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Solar Sister’s founder on applying the AVON model to solar energy in Africa

One-year-old start up, Solar Sister is using cosmetics company AVON’s model to distribute solar energy in Uganda, Sudan, and Rwanda.  To learn more about the “business in a bag” model…

Slideshow: Inzozi Nziza creates a market for ice cream in Rwanda

It’s an unlikely place for an ice cream shop, and an even more unlikely batch of people to be running it. Inzozi Nziza, or “Sweet Dreams” in Kinyarwanda, is Rwanda’s…

Haiti First: Confronting the economic implications of relief aid

Mark Danner covered Haiti’s tumultuous transition to democracy in the 1980s and 1990s. He knows that foreign interventions have a long history of mixed results and consequences that outsiders often…

Counterintuitive innovation that works: Five takeways from Stima Systems at SOCAP

“We don’t sell our products, we don’t market them, and we don’t take them to our clients” -  CEO Konrad App of micro-leasing solar energy company Stima Systems. Showcasing at…

How to get a social enterprise off the ground: The importance of surveying the field

So you’ve got the next Great Idea to solve a social or environmental problem; or the beginnings of the next Great Idea — where do you go from here? How…

Slideshow: Barefoot Power brings solar lighting off-the-grid

A couple hours drive on a dusty road outside of the southern town of Masaka, Uganda, you’ll find Musubiro Village. Miles from the closest electricity grid, there is little hope…

Getting life off the page and into the reader’s imagination: an interview with Tracy Kidder

Can writers promote causes for social change, and should they? Tracy Kidder is author of numerous essays and books of fiction and nonfiction, and is recently best known for Mountains…

E-Health Point combines water and wireless to provide healthcare in rural India

Al Hammond and Amit Jain of E-Health Point found a hook to get rural Indians to come to their clinics: provide clean water. Cheap clean water brings the foot traffic…

Mini Case Study: How to recruit top talent, when you can’t pay top dollar

PROBLEM: In 2009, the co-founder of Anza Technologies, a startup that designs and delivers high-quality, income-generating products to African farmers, was confronted with one of the biggest obstacles facing most…

Brooklyn Bridge to Cambodia; Ownership and empowerment at the heart of a water pump sales startup

Lack of access to water is a crucial roadblock in the path from poverty to wealth for many rural societies. Without irrigation techniques, farmers must rely on rainfall that may…

Slideshow: How Mafuta Sasa turns waste cooking oil into clean biodiesel

Michael Mwakilasa is not your typical Tanzanian entrepreneur, and Mafuta Sasa Ltd is not your typical African energy company. After spending a year experimenting with converting wasted vegetable oil (WVO)…

Beyond Connectivity

Data-driven apps are opening a new era of global development. That’s one of the big takeaways from the recent Global Philanthropy Forum in Redwood City, Calif. It’s hard to pinpoint…

BoP Slideshow: KOMAZA, innovations in microforestry and sustainablity in Africa

KOMAZA helps rural families in Africa plant and maintain small-scale, income-generating tree farms,  a new concept they call microforestry.  KOMAZA’s direct impact is threefold: First, KOMAZA workers hope to alleviate…

Starting from scratch: Rubina Design’s founder on building a social enterprise

Bringing an idea to life is a little like launching a rocket: the moment is fueled by many patient hours spent studying, researching, planning, searching for resources, building a team,…

“Hero” rats sniff out tuberculosis and land mines in Africa

One of the most difficult problems with tuberculosis is detecting it. In 2007, for example, half of all cases in Tanzania were missed, adding to a large death toll. The…