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Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: At SOCAP 14, Unitus Seed Fund launches its India Impact Acceleration Program

Source: Press Release

September 2, 2014: San Francisco. Today at SOCAP 14, Unitus Seed Fund launched its India Impact Acceleration Program to help improve and accelerate the early-stage impact startup ecosystem across India in three ways: by increasing connections facilitated through “startup scouts” operating across India, working with leading incubators to help create more “venture capital-ready” startups that target low-income populations, and offering financial assistance to startups that make use of our existing Venture Advisor and Catapult Partner networks.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — South Asia

Indian government aims to open 7.5 crore bank accounts by August 15, 2018

Source: Economic Times India

The NDA government has drafted a new financial inclusion plan that aims to open 7.5 crore bank accounts in rural and urban areas and extend financial services to all citizens by August 15, 2018.
Thursday, July 10, 2014 — South Asia

Building Resilient Communities in the Philippines, Together

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan ravaged Central Philippines, displacing entire communities in its path. The catastrophic destruction drew a tremendous outpouring of support from around the world, and immediate relief efforts ensued.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — No Region Specified

Clay Fridges That Keep Food Cool Without Electricity

Source: Fast CoExist

This food storage box won't replace a refrigerator. But it'll help keep food fresh for people who don't have one.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s BRCK raises $1.2M to connect the last mile to the internet

Source: Press Release

Ushahidi spinout BRCK Inc. announced today that it has closed a $1.2 million seed round. BRCK is solving last-mile connectivity problems with a device that can bring seamless internet connection to the most remote areas of the world.
Monday, July 7, 2014 — South Asia

Adarsh Credit Co-op Reaches India's Rural Poor With Mobile Tech

Source: Forbes

Mobile phones are a key way to expand financial inclusion to rural areas across emerging markets, as M-Pesa has demonstrated in Kenya. In India, Adarsh Credit Co-operative Society reaches one million members through 800 branches and more than 100,000 financial advisors who travel through villages taking deposits or disbursing money by linking to the bank through their mobile phones.
Monday, July 7, 2014 — Latin America

Social Enterprise In Haiti Transforms The Lives Of Peanut Farmers

Source: Forbes

The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership recently announced the launch of its latest social enterprise. Called Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corp., it’s aimed at the more than 12,000 small holder peanut farmers in Haiti.
Thursday, July 3, 2014 — South Asia

Rural education firm Hippocampus raises $2.4M from ADB, Unitus, Khosla Impact

Source: VCCircle

Hippocampus operates 128 learning centres in Karnataka with a student base of over 7,500.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 — South Asia

Save the Children and Ikea tie up to prevent child labour in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan

Source: Business Standard

The programme is aimed at protecting 790,000 children living in cotton communities in these states
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Radio Station Reaches Remote Areas Through Cell Phones

Source: PSFK

Unilever in India launches a marketing initiative that provides entertainment and ads in areas unreachable by other media.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: “Project Last Mile” Expands to Improve Availability of Life-Saving Medicines in Additional Regions of Africa

Source: Market Watch

The Coca-Cola Company, USAID, the Global Fund, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invest more than $21M USD to expand initiative to 10 countries
Monday, June 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

GravityLight: Doing More With Less- Designing For The Bottom Of The Pyramid

Source: Business Fights Poverty

Globally, 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity. Millions more are ‘under-electrified’, with unreliable and sporadic supply. Instead they typically rely on kerosene for lighting. Hazardous, expensive and polluting, there is a real need to replace kerosene with a safer, sustainable and affordable light.
Monday, June 2, 2014 — No Region Specified

CITADEL takes a look at 3S, the social enterprise that manufactures, cleans and services portable toilets for the urban poor

Source: Citadel

In a globalized nation where connectivity is the norm and gadgets rule, the most basic toilet facilities are not available to a staggeringly huge number of people. This picture has been changing enormously as people have been availing assistance for an improved quality of life.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Q&A: Social Enterprise Helps Vegetable Vendors In Nairobi Slum

Source: AFK Insider

After graduating from the prestigious London School of Economics, Kenyan Suraj Gudka, 21, didn’t go for a white-collar job in accounting. Instead he opted to work with slum communities, co-founding SokoText, a social enterprise that harnesses the power of short messaging services (text messages) to create demand for produce sold by micro entrepreneurs in urban Nairobi slums.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

Donors seeking new relevance as African growth gains pace

Source: Business Day

AID has quite often been described as a life-support machine for Malawi, one of the world’s poorest nations. A country that has so far eluded the simplistic "Africa rising" narrative, Malawi remains one of the continent’s most aid-dependent nations.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Selling energy as a service meets the poor's needs and generates profits

Source: The Guardian

Rather than trying to sell energy products with high up-front costs, innovative businesses are selling energy services
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Getting to know PSI’s market-based sanitation work in India: Part 3 – The supply-and-demand see-saw

Source: impact

The 3SI project is currently offering three toilet designs (standard, deluxe and super deluxe) at three different price points: INR 19,000, 25,000 and 29,000 (US $316, $416 and $483, respectively).
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 — South Asia

Lok Capital Sells its Stake and Leaves RuralShores Business Services

Source: The Economic Times

mpact investment firm Lok Capital has exited its portfolio company RuralShores Business Services by selling its stake in the rural business process outsourcing (BPO) company to an unnamed strategic investor.
Monday, March 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

The ‘absurdity’ of manufacturing in Africa

Source: How We Made It In Africa

Africa’s wealth of natural resource reserves make it one of the largest producers and exporters of a number of commodities in the world. For example, the continent produces roughly three-quarters of the world’s platinum and over half of the world’s diamonds.
Friday, March 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Risky Business - Is China Wavering in Africa?

Source: allAfrica

Last month, officials from the Chinese Development Bank arrived in Ghana to re-negotiate a $3 billion oil-backed infrastructure deal.
Friday, February 28, 2014 — South Asia

Transforming Rural India Through Agricultural Innovation

Source: Harvard Business Review

With a majority of its population living in villages, rural poverty is a major problem in India. The disparity between the urban and rural incomes is also on the rise. This leads to migration to urban areas resulting in urban blight as well. Therefore addressing the problem of rural poverty assumes urgency. On my last trip to India, I witnessed an innovation experiment, National Agro Foundation (NAF), that addresses this wicked problem.
Monday, January 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

10,000 toilets to be built annually with microfinance in rural India

Source: Times of India

An NGO, Gramalaya, and a microfinance firm called Guardian have been implementing the sanitation project by providing financial loans to villagers to build toilets. They have also secured the support of government authorities to initiate the project.
Monday, November 18, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A Merry-Go-Round That Turns The Power Of Play Into Electricity in rural Ghana

Source: Fast Company

Empower Playgrounds is providing electricity-generating playground equipment to impoverished schools in rural Ghana.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 — South Asia

In India, what drives private banks’ interest in rural areas?

Source: Live Mint

The rapid increase of rural incomes and consumption with a shift in expenditure patterns has altered business perceptions
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Millennium Development goals in rural Africa get $100 million boost

Source: RYOT.org

In 2011, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Earth Institute (Columbia University) formed a partnership to work with African nations to support their efforts to end extreme poverty. On Tuesday, the IsDB and the Earth Institute and its partner, Millennium Promise, announced that the IsDB and its poverty reduction arm, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), have now extended more than $100 million in financing to help eight African nations combat extreme poverty, improve public health and achieve more sustainable development.
Thursday, September 5, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Fighting Poverty, and Critics

Source: New York Times

Nina Munk’s new book, “The Idealist,” is about the well-known economist Jeffrey Sachs and his “quest to end poverty,” as the subtitle puts it. I know: That subtitle sounds like classic book-industry hyperbole, but, in this case, it’s not. That really is what Sachs has been trying to do. The question of whether or not he is succeeding is where things get tricky.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 — South Asia

Impact Investment Exchange Asia invests in Indian Social Enterprise Spring Health

Source: Social Story

Singapore based Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX) has announced today that its Impact Partners platform has successfully facilitated an investment from two private investors, alongside lead investors from the Artha initiative and the Stone Family Foundation, into Spring Health Water (India) Pte. Ltd., a for-profit Social Enterprise that provides safe and affordable drinking water to rural customers in India.
Thursday, August 29, 2013 — South Asia

Grameenphone secures $345m to widen rural network

Source: The Daily Star

Grameenphone is set to receive $345 million funds from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, to expand its coverage in rural areas.
Friday, August 23, 2013 — Latin America

Bringing Solar To Impoverished Towns, With A Model Straight From The Corporate World

Source: Fast Company's Co.Exist

Disillusioned by corporate life, Manuel Aguilar and Juan Rodriguez started Quetsol, an organization that uses business acumen to supply rural Guatemalans with solar power.
Thursday, August 15, 2013 — South Asia

Pedaling for progress with cargo bikes

Source: GMA News

For Victoria Holanda, fetching water used to be a backbreaking chore. “Dati ay suson naming mag-asawa ang isang kawayan; ang timba ay nasa gitna naming dalawa,” she recalled. “Inaabot kami ng tatlong oras araw-araw sa pag-igib ng tubig mula sa isang bukal na 500 metro ang layo sa bahay namin.”
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 — No Region Specified

Intellecap Impact And Unilazer Invest In Head Held High

Source: Deal Curry

Angels of the Intellecap Impact Investment Network and Unilazer Ventures, amongst others, have invested R2.5 Cr into Bangalore-based startup - Head Held High Services, a rural skills development and employment creation enterprise. The investment will be used to scale up operations and ink important partnerships over the next 12 months.
Monday, August 5, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

East Africa: The Superfood With the Potential to Save Hundreds and Thousands of Children's Lives

Source: AllAfrica

Imagine a food that is free, nutritious and has the potential to save thousands of children's lives.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Kenya, Using Tech To Put An 'Invisible' Slum On The Map

Source: NPR

If you were to do a search for the Nairobi city slum of Mathare on Google Maps, you'd find little more than gray spaces between unmarked roads.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Environment, education and health need urgent progress, says MDG report

Source: The Guardian

Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia lag behind rest of world, with targets on child and maternal deaths, and sanitation significantly off-target
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 — South Asia

Literacy, Not Income, Key To Improving Public Health In India

Source: Eurasia Review

New research suggests public health in developing countries may be better improved by reducing illiteracy rather than raising average income.
Friday, June 14, 2013 — No Region Specified

Q&A: Impact Assessment Key in Rural Development Projects

Source: Inter Press Service

Marianela Jarroud interviews Eduardo Ramírez, Latin American Centre for Rural Development researcher
Monday, June 10, 2013 — South Asia

A social media platform for the rural masses

Source: Mint

Mobile Vaani is an interactive voice response system that enables people to share and create content
Friday, June 7, 2013 — Latin America

Argentina builds first-ever solar neighborhood to fight energy poverty

Source: Deutsche Welle

A solar power project in Buenos Aires is providing electricity for some of the city's poorest households. Volunteers are hoping to create Argentina's first green community - one rooftop at a time.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 — South Asia

HP deploys virtual health platform to help deliver quality psychiatric care in rural India

Source: Business Standard

As part of HP's continued commitment to making healthcare accessible to people living in remote parts of India, HP today announced the availability of a virtual health technology platform that will enable healthcare professionals to virtually conduct specialist psychiatric consultations with patients.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 — No Region Specified

Changing lives, a hen at a time

Source: Standard Digital

Helping hand: Three years ago, four campus students started a revolutionary project that has begun to alleviate poverty in rural areas nyan communities of giving visitors a hen.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Gambia: 'Motorcycles Bring Universal Health Care Closer to Gambians'

Source: The Daily Observer

The Gambia has been recognised for its success in bringing universal access to maternal health care closer to its citizens by becoming Africa's first country to have enough motorcycles and ambulances to deliver health care to the whole country, a press release from Riders For Health (RFH) revealed.
Thursday, May 9, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Where Private School Is Not a Privilege

Source: The New York Times

In the United States, private school is generally a privilege of the rich. But in poorer nations, particularly in Africa and South Asia, families of all social classes send their children to private school.
Monday, January 28, 2013 — Latin America

Killer quinoa? Time to debunk these urban food myths

Source: The Globe and Mail

Twenty years ago, quinoa was pretty much unknown. Now, it’s in everyone’s cafeteria. Its price is going through the roof. And that, in the confused minds of Western foodies, is somehow a bad thing.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013 — South Asia

The Gyaner Haats – knowledge bazaars – of Bangladesh

Source: The Guardian

Faruk Ul Islam explains how his charity is developing networks that build on official channels to reach deeper into communities
Thursday, December 13, 2012 — South Asia

PM says rural-urban divide in telecom growth must be bridged for socially inclusive growth

Source: NetIndian

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the full potential of telecommunication in enabling higher growth would not be realised until the use of telephones spread much wider in the rural economy of India as well.
Thursday, December 6, 2012 — South Asia

Solar Energy Brings Power to Rural India

Source: Triple Pundit

In Central India, far from the grid of power lines, telephone poles and power transformers an electrical experiment has been taking place. For the last year, the village of Meerwada has been learning to live with solar energy. Located some 90 minutes from the nearest city by way of a rocky 4×4 dirt road, this small town sits on the cutting edge of a modern-day industrial revolution.
Thursday, December 6, 2012 — South Asia

Telemedicine Still Not Reaching Rural India

Source: Enterprise Efficiency

Building brick-and-mortar hospitals to cater to a country that accounts for more than a sixth of the world’s population is a near impossibility. At present, 65 percent of India’s population lacks access to modern medicine. Less than 10 percent have access to a hospital, and only 13 percent have access to a primary care center.
Thursday, September 27, 2012 — South Asia

Using Innovative, Low-cost Solutions to Provide Safe Drinking Water in India

Source: India Knowedge@Wharton

P.Venkatesh, a resident of Boduppal village in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, is a carpenter of modest means. The ever-increasing price of essentials has forced him to cut corners to save each paisa as he struggles to look after his family of four. But despite all odds and after much deliberation, three months ago he decided to make provision for yet another non-negotiable in his monthly budget -- drinking water.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Initiative for Global Development teams with Accenture to develop electricity, connectivity in Uganda

Source: Notre Dame News

The University of Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (IGD) and Accenture — a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company — are taking the lead to empower disconnected communities in northern Uganda by harnessing solar energy to generate electricity for Internet and communications technologies, education and training centers, and new locally developed ventures.
Friday, September 14, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Uganda, Villages Reap Benefits of “Machine” Energy

Source: National Geographic

Immaculate Kongai said she was quick to spot the potential of the Multifunction Energy Platform (MFP) as soon as it arrived in Usuk, her village in northeastern Uganda. Kongai grows and sells sorghum to local beer brewers, and has earned a reputation as a shrewd local entrepreneur. When the MFP—or, as she calls it, "the machine"—first showed up three years ago, she said she saw a chance to "make a lot more money" for her family.
Monday, August 6, 2012 — South Asia

Ideas man: professor in quest for India's rural inventions

Source: Hindustan Times

t's 43 degrees Celsius, and Prof. Anil Gupta has been hiking the scorched plains of central India for hours. But he smiles widely as he enters a tiny village in search of another unsung genius. "If you have any new ideas or you have any new inventions, I'm here to promote you," he tells farmers squatting beside a dusty roadside shrine to Lord Shiva.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 — Asia Pacific

$627M to fund anti-poverty program in 2013

Source: Business Mirror

The government will roll out a $627-million poverty-alleviation program in rural areas by August next year. Dubbed as the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP), the government will seek a loan of $500 million from the World Bank to fund the initiative.
Monday, July 30, 2012 — South Asia

Acumen Fund Invests INR 1.5 Crore ($300K) in Edubridge Learning

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Mumbai, India, July 25, 2012 – Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture fund addressing poverty across Africa and South Asia, today announced a INR 1.5 Crore ($300K) equity investment in Edubridge Learning Private Limited, a growing company that provides vocational skills training for low income youth across Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 — South Asia

Rural market, an incredible opportunity: Manwani

Source: The Hindu

Rural India is a powerhouse waiting to emerge and presents an incredible opportunity of potentially adding $1.8 trillion to the Indian economy which is equal to the current GDP, according to Harish Manwani, Chairman, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL).
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 — South Asia

Nachiket Mor: The Business Of Morality

Source: Forbes India

In India, businesses and businessmen, particularly from the private sector, have always been viewed with some suspicion. Given our underlying socialist ethos, this is perhaps not surprising, but in recent times, this has worsened with reportage about the various means that some businesses have used to gain an advantage, be it bribing government officials and elected representatives, indulging in coercive practices with their customers, misusing monopoly power, concealing information, or ill-treating employees.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 — South Asia

Genpact to buy VentureEast-backed Atyati Technologies

Source: VCCircle

Business processing outsourcing major Genpact Ltd has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Atyati Technologies, a technology platform provider for the rural banking sector in India. The terms of the transaction, including the stake acquired and the deal value, remain undisclosed. The deal is expected to close in 3-4 weeks.
Monday, April 23, 2012 — No Region Specified

(Bottom of the) pyramid selling

Source: The Economist

IS THERE anything more prestigious than business?” What would sound tin-eared from the mouth of Mitt Romney reads very differently when attributed to a woman of long-standing poverty, discussing her newly found self-respect. The quotation comes from a recent paper by a trio of female researchers from Oxford University's Saïd Business School—Catherine Dolan, who lectures in marketing and corporate social responsibility; Mary Johnstone-Louis, a doctoral candidate; and Linda Scott, of the Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The researchers studied a sales programme that employs Bangladeshi women at the proverbial bottom of the pyramid, run by the Bangladesh arm of CARE, an NGO. Its Rural Sales Programme (RSP) focuses on women who are destitute due to abandonment by their family or the deaths of their husbands. CARE calls the women aparajitas (a Sanskrit term meaning “she who cannot be defeated”) and offers them jobs selling household goods, such as soap, household goods, even saris. Begun in 2005, RSP now employs more than 2,400 women across Bangladesh and has partnerships with companies such as Unilever, Danone and Bic.
Monday, April 23, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Environmental Index Could Save Rural Communities

Source: Phys Org

By creating the world's first long-term record of ecosystem health, Chinese and UK researchers have identified where specific social and economic policies have damaged the environment in eastern China. The work shows that wealth generation over recent decades is damaging essential ecosystem services on which the poorest rely - things like food, fuel, and clean water.
Thursday, April 12, 2012 — South Asia

Villgro Innovation Marketing Raises Seed Capital

Source: Press Release

Chennai based Villgro Innovation Marketing Private (VIM), an innovative rural distribution company, has raised a significant seed series investment from US-based investment firm Unitus Seed Fund and a group of angel investors to further expand its operations in South India.
Thursday, April 5, 2012 — South Asia

Cisco Invests in Rural Venture Capital Firm

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Cisco today announced an investment in Aavishkaar, a venture fund founded to promote development in rural and semi-urban India.
Friday, March 30, 2012 — No Region Specified

Is Microfinance an Engine of Development? Finca Says Yes

Source: The Guardian

The jury is still out on whether microcredit makes a difference to the lives of the poor, but stories of its success are compelling
Thursday, March 22, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Economists Demonstrate One Size Does Not Fit All for Microfinance Programs

Source: MarketWatch

New Study Reveals Wide Variance in Results from Thai Million Baht Village Fund Large-scale microfinance programs are widely used as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries, but a recent study from the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty suggests that they can have varying results for participants and may be the most cost-effective use of funds only in limited situations.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 — South Asia

Symbiosis Project to Help Light Up Village Homes

Source: The Times of India

PUNE: Students from the Social Entrepreneurship and Consulting Cell of Symbiosis Institute of Business Management ( SIBM) have come up with a project to provide low-cost lighting units to rural households without electricity.
Thursday, March 15, 2012 — South Asia

Organic Farming Promises to Yield a Sustainable Future for India's Rural Poor

Source: The Guardian

Organic agricultural practices are improving prospects for India's farmers by providing greater profit and sustainability
Thursday, March 8, 2012 — No Region Specified

SC Johnson and Cornell Kick Off New Business with a WOW!

Source: Press Release

Cornell University's Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and SC Johnson today announced the launch of a new product concept developed in partnership that hopes to generate a "WOW" from rural consumers in developing markets. Recently unveiled in the village of Bobikuma, Ghana, WOW™ is a membership-based club whose products and services help low-income homemakers care for their homes and families.
Monday, March 5, 2012 — South Asia

Solar-Powered Micro Grids Change Lives of Indian Villagers

Source: Treehugger

In Uttar Pradesh, one of India's poorest states, a pair of US-born entrepreneurs is creating a new model for energy delivery to villages far from the grid. The founders of Mera Gao Power build and operate solar-powered micro grids to provide low-cost lighting and mobile phone charging to village houses, giving many rural people access to both light and power for the first time in their lives.
Monday, February 13, 2012 — South Asia

Brac Programme Lifting 'Ultra-poor' Out of Poverty in Bangladesh

Source: The Guardian

The Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee is helping communities escape extreme poverty by providing individuals with livestock and a monthly payment for two years
Friday, February 10, 2012 — South Asia

Students Learn a Trade in Afghanistan Hotspot

Source: PBS

Mercy Corps is working in southern Afghanistan to connect craftsmen with their countrymen and women so they can make a living and better their lives.
Thursday, February 2, 2012 — South Asia

BRAC puts Entrepreneurs to Work Providing Clean Toilets for Millions

Source: PRWeb

In Bangladesh, the development organization's Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program gives millions of the rural poor a fresh start with latrines at prices fair to buyers and sellers alike.
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