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
Friday, February 27, 2009 — No Region Specified

Not Just for Profit

Source: strategy+business

When Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank received the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2006, one endeavor lifted into the limelight was Grameen Danone Foods Ltd. This was a pathbreaking collaborative en­terprise, launched that year as a 50–50 joint venture between Groupe Danone — the US$16 billion multinational yogurt maker — and the Grameen companies Yunus had cofounded. Yunus called the joint venture a “social business,” which he said could be a pioneering mode...
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Thursday, February 26, 2009 — South Asia

A Bright Idea that Helped India's Poor

Source: Financial Times

Harish Hande's first installation of solar-powered lights in a rural Indian home was a stealth operation. The founder of Selco India, then a 26-year-old engineer, believed passionately that millions of Indians living in darkness at night could have their lives transformed by solar technology. But he needed a customer who could afford to pay the high up-front costs of solar lights and testify to their merits. In September 1994 Mr Hande asked a wealthy betel nut farmer in the southern...
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009 — South Asia

Fighting Poverty - One Yoghurt at a Time

Source: The Guardian

The west's beleaguered banking system could learn a thing or two from an illiterate Bangladeshi villager called Sobi Rani. She is a Grameen Lady, one of the thousands of grassroots activists who are the bedrock of the Grameen phenomenon, which, with nearly 30 businesses, is probably the largest financially viable social enterprise in the world. The cornerstone is the Grameen Bank, founded 33 years ago by Muhammad Yunus, superstar social entrepreneur and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner. The ...
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A Company Prospers by Saving Poor People's Lives

Source: New York Times

It all started with mosquito nets. Or, no, with guinea worm filters. Or, before that, with a million yards of wool in the mountains of Sweden. Or, taken back another generation, to uniforms for hotel and supermarket workers. There are plenty of charitable foundations and public agencies devoted to helping the world’s poor, many with instantly recognizable names like Unicef or the Gates Foundation. But private companies with that as their sole focus...
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Thursday, February 19, 2009 — No Region Specified

IFC invests $15M in WaterHealth for filtration in rural India


Irvine, Calif.-based WaterHealth International [1] is planning to install water purification and disinfection systems for 600 communities across India, funded by a $15 million project finance round from International Finance Corp. [2] this week. IFC, a division of the World Bank, has previously invested equity in WaterHealth International to grow the business. But this new cash infusion will allow WaterHealth to quadruple the number of decentralized units up and running in Indian comm...
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009 — South Asia

Rural India Snaps Up Mobile Phones

Source: The Wall Street Journal

By Eric Bellman In the village of Karanehalli, a cluster of simple homes around an intersection of two dirt roads about 40 miles from India's high-tech capital of Bangalore, Farmer K.T. Srinivasa doesn't have a toilet for his home or a tractor for his field. But when a red and white cellular tower sprouted in his village, he splurged on a cellphone. While the way his family threshes rice -- crushing it with a massive stone roller -- hasn't chang...
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Monday, February 9, 2009 — No Region Specified

How to count the invisibles?

Source: Christian Science Monitor

On a visit to a poor neighborhood, or favela, in Rio de Janeiro several years ago, Melanie Edwards asked how many people lived there. She heard estimates from 5,000 to 60,000. No one really knew. They were ?invisible,? just a small part of the 1 billion people around the world who are off the grid, lacking birth certificates, driver?s licenses, or voter registration cards. ?They have nothing to show that they exist in the world,? Ms. Edwards says. That information gap poses...
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Friday, February 6, 2009 — South Asia

India to Follow $2,000 Car with $20 Laptop

Source: The Financial Times

The project, backed by New Delhi, would considerably undercut the so-called $100 laptop, otherwise known as the Children's Machine or XO, that was designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of the US. The Children's Machine, which received a cool reception in India, is the centrepiece of the One Laptop Per Child charity initiative launched by Nicholas Negroponte, the computer scientist and former director of MIT's Media Lab. Intel launched a simila...
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Monday, February 2, 2009 — No Region Specified

Experiments Bring Internet to Remote African Villages

Source: New York Times

By CHRIS NICHOLSON Published: ENTASOPIA, Kenya - The road from Nairobi winds 100 miles to this town deep in Masai country. The asphalt gives way to sand and dust, until finally it is just a dirt track climbing over broken hills and plunging back to desert flats. The going is slow.?The outpost, with about 4,000 inhabitants, is at the end of that road and beyond the reach of power lines. It has no bank, no post office, few cars and little infrastructure. Newspapers arrive in a bundle ev...
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