Video: BelieveBeginBecome's You Tube Channel

Duration: 2min 58sec

Believe Begin Become – currently being run in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania – is designed to give enterprising men and women the training and resources they need to launch or expand businesses, while fostering a broader culture of entrepreneurship within a country.

Duration: 2min 46sec

Samina Sachak describes her plan to farm halal prawns for sale in Tanga, Tanzania.

See their YouTube Channel

via Timbuktu Chronicles

Related Post:
Link of the Day: Believe, Begin, Become

Quote of the Week by George Bernard Shaw + 2 books by/for/about social entrepreneurs

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw

A few good books by/for/about social entrepreneurs:

The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan

Economist Review:

The gist of the book is that established businesses should carefully watch—and be ready to invest in—various forms of social entrepreneurship, which tend to be good at spotting profitable opportunities in unlikely places, not least amongst poorer consumers at the so-called “bottom of the pyramid”. Mr Yunus has showed that even the poorest borrowers can be good customers, and as a result huge amounts of profit-seeking capital have flowed into the microfinance industry all over the world. Ms Hartigan and Mr Elkington reckon that social entrepreneurs will uncover other profitable new industries.
In the early days, social entrepreneurs saw themselves as an alternative to business or government. Today, they want to be partners, seeing business and government as assets to be leveraged. This is probably a good thing, provided it does not dull their creativity or cause them to be more reasonable.

Rob Katz provides notable excerpts in his post over at and finishes with this recommendation:

Do yourself a favor, and read the whole book. Some of the anecdotes will be familiar – that’s to be expected – and there’s not enough discussion of failure. But what Elkington and Hartigan have done here is more than a successor to David Bornstein’s How to Change the World. Rather, The Power of Unreasonable People is a call to action with blueprints included. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, be sure not to skip the conclusion – it’s worth the wait.

Paul Polak’s Out of Poverty

Duration: 2min 26sec [More videos available from YouTube user PaulPolak90Percent]

From Publisher’s Page:

In this hard-hitting new book, Paul Polak tells why traditional poverty eradication programs have fallen so short, and how he and his organization developed an alternative approach that has succeeded in lifting 17 million people out of poverty.

Based on his 25 years of experience, Polak explodes what he calls the “Three Great Poverty Eradication Myths”: that we can donate people out of poverty, that national economic growth will end poverty, and that Big Business, operating as it does now, will end poverty. Polak shows that programs based on these ideas have utterly failed—in fact, in sub-Saharan Africa poverty rates have actually gone up.

These failed top-down efforts contrast sharply with the grassroots approach Polak and IDE have championed: helping the dollar-a-day poor earn more money through their own efforts. Amazingly enough, unexploited market opportunities do exist for the desperately poor. Polak describes how he and others have identified these opportunities and have developed innovative, low-cost tools that have helped impoverished rural farmers use the market to improve their lives.

Hat-tip, Shawn F.

FYI: Congrats to IDE for receiving $27 M from the Gates Foundation.

See also Paul Polak on “Design for the Other 90%” [PopTech 2007]

Event: SID-Washington 2008 Annual Conference

SID-Washington 2008 Annual Conference
“Transforming Development, Shaping Our Global Future”
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Time: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Cost: $150.00 Member, $200.00 Non-Member, $75.00 Full Time Student (Must present valid Student ID)

SID-Washington’s 2008 Annual Conference will feature speakers from around the world who will provide their vision on the future for international development. As this year marks a U.S. presidential election year, the Annual Conference offers an unparalleled opportunity to help shape the development agenda of the next presidential administration.

Opening Keynote
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Morning Panels (concurrent)

  • Democracy and Governance: Theory, Reality, and Lessons Learned
  • The Coordination Problem: Aligning Agriculture, Energy, and Trade Policy with Development Assistance
  • Global Trends in Infrastructure
  • Health

Luncheon Keynote
Henrietta Fore, Administrator, USAID and Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance, Department of State

Plenary Donor Roundtable
• Dirk Dijkerman, Chief Operating Officer, State Department Office of the Director of Foreign Assistance
• Geoffrey Lamb, Managing Director of Public Policy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
• Luc Veron, Minister-Counselor and Head of the Political and Development Section- Delegation of the European Commission in Washington DC
• World Bank representative, TBD
Discussant: Ambassador Abdoulaye Diop, Republic of Mali
Moderator: Dennis DeTray, Vice President for Special Initiatives, Center for Global Development; SID-Washington Board Member

The Next President’s Development Agenda: What Will It Be?
• Governor Tom Ridge, representing the Republican viewpoint
• TBD, representing the Democratic viewpoint

Video: Solio Hybrid Gadget Charger

A composite review of the SOLIO Hydrid solar charger.

The Good

Duration: 1min 51sec

This Is Green editor Jorge Guerra takes a look at the Solio Hybrid Charger which can charge via the sun or an electrical outlet.

Duration: 5min 10sec

Solio, the hybrid-solar charger, goes to Africa to support the Village Phone program.

via Treehugger

The Bad
Jessica Gottlieb pans the Solio (specifically the Solio Classic Hybrid Charger) in her guest post on the Celsias blog, Why the Solio Solar-Powered iPod Charger is a Dismal Disappointment.

Too bad it doesn’t work.

I mean it works, in that it does what it says it will do. It’ll charge your iPhone in about 6-8 hours, if you’re not using said iPhone during that time. By contrast the iPhone plugged into a cigarette lighter in the car charges in 25 minutes. The batteries will recharge in the Solio when it’s left in direct sunlight (again for 6-8 hours) so if you’re ready to take $70-$100 of electronics and leave it out in the elements you’ll be much happier, just make sure to avoid shade at all costs. If you plan to leave it in your kitchen window, prepare for disappointment.

It won’t charge in car windows and I don’t know why but I suspect it has something to do with tempered glass.

I don’t think her chief complaints are a Solio specific issues, but are rather limitations of solar chargers in general. For instance, my BOGO solar flashlight also requires 6-8 hours in direct sunlight to fully charge (longer in indirect sunlight). Treehugger gives a list of other solar chargers on the market, but sadly not a side by side comparison of the lot.

The Bottom Line
Taking all this in along with the info on Solio’s site, it seems like these little gadgets are ideal for people who are out in the middle of nowhere with no other source of power. It might also make a good emergency charger for those annoying times when you forgot to plug in your cell phone before trying to meet up with friends. They are pricey however, with models ranging from $80 to $200.

CNET’s fuller review

Link of the Day 022108: Net Metering FAQ

An FAQ on net metering from Earth2Tech:

The U.S. electrical grid is one of the most regulated and least sophisticated networks out there. Of course buying power off of the grid is easy enough, but what if you want to try to sell electricity back to the grid? It might not be too easy to simply sell your excess juice from your solar panels, depending on where you live. Here’s a primer on the issue of “net metering” and how it will allow individuals to power the grid.

Event: The 23rd Norris and Margery Bendetson EPIIC International Symposium (February 21st – 24th)

The 23rd Norris and Margery Bendetson EPIIC International Symposium
Date: February 21st – 24th 2008
Location: Tufts University – Medford/Somerville Campus
Some of the Speakers:
Vikram Akula (SKS Microfinance)
José Maria Argueta (Former National Security Adviser, Guatemala)
J. Brian Atwood (Former Administrator, USAID)
Steve Berkman (“The World Bank and the Gods of Lending” (forthcoming book))
Bill Drayton (Ashoka)
Jonathan Greenblatt (Ethos Water)
Robert Neuwirth (“Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters: A New Urban World”)
Andrew C. Revkin (Environmental Reporter, The New York Times)

Much progress has been made over the last few decades. Global poverty is rapidly falling for about 80 percent of the world and the number of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half. Yet, many challenges exist, from the expected rise in population in developing countries over the next four decades – representing 86 percent of the world’s population – to the anticipated, and unanticipated, consequences of global warming. Eschewing ideology, this year’s EPIIC colloquium will seek a nuanced understanding of the concepts and reality of global poverty. Is it possible to transcend the images of starving children, the stereotypes of ruthless corporations, and corrupt politicians, to explore a realistic agenda for alleviating poverty?

Patron (includes meals with panelists): $300
General registration: $75
One day: $30
Tufts alumni, Tufts parents, Seniors (entire symposium): $25
Non-Tufts students: $15
Panel block (2 consecutive panels): $20
Tufts students: $5
Tufts faculty: Free
17 and under: Free


Wednesday, February 20th

  • 11:00am | Cabot 702 | Microfinance and the Challenge of Eradicating Poverty

Thursday, February 21st

  • 7:00pm | Cohen Auditorium | Your Future in an “Everyone a Changemaker” World
  • 8:00pm | Cohen Auditorium | Megacities: Global Slums and the Urbanization of Poverty

Friday, February 22nd

  • 12:00pm | Cabot Auditorium | Scarcity and Sustainability: Climate Change and the World’s Poor
  • 2:00pm | Cabot Auditorium | The Resource Trap: Conflict, Corruption and Failing States
  • 7:00pm | Cabot Auditorium | Alleviating Poverty: Is Aid the Answer?

Saturday, February 23rd

  • 9:30am | Cabot Auditorium | Bottom-Up Development: Microfinance and Entrepreneurship
  • 11:30am | Cabot Auditorium | Investing in Human Potential: Health, Education and the Millennium Development Goals
  • 2:30pm | The Environment in an Unequal World
  • 3:15pm | Cabot Auditorium | America’s Poor: Is there a Domestic Poverty Trap?
  • 5:15pm | Olin 101, 102, 103, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 116 | Small-Group Discussions (topics tba)
  • 8:00pm | Cabot Auditorium | Illicit Trade and the Informal Economy: Abuse of the Poor

Sunday, February 24th

  • 1:00pm | Cabot Auditorium | Corporate Social Responsibility: Principles, Priorities, and Profits
  • 3:00pm | Cabot Auditorium | Governance, Wealth, Power and Accountability

Event: Entrepreneur to Discuss Biofuels Start-Up in India [New Haven]

Launching a Biofuels Start-up in India: CleanStar, Jatropha and Economic Development
Date: Friday February 22, 2008
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Bowers Auditorium, Sage Hall , 205 Prospect St.
Speaker: Sagun Saxena, Chief Executive Officer of Energy Pvt. Ltd.

Since its launch in late 2005, CleanStar has been partnering with leading research institutes to evaluate the commercial potential for growing plants and trees on a sustainable basis on land that is not used for food production. To date, the company has planted more than 100,000 trees using a wide variety of planting material and agronomic management practices. In 2008, the company plans to start developing its first commercial BioFuel feedstock plantation projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America in partnership with a global agribusiness company, investment fund, and BioFuel supplier.

The IEM Lecture Series is supported in part by the Joel Omura Kiruhara Fund. For more information about the lecture series, please contact Melanie Quigley, program coordinator, at 203.432.6953 or

Free and Open to the Public, Light Lunch provided.

Communities We Are Working With: Projet Pierre Toussaint (Haiti)

Projet Pierre Toussaint

We’re always really excited when we get the chance to collaborate/partner with other great non-profits in the field. By working together we get to amplify the good work that each is doing. One such organization is Projet Pierre Toussaint, who we are hoping to install a biodigester for at their Residential Village. Fuel is one of their major expenditures and we can help them cut costs by converting dung/manure from their many rabbits and 1 cow to biogas.

Rabbit Project

Projet Pierre Toussaint is a Catholic non-profit based in Cap-Haitien that works with street kids, specifically boys (see note at bottom for why not also girls). For most of these children, they’re parents are dead or are otherwise unable to care for them.

[The primary mission of the organization] is to foster the spiritual, physical, emotional and educational growth of Haitian street children. The intent is to provide basic instruction in reading and mathematics coupled with technical training and marketable skills in a safe nurturing environment.

We hope to hire some of the boys in their technical training program over time.

PPT has an intake center/day program in Cap, where kids can come in the morning, have a warm meal, a shower and basic education. Kids that do well either by studying hard, attending classes regularly or displaying good behavior can “earn” their way into the Residential Village Program.

Projet Pierre Toussaint

School Boys
Some of the boys currently living at the Village.

Benik, future agronomist. He just started coming to the village about 2 weeks ago.

In the village there currently are three residences for children as well as offices, school rooms, a cafeteria (with kitchen), new vocational workroom, sewing room/depot area, facilities for soccer and basketball, and a beautiful new chapel. The boys who live on “the land” at the Village eat three meals a day, play sports regularly and are responsible for daily chores. They also have the opportunity to earn spending money through weekend work projects. These children attend school in Cap Haitian with other students their age and use the school rooms in the Village for doing homework, studying and tutoring with Haitian teachers. In addition to the above, each of the boys is given the option to learn carpentry, metal work, mechanics, sewing, gardening or a number of other trades.

Brittany and Jean-Louis
Brittany McLane and Jean-Louis

Biodigester siting discussion

PPT Kitchen
The Kitchen. The kitchen is prettier than this in person without the dramatic lighting. They’re typically cooking for about 70 people a day off a propane gas stove.

***Little girls in this situation often become restavecs in Haiti. A restavec, from the French meaning “stay with”, is a girl whose parents are unable to care for her who is taken in by strangers or relatives in exchange for domestic work. Their situation can range from well-loved family member to indentured servant to outright slave. Because of the difficulty in getting access to restavecs to help them, the NGO is currently only working with boys.