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Thursday, March 30, 2006 — No Region Specified

The NMB seeks to finance projects for low-income individuals.

Source: Reuters Foundation AlertNet

The Middle East's first national microfinance bank opened earlier this week amid mixed reactions from local NGOs. The National Micro-Finance Bank (NMB), launched by the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organisations on Monday, has been hailed as the first of its kind in the region. The project's other stakeholders include the King Abdullah II Fund for Development and members of the private sector. The NMB seeks to finance projects for low-income i...
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Thursday, March 30, 2006 — No Region Specified

A Fisher of Women

Source: Embassy (Canada's Foreign Policy Newsweekly)

The male-dominated fishing industry in Cape Town is making room for Sahra Luyt and her association of fisherwomen, giving less fortunate women the chance to cast their nets towards a better life. At the start of this century, a mere handful of fisherwomen were netting lobster along shores of the Cape Peninsula in hope of a better future. Ocean-blazer Sahra Luyt, 36, had been going to sea with her skipper and spouse Sedick Larney, 40, since the mid-1990s. My grandmother alway...
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006 — No Region Specified

German company focuses on the triple bottom line.

Source: Faz.net

The Nutrition Improvement Program, which focuses on the fortification of foods with vitamins and minerals in order to prevent disease and mortality due to malnutrition, is DSM's first initiative in the context of the 'Base of the Pyramid'. This is a new development in the field of sustainability to which the company will increasingly be paying attention. The 'Base of the Pyramid' concept involves the development and implementation of new, innovative business models in ...
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006 — No Region Specified

How Is Entrepreneurship Good For Economic Growth?

Source: Innovations

Innovations is a new journal focused on the intersection of social enterprise and public policy. The following is an excerpt from an article in the first issue.? Check out Rob's post for more background. Zoltan Acs How is entrepreneurship good for economic growth? This question would seem to have a simple answer: Entrepreneurs create new businesses, and new bus...
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Monday, March 27, 2006 — No Region Specified

Germany-funded Poverty-relief Project Initiated in Xinjiang

Source: Development Gateway

A poverty-relief project has been launched in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a program funded by joint investment from China and Germany. The project was initiated on Sunday in Kashi Region and Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Kizilsu to the southern area of Xinjiang. (...)The project aims to assist 30,000 poor villagers living in the area by helping them adopt new water-saving technologies to water over 4,000 hectares of fruit trees. The German government has...
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Friday, March 24, 2006 — No Region Specified

Using the Sun to Sterilize Water

Source: BBC Online

Tanzanian villagers have begun using an energy-saving method to sterilise their drinking water - leaving the water under the sun. The piped water supply to Ndolela village in the central Iringa region is intermittent and even when it does flow, it is not clean enough to drink. When the pipes run dry, villagers get water from a dirty spring. Mother of five Rose Longwa says the new process has changed her life. We no longer suffer from stomach illness. That's because the ...
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Friday, March 24, 2006 — No Region Specified

Cambridge University's Program for Industry launches a "Business and Poverty Program" in association

Source: World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Cambridge University's Program for Industry in association with the WBCSD and Oxfam has launched a Business and Poverty Program to examine the inter-relationship of business and poverty. The Program will bring together senior company managers, experienced practitioners, academic thinkers and NGO leaders. It aims to assist leaders from major organizations to develop an advanced understanding of how, through their mainstream commercial activities, businesses can improve the quality o...
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006 — No Region Specified

Ring Up My Bill, Please

Source: The New York Times

The promise of phones that double as digital wallets is not new. Consumers in many Asian and European countries have bought everything from convenience store trinkets to subway tickets using their mobile handsets for years. But the idea has largely been a gadget geek's fantasy here in the United States. Only recently have American banks and wireless companies begun developing mobile payment products. Now, the next wave of technology could wash ashore within two years.
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Tuesday, March 21, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Indian Express

As Indian banks plan to march into rural India disbursing commercial loans and housing finance, they need insurance companies to keep in step in order to de-risk their borrowers and make their lending safer. The challenge and opportunity lies in moving to the bottom of the pyramid by providing flexible, affordable and easily available insurance to rural and semi-urban people, preferably through the involvement of state governments or through large companies (especially public sector undertaking...
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Tuesday, March 21, 2006 — No Region Specified

China looks at India for farm credit models

Source: DNA India

Venkatesan Vembu As China goes about its endeavour to build a ?new socialist countryside? and address the problems that poverty-stricken farmers face in accessing farm credit, it is looking to India?s successful microfinance model for inspiration. On Saturday, China?s leading?University tied up with HSBC to research and devise a microfinance model to serve the country?s farmers, many of whom do not have access to any form of credit. The three-year...
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Monday, March 20, 2006 — No Region Specified

Water Support Fading for Private Water Aid

Source: International Herald Tribune

For more than a decade, the idea that private companies would be able to bring water to the world's poor has been a mantra of development policies promoted by international lending agencies and many governments. It has not happened. In the past decade, according to a private water suppliers' trade group, private companies have managed to extend water service to just 10 million people, less than 1 percent of those who need it. Some 1.1 billion people still lack access to clea...
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Monday, March 20, 2006 — No Region Specified

Twenty-two development goals for SAARC launched

Source: New Kerala

By Nazrul Islam Bangladesh?s Foreign Minister, Mr. Morshed Khan has formally launched 22 development goals of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), aiming to regional poverty reduction in line with the UN millennium development goals to be reached by 2015. ?The leaders of South Asian countries are now committed to reduce poverty in a participatory manner, provide food security, guarantee livelihood, improve health care, ensure quality education and enhanc...
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Monday, March 20, 2006 — No Region Specified

The impact of mobile phones.

Source: BBC

In 1979 Elizabeth Blunt was sent to Nigeria by the BBC to cover the country's elections, as the then military head of state, General Olusegun Obasanjo, prepared to hand over to an elected civilian government. She recently returned to the country to revisit some of the people and places she had known all those years ago. I was back in Nigeria recently, and trying to find a woman called Dada who I had met on my first visit to the country, 27 years ago. I peered at my fad...
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Monday, March 20, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: This Day Online

In many emerging countries it is easier to roll out a modern mobile network than the miles of copper required for a fixed line network. Mobile offers low income subscribers more affordable prepay mobile telecommunications combined with a degree of cost control not possible with fixed line. These factors help explain the phenomenal growth of mobile subscriber numbers in emerging markets such as Africa. where according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) mobile subscribers have jump...
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Monday, March 20, 2006 — No Region Specified

A new report examines the challenges and opportunities facing ultra-low-cost segment of the handset

Source: Electronics Talk

A new report examines the challenges and opportunities facing ultra-low-cost segment of the handset market. 'The Emerging Market Handset Programme (EMHP) has achieved a lot since its inception in October 2004'. 'However, this year will prove crucial to the development of the ultra-low-cost handset (ULCH) segment, a factor that may have encouraged the GSMA to extend its endorsement of Motorola as the Emerging Market Handset vendor for six months from 1st July', says Gavin Byrne, l...
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Ethical Corporation

While the value of poverty-reduction strategies designed to help the poor help themselves is now well-known, private sector investment in microfinance is still low. Microfinance - or the provision of credit to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans - has been a tool for poverty-reduction now for three decades. But just 5% of microcredit demand is currently fulfilled. Moreover, 95% of people in developing countries lack access to financial services, com...
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

Charity needs to start to resemble a capitalist economy in which benefactors become consumers of soc

Source: The Bard Observer

The problem is not in the spirit of the people; it is in the nature of the charity. Philanthropy needs to become philanthrocapitalism. Charity needs to start to resemble a capitalist economy in which benefactors become consumers of social investment. The fact is that Americans, and people in general, are not greedy. Many wealthy Americans are looking for ways to make a difference in the world. It's time for charitable organizations to start to compete for their money. Firs...
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

The role of the bicycle in alleviating poverty.

Source: iAfrica.com

A kitchen blender attached to a bicycle sounds like the sort of device an inventor might dream up in a particularly eccentric moment, and never bother to build. But it really exists, and is one of a number of pedal-powered machines that are making a real difference to the lives of people in poverty-stricken Guatemala. The biciliquidora consists of a blender jug mounted above the frame of what is essentially half a bicycle, which a person sits on and pedals to get the blend...
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

BAGUIO CITY-Business Circles have been talking about them for months now. But few took serious note of talks that a group of retired bankers and accountants has set up a call center to finance philanthropic work in the poorest communities of this city. Nam-ay Ti Umili Inc. (NTU), a foundation that provides business consultancy and micro-finance support for Baguio's urban poor, formed a non-stock, non-profit call center inside the Baguio City Economic Zone on Oct. 3, 2005 for under...
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

In Rural India, a Sales Force in Saris Delivers Soap, Social Change

Source: Washington Post

CHOLLERU, India -- With its open sewers and mud-walled homes, this impoverished farming village of 2,200 in southern India did not look like fertile territory for an entrepreneur. But Srilatha Kadem was undeterred. Oblivious to the midday heat, she marched briskly along the unpaved streets, her cloth bag filled with soaps and shampoos and her heart with vaulting ambition. She stopped at a tile-roofed house, where a gray-haired woman in a green sari lounged in the shade of the small ve...
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

The tricky balance between provision and profit

Source: Ethical Corporation

UK water company Biwater is finding that making profits from water in poorer nations is a tough business. Biwater has just been awarded a contract to construct a new water purification plant on the banks of the Nile. The aim is to supply clean drinking water to an estimated 2.5 million residents of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. The plant will become operational in 2008. The contract is worth $108 million and half of this amount will be donated by the Dutch government th...
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

Kenyan Farmers Save for a Rainy Day - Whatever the Weather

Source: The Register

By Drew Cullen Twice a month, farmer James Muthoka gets on his bike and pedals nine kilometres to KARI Katumani, an agricultural research station. Mr Muthoka owns six acres in an small, enclosed valley in Machakos, a dry, semi-arid region about one-and-a-half hours from Nairobi. The valley is filled from top to bottom with farms. The shamba (field) beside his house is four acres - and the other two acres are very far away. The farm may be small, but the land is...
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

BRAC Honored for Helping Poor Peoples' Access to Health

Source: Bangladesh Observer

Social Innovator of the Year Award for the year 2006 has been announced by Brigham Young University (BYU), USA, reports BSS. BRAC, a leading NGO of Bangladesh, and Scojo Foundation of USA are jointly being honoured with this award this year for their new initiatives to increase poor people's accessibility to reading glasses, said a release in Dhaka on Sunday. This is being achieved by utilizing BRAC's 30,000 health- workers, who were trained to carry out ophth...
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

Tanzania: "Moneymaker" Pumps Cash into Farmers Pockets

Source: Arusha Times

Moneymaker' pumps manufactured in Arusha are reported to have contributed to poverty reduction by helping families start small agrobusinesses. The pumps that require no fuel enable farmers to harvest up to three times a year thus boosting their income. (...)MoneyMaker pumps are developed and marketed by KickStart a non-profit organization. USAID helps support KickStart's program in Tanzania. (...) At the T.F.A (Tanzania Farmers Association), distributors of the MoneyMaker...
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Monday, March 13, 2006 — No Region Specified

Cheap Tech Hikes Water Supply

Source: Red Herring

Report argues for rethinking mega-water projects by focusing on low-cost technology. By redirecting investments in water infrastructure to cheap, decentralized, and environmentally sustainable technologies, the world can meet the demand for water and energy in developing countries, according to a report released Monday. The report by the International Rivers Network (IRN) in Berkeley, California, estimates that reaching the United Nation's Millennium Development Goal of brin...
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Thursday, March 9, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: GreenBiz.com

GreenBiz.com , 6 March 2006 - Ethical Corporation magazine has released new research comparing attitudes on business-NGO partnerships in the U.S. and Europe. According to the report, while U.S. companies are avid philanthropists, giving generously and usefully to all kinds of charitable causes, European companies have taken the lead in meaningful engagement with NGOs, say both U.S. and European observers. The findings were released ahead o...
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Thursday, March 9, 2006 — No Region Specified

Where Cherries Bring No Cheer

Source: The Nation (Nairobi)

Editor: What is the issue most responsible for the problem here: the lack of loans available to farmer co-ops? The excessive number of microloans made with no accompanying support system of skills training? Or the continued farming coffee, a plentiful (often oversupplied) crop that fetches a low sales price? Muchemi Wachira A farmer picks her coffee. Although the Government has written off a Sh5.8 billion debt owed by the sector, many farmers are still reeling under debt ...
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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Business Standard

Provision of financial services to the poor through micro finance has seen significant growth over the last few years in India. However, more than 300 million people in India are still under-served, believe industry representatives, making it imperative for micro finance to gather momentum and reach. Addressing a seminar on micro finance, Ramesh Arunachalam, director, MicroSave India, said, "Micro finance delivers financial services like credit, savings, insurance, leasin...
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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 — No Region Specified

In a first, UN agency buys insurance against drought

Source: International Herald Tribune

Marc Lacey In a pilot project that could someday transform the world's approach to aid emergencies, the World Food Program, a United Nations agency, has taken out an insurance policy that will pay the agency should Ethiopia's notoriously fickle rains fail in 2006. The policy's creators are calling it the first natural disaster insurance coverage for an international aid agency. The policy, which costs $930,000, is designed to create a way of financing natural disaster...
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Monday, March 6, 2006 — No Region Specified

Hydropower 'can benefit the poor'

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)

Chris Van Gass, Cape Town Hydropower has the potential to contribute to reducing Africa's energy poverty, says a report published today. The report, Meeting Africa's Energy Needs -- the costs and benefits of hydropower, details two case studies from Zambia and Kenya that show how hydropower can deliver benefits with minimal effect. The report, by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), Oxfam and WaterAid, coincides with the opening in Johannesburg of an African ministerial c...
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Monday, March 6, 2006 — No Region Specified

Now a Multimedia PC for just 7,500 Rs

Source: The Economic Times online

HYDERABAD: An affordable computer enabled with multimedia and Internet will soon be available in the Indian market for just Rs.7,500 ( ed: approx. USD $169 ) a scientist said here Friday. The Nova NetPC has been developed by Chennai-based Novatium Solutions, a consortium of Indian partners, Mumbai-based Netcore Solutions, the Telecom and Networks Group of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras and the US-based Analog Devices. It would cost much less than the current price of Rs....
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Friday, March 3, 2006 — No Region Specified

IFC Partners with Key Microfinance Institution in Morocco, to Benefit More Than 45,000 Microenterpre

Source: Microfinance Gateway

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the Foundation for Local Development and Partnership (Fondep), a microfinance institution in Morocco, have signed a partnership agreement whereby IFC will provide a partial credit guarantee and technical assistance support. IFC?s package will help Fondep access long-term sustainable financing and maximize its microfinance operations through its 43 agencies across Morocco. These agencies offer services t...
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Friday, March 3, 2006 — No Region Specified

Emami devises self-employment project for rural youth

Source: India Infoline News

Emami Limited, as a part of its corporate social responsibility has devised a project of self-employment micro-interior rural areas with the objective of providing employment to the unemployed rural youth, to empower village women, to help in poverty eradication in villages and to contribute to social and economic development. The self-employment scheme provides an opportunity to earn a regular and sustainable income to the unemployed rural youth and women who have no fixed income. E...
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Thursday, March 2, 2006 — No Region Specified

Metro Water Board goes all out to deliver at the doorstep

Source: The Hindu

Brand new water tanks, one each for two streets, a community enterprise comprising households that decides on individual timings and equitable distribution of drinking water among themselves and the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) reaching out to an area where it has never gone before. Notwithstanding the searing heat, the dusty urban sprawl of Ambedkar Nagar in Jawahar Nagar gram panchayat of Shamirpet mandal in Ranga Reddy district, came alive on Friday wit...
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Thursday, March 2, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: WBCSD

It is expected that in the long term, microfinance can grow into a 'mature' commercial activity. This is one of the most important conclusions of the study called 'A billion to gain?'. This study is the first to systematically map out the current activities and future plans of international financial institutions in the area of microfinance. ...
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Thursday, March 2, 2006 — No Region Specified

Profit is not the only sign of a successful social enterprise.

Source: Times Online

If you think that a social enterprise is the same as you and your mates getting together a whip-round in the pub, think again. Social enterprises are organisations with all the profit-making enterprise of corporate organisations but whose bottom line has as much to do with social benefit and sustainability. Here's how to unleash some of that entrepreneurial spirit. 1. Be hard-headed. Social entrepreneurs (SEs)need all the qualities of commercial entrepreneurs. They take risks, gr...
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Thursday, March 2, 2006 — No Region Specified

Paint the World Green

Source: Alternet

What chance is there that the environmental revolution will reach the bottom of the wealth pyramid wherever it may be found, from Chicago to Calcutta, from London to Lahore? Will the future be driven by trickle down, trickle up, or something more akin to what would have happened if the fabled Dutch boy had taken his fabled finger out of the fabled dike? The real problem today Prakash-Mani [from SustainAbility's Emerging Economies program] stressed, is that i...
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Thursday, March 2, 2006 — No Region Specified

High Performance Takes Investment

Source: philanthropy journal

Changes in social-capital markets needed to boost nonprofit capacity. Allen Grossman (excerpt) Philanthropy's influence on performance is far from neutral; it actually discourages management from pursuing performance as a primary objective. The conversation must begin with an analysis of how and why the philanthropic capital markets, for the most part, fail to encourage high performance in nonprofit organizations. Ironically, nonprofit executive directors consistently ...
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Thursday, March 2, 2006 — No Region Specified

Online Loans Help the World's Poor

Source: BBC News Technology Edition

The internet is revolutionising how donors and lenders in the US are connecting with small entrepreneurs in developing countries, be they a farmer in Kenya who wants to invest in new cows or a seamstress in India who wants to open her own shop. Global Giving just enables small-scale grassroots projects to match up with relatively small donors all around the world, who want to help them make a difference, said Mr Whittle. The website is kind of like a combinati...
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Thursday, March 2, 2006 — North Africa and Near East

Base of the Pyramid: Sustainable Business from the Bottom up

Source: GreenBiz.com

Martin Fisher and Upendra Bhatt are two of the most important people you've never heard of. And that's fine by them. They would rather be popular among poor Kenyans and Indians than featured in the Western press. What do they do that's so important? They are social entrepreneurs: Fisher's KickStart and Bhatt's Aavishkaar harness the poor's ingenuity and entrepreneurship to build profitable businesses serving basic needs; from efficient irrigation and kerosene stoves to I...
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