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  •  International World Water Day: Social Entrepreneurs Tackle Water and Sanitation Issues

    Thursday, Mar. 22, 2012
    Today, March 22nd is the 19th annual World Water Day. The United Nations General Assembly established World Water Day in 1993 as a way to focus attention on the importance of fresh water, and each year chooses a specific theme to emphasize. This year’s theme is water and food security.
    While many are celebrating the UN announcement that we have reached the Millenium Development Goals’ drinking water target ahead of schedule (89% of the world’s population with access to “improved drinking water sources”), there is still much work to be done in giving equitable access to water for all.
    One group making strides in this arena is social entrepreneurs – leaders of non-profit and for-profit organizations pursuing the social mission of alleviating poverty.  In our 9 years of experience with The Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBITM) at Santa Clara University, we have trained hundreds of social entrepreneurs to help them build and scale sustainable organizations that solve problems for poor people around the world. Many have set up organizations designed to tackle the challenges of access to and reliability of safe drinking water, efficiently using water for agriculture and food security, and safe and healthy access to improved sanitation.  Read on to learn more about their efforts as we celebrate them on World Water Day. 
    Though we have met the MDG’s target goal of halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water, there is still a great disparity between which people have access and which do not. The number of people in rural areas using an unimproved water source in 2010 was five times greater than in urban areas. On average, women in rural Africa and Asia have to walk 6km a day simply to obtain water.
    gram-vikas Gram Vikas (GSBI ’04) Gram Vikas focuses on creating change at the community level, empowering local families to take responsibility for the health, education, and livelihoods. The water and sanitation program uses a 100% participation guide, teaching everyone how to build, maintain and understand sanitation services, so that everyone in the community—including women and the poor—have access to safe, clean water.

    The drinking water target is measured by the number of people with access to “improved” water sources, such as a piped supply, borehole, or protected well. It does not account for whether these sources are reliable, sustainable, or even functional. As long as a borehole exists, it is counted - whether or not water comes out when you turn the tap. In order for water technology to be useful, it must be reliable, and people must have the ability to have it fixed if it breaks.
    naandi-clean-water Naandi (GSBI ’08) The Naandi Foundation incorporates reverse osmosis and ultra violet technologies to create safe drinking water for India’s poor, resulting in improved health and productivity. Over 390,000 households in India have been reached by Naandi’s water purification technologies.
    meridian-design-aqua-star Meridian Design, Inc. (GSBI  ‘07) Meridian Design makes safe drinking water available on an individual level, by designing and selling portable water purification devices which are small, hardy, and affordable.
    The MDG focuses on sustainable access to clean drinking water and sanitation; however, there are essential uses for water that are not part of the drinking water target.  Water is imperative for every form of food provision--feeding livestock, growing rice and grains, to fish farming. In fact, irrigation accounts for close to 70% of human water usage. Having enough clean drinking water for each individual does not necessarily mean there is enough access to water for farming, industry, sanitation or health - problems which greatly affect a country’s ability to develop.
    ide-india International Development Enterprises India (GSBI ’06) IDEI connects smallholder farms in India with inexpensive irrigation devices. This generates a greater yield for the farmers, allowing them to spend their extra earnings on their children’s education, a more nutritious diet, and expanding their farm and livestock.

    The MDG to halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to basic sanitation appears to be off-track.  Poor water sanitation is responsible for the death of 1.8 billion people a year. Unclean water and poor sanitation is the 2nd biggest killer of children, and related illnesses often prevent children from attending school.
    pump-aid PumpAid (GSBI ’08) Pump Aid is committed to providing clean accessible water sources in Sub-Saharan Africa by building pumps and toilets in communities. Their Elephant Pumps safe, protected water sources that are easily built and easily maintained by the local communities. Their Elephant Toilets are similarly designed with local materials, and they help prevent sanitation-related illnesses.
  •  Laureate Feature: Nano Ganesh

    Friday, Mar. 16, 2012

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    Who: Santosh Ostwal, CEO & Founder Director

    What: Nano Ganesh:

    Where: India

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Flextronics Economic Development Award Laureate:

    How: Nano Ganesh is a remote control system for the agriculture water pumps located in rural areas. Using Nano Ganesh along with a low cost mobile phone, a farmercan remotely switch a pump on or off, check power availability, and check the pump status.

  •  Laureate Feature: Rickshaw Bank

    Friday, Mar. 9, 2012

    rickshaw bank
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    Who: Pradip Kumar Sarmah, Founder & Executive Director

    What: Rickshaw Bank Project:

    Where: India

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Flextronics Economic Development Award Laureate:

    How: Rickshaw Bank provides a means of self=employment to the poor and the marginalized rickshaw community by offering a “rent-to-own” financing option for rickshaw pullers to purchase an innovative new rickshaw. 95% of rickshaw pullers hire their rickshaw on daily rental basis so much of their earned income is taken up with the next day’s rental fees.

  •  How Women Social Entrepreneurs are Tackling The Feminization of Poverty

    Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2012
    Today, March 8th, marks the 15th anniversary of International Women’s Day.  Focused on Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities, and Progress for All, International Women’s Day is about far more than the continuing effort to shatter the glass ceiling (for more on gender inequity, read this OECD Report and this World Bank Report ). 
    Around the world, women make up 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty.  According to the UN, Women account for a vast percentage of the world’s absolute poor, disproportionally suffering from hunger, disease, environmental degradation and impoverishment. Even more distressingly, women perform 66% of the world’s work, and produce 50% of the food, yet earn only 10% of the income and own 1% of the property (2009).
    It is becoming clear that investing in women gives more “bang for the development buck” as investments made in women trickle down to positively impact their children and communities.  In the developing world women are more and more seen as the societal change agents for lifting themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty. (For more details on the multiplier effect of investing in women and girls read this blog post and watch this GirlEffect video).
    In addition, despite systemic imbalances throughout the world, women control the majority of “household” money – the daily funds used for food, cooking fuel, lighting, and children’s education.  Taken together, women represent a $10 trillion market, about 1/6 of the world’s economy.
    In business, too, we see more and more women-led organizations tackling this problem household by household.  In our 9 years of experience with The Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBITM) at Santa Clara University, we have trained 50 women social entrepreneurs to help them build and scale sustainable organizations that solve problems for people living in poverty. Many have set up organizations designed to empower women and girls. 
    Below are a few examples of exceptional GSBI alumni tackling some of these issues. We salute them, and the millions of other enterprising leaders striving to end poverty, and the feminization of poverty, for good.


    Zipporah Ogwenyi, Binti Africa Foundation, Kenya (GSBI ’08). The Binti Africa Foundation provides poor women and girls in Kenya’s rural areas with access to education and products for health, sanitation, and social empowerment. This includes producing low cost, affordable, and locally produced sanitary pads; providing information about health and rights; and creating clubs with a focus on mentoring and building young girls' confidence.


    Suraiya Haque, Phulki, Bangladesh (GSBI ’05). Phulki Provides low cost day care facilities in Bangladesh to enable women to achieve economic emancipation without sacrificing the well-being of their children. Phulki has also begun a project to provide a ‘safety net’, providing counseling, skill training, education and legal services for the thousands of young women working in homes in Bangladesh.

    Katherine Lucey, Solar Sister Uganda (GSBI ‘11). Solar Sister eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity.  Using an Avon-style distribution system, Solar Sisters sell solar lighting products directly to female heads of household – providing light, hope, and opportunity. Read more on their blog.


    Jabeen Jamughodawala, Sahaj, India (GSBI ’09).  SAHAJ is a fair trade organization, working with tribal women artisans of eastern Gujarat, India to create home-based livelihood opportunities. SAHAJ economically empowers these women by providing product design and development, business development, marketing, micro finance, and capacity building for women’s craft industries. This helps the women to be able to stay at home, send their children to school and take care of their health and agriculture. 

    Photo Credit: Gifts and Graces blog

    Gregorie Perez, Gifts and Graces, Phillippines (GSBI ‘09). Gifts and Graces works to improve opportunity for the poor and disadvantaged who seek to earn income by making handicrafts and other livelihood products. Those who benefit most are often female entrepreneurs who use their craft to overcome poverty and become leaders and role models in their communities. Gifts and Graces partners with other NGOs to identify marginalized groups, and then provides product development assistance and training which will help them sharpen their creativity, and improve their craft, and strengthen sales.


    Want to read more?


  •  Faculty & Executive Social Benefit Immersion Trip to India: Part 2

    Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2012

    This is part 2 of our Immersion Trip series. You can view part 1 here.

    Wednesday, February 22
    A morning workout means encountering social entrepreneurs from South Africa who are contemplating replication of HPS: small world theory in action?
    After our flight to Delhi, the School of Engineering faculty visit IIT and the rest of the delegation visits Eko India Financial Services (Tech Awards '11). 
    Mobile transaction at EKO in Delhi
    Mobile transaction at EKO in Delhi. 
    Outside the EKO CSP (Customer Service Point).
    Outside the EKO CSP (Customer Service Point). 
    Jasjit Mangat of Omidyar Networks joins us for dinner at The Kabab Factory.  
    Thursday, February 23
    An early morning flight to Amritsar brings us to the Punjab.

    Greetings at Amritsar airport by the manager, on the left. eHealthPoint CEO Amit Jain is next to her in the front row.
    Greetings at Amritsar airport by the manager, on the left. eHealthPoint CEO Amit Jain is next to her in the front row.  

    Our drive to Rajeana exposes us to some of the realities of India: one of our two buses breaks down, then the remaining bus is stopped for a routine police check, revealing that our driver is unlicensed. We are not comforted to learn that he has applied.
    eHealthPoint CEO Amit Jain (GSBI '08; Tech Awards '11) and Professor Sukhi Singh save the day through negotiations with the police and we are on our way once again.
    We arrive in Rajeana to a formal greeting by the village elders. 
    Greeting at Rajeana.
    Greeting at Rajeana. 
    This full service eHealthPoint center includes a telemedicine consultation room, diagnostic lab, supply-chain validated pharmacy, and X-ray facility as well as a water point.
    Delegation, village elders, and eHP staff at Rajeana clinic.
    Delegation, village elders, and eHP staff at Rajeana clinic. 
    Ashley Kim with the Rajeana eHP diagnostic lab manager.
    Ashley Kim with the Rajeana eHP diagnostic lab manager.  
    Pharmacy and pharmacist at Rajeana eHealthPoint clinic.
    Pharmacy and pharmacist at Rajeana eHealthPoint clinic. 
    Two NASSCOM Social Innovation Award winners: Anudip CEO Radha Basu and eHealthPoint CEO Amit Jain, at Rajeana. 
    The faculty take a now-repaired bus with a licensed driver to Sukhi’s village, where they are greeted with great fanfare, and spend the night. The rest of the delegation travels to a second eHealthPoint center in Gurusar. 

    Susan and Sherrill with village children after distribution of See’s candies. 
    SCU Trustee and Center Advisory Board member Bill Carter consults with the eHealthPoint physician by telemedicine.
    SCU Trustee and Center Advisory Board member Bill Carter consults with the eHealthPoint physician by telemedicine. 
    We visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar during night prayers. We feel ignorant about the Sikh faith, and learn as we see the rituals and hear beautiful song.  
    Golden Temple, Amritsar.
    Golden Temple, Amritsar. 
    Friday, February 24
    Friday morning, we fly back to Delhi, and after lunch nearly half the delegation departs for a shopping excursion, returning successfully before our farewell dinner at the Oberoi.
    Satyan Mishra, Founder of Drishtee (GSBI '06) and eHealthPoint CEO Amit Jain, as well as his son – a prospective SCU student – join us to celebrate a transformational collective learning experience in social justice. 

    Farewell dinner. Amit’s son is to the far left and Satyan is between Thane and Sherrill. 
    We hope you've enjoyed this series as much as we enjoyed visiting our amazing alumni in India


  •  Laureate Feature: Games for Change (G4C)

    Friday, Mar. 2, 2012

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    Who: Asi Burak & Michelle Byrd, Co-Presidents

    What: Games for Change:

    Where: Headquarters in New York City, NY. Impacting: Globally

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Microsoft Education Award Laureate:

    How: Games for Change brings together organizations and individuals from the social impact sector, government, media, academia, the gaming industry and the arts to create and distribute social impact games.

  •  Faculty & Executive Social Benefit Immersion Trip to India: Part 1

    Thursday, Mar. 1, 2012
    Since its founding the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) has promoted the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities around the world. The Center continues to work with diverse social entrepreneurs who are using innovation and entrepreneurship to build appropriate and sustainable organizations that directly impact underserved populations. Our expertise and network enabled us to create a trip for Santa Clara University faculty and Executives to facilitate in-depth experiences with communities at the forefront of innovation in India. 
    Sunday, February 19
    All 12 of our Santa Clara University delegation arrived in Kolkata by today, via Dubai, Frankfurt, or Bangkok. 

    The afternoon is devoted to immersion in the City of Joy, with visits to the Victoria Memorial; St. John’s Church; an obelisk commemorating the black hole of Kolkata, as described in Dipak Basu’s A Flight of Green Parrots; and the Mother Teresa Center, where Fr. Reites takes communion.  

    At the Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

    At the Victoria Memorial, Kolkata. From left: Fr. Jim Reites, S.J.; Thane Kreiner; Ashley Kim; Silvia Figueria; Susan and Bill Carter; Suki Singh; Larry Hambly; Sherrill Dale; Ruth Davis; Hohyun Lee.
    Larry Hambly asks our guide questions along the Ganges in Kolkata.
    Larry Hambly asks our guide questions along the Ganges in Kolkata.
    Thane, Hohyun, and Fr. Reites outside Mother Teresa Center in Kolkata.
    Thane, Hohyun, and Fr. Reites outside Mother Teresa Center in Kolkata.
    The largest Communist rally in several years attracts fewer participants than organizers expect, minimally affecting traffic but affording us some great photo ops.
    Communist rally in Kolkata
    Communist rally in Kolkata.
    A welcome reception is followed by dinner is at a terrific Bengali restaurant, Aaheli; Fulbright Fellow Preeta Banerjee of Brandeis joins us this evening and through the day on Monday.

    The Carters celebrate with a birthday/anniversary cake at Aaheli; it is neither their anniversary nor either of their birthdays!
    Monday, February 20
    We visit Metiabruz, an Anudip (GSBI '04) MERIT Center in a minority Muslim community. Many of the young women are delighted that we have returned. They pepper the School of Engineering faculty and our Advisory Board members with questions, and demonstrate a strong working knowledge of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions.
    On the bus to Metiabruz, with Preeta Banerjee, Fulbright Scholar from Brandeis.
    On the bus to Metiabruz, with Preeta Banerjee, Fulbright Scholar from Brandeis.
    Anudip team and SCU delegation at Metiabruz MERIT Center
    Anudip team and SCU delegation at Metiabruz MERIT Center with the prestigious NASSCOM Social Innovation Prize recently won by Anudip.
    Several hours later and picking up Madukhar Shukla of XLRI, we arrive at a rural MAST (Market Aligned Skills Training) Center in Gocharan, where we are warmly greeted by faculty and students; they shower us with handmade gifts. Anudip’s partner at this Center is Alor Pathe.

    Dipak Basu at Anudip’s Gocharan MAST Center in partnership with Alor Pathe. 
    Driving back into Kolkata, we visit GSBI 2011 alum Piyush Jaju of ONergy, which focuses on last mile distribution of solar home systems and other solar products. A demonstration is followed by wonderful homemade appetizers prepared by Mrs. Jaju, who also opens her fabric shop to our fruitful attentions. 

    ONergy demonstration site in Kolkata; Piyush Jaju, Co-Founder is in the doorway, and Madukar Shukla is in the front. 
    Preeta, Madukhar, and Fr. Xavier of Xavier University join us for a Thai dinner at the hotel. 
    Tuesday, February 21
    Departing early, we fly to Patna, the capital of Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. A heavy lunch fortifies us for the 4+ hour drive to cover approximately 115 km to a Husk Power Systems (GSBI '09, Tech Awards '10) site in time to see the village light up. The villagers remember Thane and Sherrill from 2011. 
    fr. Reites atop the rice husk feeding tower
    Fr. Reites atop the rice husk feeding tower. 
    Husk Power Systems site visit.
    Husk Power Systems site visit. 
    Jim Reites, Silvia Figueria, Ashley Kim, and Ruth Davis at Husk Power Systems in Bihar.
    Jim Reites, Silvia Figueria, Ashley Kim, and Ruth Davis at Husk Power Systems in Bihar. 
    We drive back arriving at the hotel quite late.                                    
    The journey continues next week in part 2 of this blog series!
  •  Laureate Feature: Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Foundation (WAND)

    Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

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    Who: Cora Zayas Sayre, Executive Director

    What: Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Foundation (WAND):

    Where: Philippines

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Intel Environment Award Laureate:

    How: WAND has developed a low-cost composting toilet using local materials called Ecosan, which prevents water contamination and the spread of disease while producing valuable fertilizer from human waste. In the Philippines, 20 million people have inadequate access to sustainable sanitation.

  •  Laureate Feature: Ecotrust - Marine Map

    Friday, Feb. 17, 2012

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    Who: Astrid J. Scholz, Ph.D, Ecotrust VP

    What: Ecotrust,

    Where: United States

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Intel Environment Award Laureate:

    How: Ecotrust builds collaborative solutions enabling stakeholders, communities and agencies to make better decisions about natural resources—MarineMap is an example. Our approach combines the use of knowledge, technology, and capital to create resilient ecosystems and coastal communities. More than 50% of the world’s population lives within 50 miles of the ocean, and in many parts of the world rely on the ocean to make their living.

  •  Re-designing Gift Giving

    Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012

    On Monday February 6th, 16 engineering students gathered in the new Frugal Lab for design challenge co-hosted by the Frugal Innovation Lab and Engineers Without Borders

    Their challenge: to redesign the gift giving experience for their partner. The students were guided through an introduction to the design thinking process by a fast-paced, self-contained video produced by the Stanford

    The goal: make the lives of the people they’re designing for better. The process emphasizes prototyping, sharing unfinished products, and iterative interviewing skills to best learn how to empathize with the person for whom you design. Design thinking draws on methods from engineering and design, and combines them with the arts, the social sciences, and the business world.

    The students in attendance are all working on projects to benefit society. Some do this through their senior design work or through their extracurricular participation with the Engineers Without Borders.

    While the challenge of redesigning the gift giving experience was rather abstract, in the discussion following the activity students commented on the elements of design thinking process such as interviewing and collecting feedback early and often, that are pertinent for their current projects as well as to their mindfulness as designers.

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