They need to understand that not all digital tools fit the jobs of their organizations - some devices are designed to operate in ways that directly conflict with their organization's mission. 
  • They need to understand that everyone they interact with may be a donor to their organization - a data donor. And all that data demands respect and protection.
  • They need to figure out if their work is creating new digital resources with public benefit, and factor that in to the social calculus of what they do.
  • They need to understand the emerging landscape of digital social enterprises, as well as the changing landscape of digital data sources that matter to their work and the subsectors of digital intermediaries - especially in the area of capacity building. 
  • They need to consider the civil liberties and civil rights aspects of big data use in the issue areas in which they fund, as well as smarten up fast about their own data collection, storage and use practices.
Digital data and infrastructure are recognized all around us as core mechanisms for public discourse, fundamental elements of public utility, instrumental to civil rights, information access, medical care, innovation, education, and countless other dimensions of modern life.

Digital asset management and governance is the KEY capacity building issue for nonprofits and foundations in the 21st century.

Digital asset management and governance policies are as integral to ethical and effective enterprises as Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, as conflict of interest policies and respect for donor intent.

Using digital resources for mission-based or community-based purposes is as central to the idea of civil society as structuring financial resources toward public benefit, via the corporate entity known as a nonprofit.

Digital isn't optional, it's integral.

This is part one of a three-part series on digital values and civil society.  Part two is here. Part three will appear on Wednesday March 3, 2015.

*Look at this list of actors - and think about who is not here. Policies such as net neutrality underpin the very existence of nonprofits and foundations but you'd never know it from the niche nature of those who fought for it. Their efforts matter to all nonprofits' existence - these issues are not niche.

28.02.2015 Brazil: Deforestation and Drought

Scientific evidence strongly suggests that Amazon deforestation is a major contributor to the unprecedented drought currently plaguing southern Brazil, especially the megacity of São Paulo. Recent media coverage explains the phenomenon and the human consequences.   The science is clear: Forest loss behind Brazil’s drought (Forest News). In the mid-2000’s two Russian physicists described a […]

28.02.2015 The Conference Developing Nations Are Banking On


The third U.N. International Conference on Financing Development totes a big name, and an even bigger roster, but its blueprint for funding aid impacts developing nations’ citizens in a very personal way.

The Concept

The conference was born at the passing of the 20th century. U.N. leaders proclaimed its dedication to the pursuit of a “peaceful, prosperous, and just world” in the Millennium Declaration in the fall of 2000, and the conference was one of the many initiatives created. The conference’s goal is dauntingly complex: To gather world leaders and devise funding the global development crusade.

Wu Hongbo, Secretary-General for the conference, recently stressed the importance of its role in international development. “A comprehensive financing framework will be essential to any agreement on a sustainable development agenda,” Wu said.

Previous Financing Conferences

Previous conferences in Monterrey, Mexico, and Doha, Qatar, focused on: mobilizing domestic and international resources, harnessing international trade, reducing external debt and increasing international cooperation. The agenda this summer in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will be much the same.

The financial overhaul that could occur at the Addis Ababa conference is happening at a critical moment.

It Couldn't Happen at a More Important Time

Not long ago, economic growth in many developing nations was a beacon of encouragement for the global development community. The first decade of the 21st century saw an average growth rate among impoverished nations that was 3.2 percent faster than in wealthy nations.

But the global recession slammed developing economies. The growth rate plunged to 1.1 percent by 2013; and it may be poised to plummet again. As technology increases manufacturing efficiency, many developing nations’ crucial unskilled-manufacturing jobs may dry up.

What's up for Discussion

Pre-conference proceedings from October to December 2014 brought finance and development representatives of UN Member States to the table, along with civil society organizations and the business community, to review the progress made since the prior conferences, and cement an agenda for July.

The Addis Ababa conference will focus on:

  • Domestic, international and private finance
  • International monetary system
  • International tax cooperation
  • Debt crisis prevention
  • Trade investment and technology
  • Governance

Potential Outcomes

While the U.N. conference occurs infrequently, it can impact developing nations immediately. In the healthcare field alone, the 2008 Doha Declaration introduced intellectual property right flexibilities that increased developing nations’ accessibility to medicine.

Macharia Kamau, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations, knows the potential of the upcoming conference to unite the world against poverty is imperatively important at this moment.

“2014 demonstrated the fact that underdevelopment and poverty in large swathes of the world produce a range of intensifying crises that know no borders… there are no walls high enough to hold out the consequences of a world filled with the poor and marginalized,” said Kamau.

“No one country or group of countries can go it alone.”

Articles You Might Like: 
When aid fails - and what failure teaches us
What the pivoting IMF mandate means for the poor
Young leaders create plans for change in the Middle East and North Africa

27.02.2015 Learnings from Air Miles for Business Small Business Achievement Awards 2015

Kelly A. Lovell, speaking on "how you can tap into the dynamisim of millenials"

This week, I had the pleasure of attending the Air Miles for Business Small Business Achievement Awards (AMFB) in Toronto. Although the presentations were targeted toward small businesses, there are many transferable learnings for non-profits to consider, including topics on organizational innovation, branding, and engaging Millenials.

1. Non-profit innovation

Why should non-profits innovate?
It creates value, especially program improvements but also administrative efficiency, among others. Sean Wise, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University, spoke on "innovating like a start-up" at AMFB. One tip that non-profit organizations can takeaway from Sean's presentation is to share, early and often. What should you share? Share everything (unless it's a trade secret, Sean cautions)! And why should you share? Two main reasons: to get feedback and to raise awareness.

Non-profits tend to be very transparent anyways because of regulations and multiple stakeholder relationships, but it's especially important to critical info such as strategic plans. Sharing your strategic plan on your website, for example, allows others to gain awareness of what you're doing and planning. In reading the plan, they could offer useful feedback on how to tweak the plan or offer resources toward an initiative that they find particularly interesting. And bringing it back to Sean's point about sharing early, the earlier you share this info, the more quickly you can get feedback and implement changes, thus avoiding costly mistakes and increasing the chances of the plan's success. One great example of an NPO that shares is Engineers Without Borders and its Failure Reports.

Sean even has a tip that new non-profits may find useful: create a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP, within an NPO, is a program or service that doesn't have many features, but still solves a problem for your clients. The MVP may not be perfect, but all the planning in the world won't predict service issues until the service is actually implemented. Therefore, launch the MVP early and use client feedback to continually make improvements.

2. Non-profit branding

Barb Stegemann (of The 7 Virtues Beauty) and Mia Pearson (Co-Founder of North Strategic) both spoke on branding and getting your story out there. Branding is important because (as captured by @AIRMILESBIZ 's tweet), "it's not good enough to be good at what you do, you need to be seen as being good at what you do." For effective branding, Mia suggests (as captured by @RealtyQueenTO 's tweet), being comfortable with self-promotion and understanding your brand pillars (the characteristics that help define you and/or your organization).

If you're unclear on what your brand pillars are, then be social and get someone to interview you. The interview has two benefits: creating publicity and gaining perspective. Besides raising awareness about you and your organization, strong branding also "helps you attract and maintain talent. It inspires your employees to be proud of their work" (captured by @AIRMILESBIZ).

3. Non-profit engagement of Millenials

It's important for non-profits to engage Millenials because they're the ones with increasing earning power (i.e. potential donors) and the ones who are helping to spread awareness about causes through social media. Kelly A. Lovell, Founder and CEO of My Effect, was a speaker at AMFB and a Millenial herself. Her tips for engaging Millenials to support your organization include:
  • use web and social media to communicate your cause and mission: "Millenials are tech and social savvy. They do online research before purchasing."
  • converse with them: "Millenials want to be spoken with, not spoken to." It's not just about your organization blasting out info online. Use online channels to listen to Millenials and build relationships through conversations.
  • use current supporters to advocate on behalf of your organization: "Millenials consider friends more credible than brands for purchase recommendations. They also experience FOMO (fear of missing out). They want to be a part of something that their peers are involved in."
Kelly also has some tips for organizations who want to engage Millenials in the workplace (also applies to volunteerism):
  • provide professional development opportunities and job flexibility: Millenials value these things even over financial incentives which must be especially appealing to resource-starved non-profits. Examples of professional development opportunities include job shadowing and conferences.
  • build a culture of co-creation: Millenials may offer you perspective your organization didn't consider previously. Involve them in everything from program creation to campaign development.
Overall, AMFB was a great event where I met a lot of inspiring people and heard inspiring stores. I'm already looking forward to next year. Congrats to all the winners of this year's Awards including CitiGrow (for social responsibility), Livestock Water Recycling (for innovation), KAI Innovations (for start-up of the year), Carmelo Marsala (young entrepeneur) and Contingent Workforce Solutions (for small business of the year) and continued success.

Social Focus Consulting
when it comes to your cause, we mean business

If you enjoyed this article, then read Non-profits should act entrepreneurial

27.02.2015 #EGFellows Making Headlines February 2015

Last month, we kicked off our Bold in Action series to showcase the commitment to #BigBoldChange among members of our Fellow community. These leaders are forming new pathways to making the world more just, and each Monday, we eagerly anticipate being inspired by their stories. Every week, meet audacious problem solvers like Glenn MartinFagan Harris, Marquis Taylor, Kalimah Priforce,  Laura Weidman-Powers, and Momo Akade, founder of Gigabryte, who says “I always wanted to transform learning. I always wanted to make sure that kids everywhere had access to the educational opportunities that I would later have. And I actually get to do that now, and I’m actually changing lives because of it.” Stay tuned for more Bold in Action to hear the stories of the next wave of social innovators, and explore the headlines our Fellows are making below.

Sasha Charnoff
Andrew Youn
Shake Shack IPO Is Charity's Gain
Share Our Strength, founded by 1991 Global Fellow Bill Shore, received $1 million from food giant Shake Shack to help put an end to childhood hunger in America.
World's Most Innovative Companies
Organizations founded by Echoing Green Fellows Andrew YounNina Dudnik, Kago Kagichiri and Toni Maraviglia, were named top innovators worldwide.
Jessica Mayberry
Karim Abouelnaga
US loans fueled insider deal, failed power plan in Liberia
Natalie Fields, 2009 Global Fellow and founder of Accountability Counsel, is representing Liberian laborers in a case against the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for failure of due diligence.
How Beyond-the-Grid Solar Firms and Lenders Can Make Better Use of Capital
Daniel Tomlinson, 2012 Global Fellow and founder of Frontier Markets, explains how the beyond-the-grid industry can continue to grow and increase capital.
Avnish Gungadurdoss of Instiglio
Vineet Singal
2015 Forbes India 30 Under 30 List
Abhishek Choudhary and Saransh Vaswani, 2014 Global Fellows and founders of SAAJHA, were recognized for reforming education in India’s public schools through community leadership.
2015  TED Fellows & Senior Fellows
Trang Tran, 2014 Climate Fellow and founder of Fargreen, received a 2015 TED Fellowship for strengthening local Vietnamese communities by addressing social and environmental challenges through the promotion of sustainable farming practices.

Photo Credits: Natalie Fields courtesy of Accountability Counsel; Bill Shore courtesy of No Kid Hungry                              

Related Posts 

Bold in Action: Opening the Doors of Prison Reform

“When I left those folks behind, I promised myself that one day, I would do my best to circle back and help Americans understand the impact of its current policies.” Go »

2015 Echoing Green Fellowships Semi-Finalists

We may only be shy of two months into 2015, but we think it’s never too early to place your bets – and we’ve already got our eye on who’s next and what’s next for social change. Go »

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27.02.2015 Meet the Makers of More Finalists!

Twenty-two Finalists have been selected from a pool of 40 Semi-Finalists!

“We are thrilled by the ingenuity and diversity of the solutions that were entered into the competition,” said Rob Wilson, Director at Ashoka UK. “The shortlisting committee did not have an easy job. The Finalists represent those entries that best meet the challenge’s criteria of innovation, social impact, and sustainability.”

read more