Center for Science, Technology, and Society, News page

  •  Laureate Feature: Whiz Kids Workshop

    Friday, May. 11, 2012

    2010 Young Laureates Programme. The team of Whiz kids workshop, at their office, Gerji district. From the left to the right: Ajaeb Ahmed, Tewodros Ambaye, Shane (Bruktawit's husband) Etzenhouser, Bruktawit Tigabu, Hanna Belayneh, Marcos Tesfaye, Biniyam Mulugeta, Amina Abdella. | Want to see more photos? Visit our Facebook Page! 

    Who: Shane Etzenhouser & Bruktawit Tigabu, Co-Founders

    What: Whiz Kids Workshop:

    Where: Ethiopia

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Microsoft Education Award Laureate:

    How: Whiz Kids Workshop provides education through children’s television and mass-media programs reaching millions. Their programs are built on research, culturally relevant, available in local languages, and are internationally recognized for quality and educational value. 78% of Ethiopian children enroll in grade 1, but only 45% of those who enroll are still in attendance by the end of the first year. Of those who remain in school, half will have a zero reading comprehension level by the end of grade 2.

  •  Laureate Feature: The Kommunity Desk Company

    Friday, May. 4, 2012

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    Who: Shane Immelman, Founder

    What: The Kommunity Desk Company:

    Where: Africa

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award Laureate:

    How: The Kommunity Desk is a robust, lightweight and ergonomically designed portable desk that offers a proven solution to the prevailing challenge of classroom desk shortages in African classrooms. There were 95 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa who attend school without the benefit of a classroom desk.

  •  Laureate Feature: Universal Subtitles

    Friday, Apr. 27, 2012

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    Who: Dean Jansen, Director of Outreach and Business development

    What: Universal Subtitles:

    Where: Headquarters in Boston, MA, USA. Impacting: Globally

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award Laureate:

    How: Universal Subtitles is a powerful, open source software platform that allows any organization or volunteer to add captions and translations to any web video. It empowers hundreds of millions of people around the world to watch subtitled videos.

  •  Laureate Feature: Awaaz.De

    Friday, Apr. 20, 2012

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    Who: Neil Patel, Co-Founder & CEO

    What: Awaaz.De:

    Where: Headquarters in Gujarat, India, and Berkeley, CA, Impacting: India

    When: The Tech Awards 2011: Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award Laureate

    How: Awaaz.De makes knowledge creation, access, and sharing available to everyone in any language through a social media platform that leverages the ubiquity of mobile phones and the expressivity of voice. Awaaz.De reaches the 3 billion of the world population currently disconnected from the Internet with mobile phones.

  •  Framing Dignity

    Monday, Apr. 16, 2012

    Whirlwind Wheelchair International designs sturdy, low cost wheelchairs that are built and used in developing countries. Whirlwind has trained wheelchair users and community members for 25 years on how to build and repair these wheelchairs in local workshops using locally available materials. Unlike the traditional wheelchairs designed for a hospital, the Roughrider is tough enough to negotiate the bumpy surfaces of rural and slum environments, where typical chairs tip over. They apply technologies from US mountain bikes to help people who are socially excluded in the developing world. Whirlwind extends its innovations through a network of social enterprises and local organizations. Whirlwind Wheelchair International graduated from the GSBI in 2006.

     Our GSBI alumni are restless. They are not content with the innovations they brought to GSBI. They continue to improve, invent, and imagine. To match that spirit, the Center has just launched the Global Social Benefit Fellowship. Santa Clara University undergraduates work with GSBI alumni to learn from them and to support them with research. In early April, two Global Social Benefit Fellows visited Whirlwind Wheelchair’s headquarters in San Francisco to discover how they might help this international organization.

     Whirlwind is expanding its mission from providing a service to those excluded by society, to providing an entrepreneurial framework for those same people to start their own microbusiness. To do this, they are applying what they have learned about rugged wheelchairs to the creation of adult-sized tricycles that can carry small goods for sale, such as stamps, snacks, drinks, or lottery tickets. Push-cart vending is ubiquitous in the developing world. A trike opens up this economic niche for those unable to walk. This reframes Whirlwind’s strategy: from designing a mobility device --> to creating a microenterprise platform so that the socially excluded can earn an income.
    Keoke King, director of marketing at Whirlwind, demonstrates where micro-entrepreneurs will carry their goods for sale on a very early prototype of the tricycle
    Aaron Wieler, director of R&D at Whirlwind, explains the research opportunities
    This is where our fellows, Nate Funkhouser and Stella Tran, can help. Microfinance institutions usually make smaller loans than the price of a tricycle, but if Whirlwind can make the case for extending credit to potential buyers, then this innovation could really take off. Microcredit is extended to those who want to buy push-carts, so why not for a mobility device plus microenterprise platform? Nate and Stella will investigate the economic landscape of push-carts, trikes, and microfinance, and research the best ways to make a business case for these kinds of loans.

    Whirlwind challenges us to recognize that those who cannot walk can still live a life of dignity. They often cannot do this on their own, but technology can help. The physical framework of the trike provides a platform for the disabled to participate in the economic life of their society. Our task now is to reframe the thinking of economic institutions so that they can fulfill the potential of this technology to extend dignity to aspiring entrepreneurs.

    For a great video on Whirlwind Wheelchair International watch: 

    Keith Douglass Warner OFM is a San Francisco native, a Franciscan Friar, and the   director of Education in the Center. 



    Nate and Stella investigate the functionality of the roughrider
  •  Laureate Feature: E HealthPoint

    Friday, Apr. 13, 2012

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    Who: Amit Jain, Co-Founder & President

    What: E HealthPoint:

    Where: India

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Nokia Health Award Laureate:

    How: E HealthPoint’s clinics deliver improved health and productivity to low income populations in India using broadband wireless to provide affordable point-of-care medical services and clean drinking water facilities. This innovation is estimated to benefit more that 200 million people.

  •  Careers in Social Entrepreneurship

    Tuesday, Apr. 10, 2012
    This post is a preview of tonight's panel discussion co-sponsored with the SCU Alumni Association and Career Center. You can find event information here.
    Social Entrepreneurs apply the principles of entrepreneurship to create social change. They think innovatively about how to improve health, increase access to technology and education, refine agricultural or building practices, or utilize sustainable energy.
    Tonight’s panelists offer a diverse range of perspectives on the world of social entrepreneurship. The groups operate in different sectors, different countries and with different business models. The speakers themselves hold different positions within these groups, and come from very different backgrounds, including finance, engineering, and program development.

    Andy Lieberman- CSTS: Online Program Director
    The mission of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) is to promote the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities worldwide, primarily by working with socially-minded entrepreneurs. The Center implements its mission through its signature program, the Global Social Benefit Incubator, the Frugal Innovation Lab, and its numerous educational and public engagement activities.
    Andy Lieberman manages the GSBI Online program, the Clean Energy Sector program, the Tech Awards laureate programming, and the CSTS social enterprise metrics database. He uses his background in technology, education and international development to help social enterprises increase their reach and impact. He has received awards from the United Nation’s World Summit on Information and Society and The Tech Awards, and also participated in the Global Social Benefit Incubator.

    Ellen Metzger - Village Enterprise: Operations Supervisor
    Village Enterprise helps equip those in a cycle of poverty with the tools they need to start an income generating business. Their programming focuses on helping these entrepreneurs throughout the whole process to build long-lasting businesses: they provide a start-up grant, ongoing training and mentoring, and a business savings program.
    Ellen Metzger is the Operations Supervisor at Village Enterprise. She comes from a background in Finance and Accounting, with a particular interest in development and micro-finance

    Gemma Bulos - Global Woman’s Water Initiative: Director
    GWWI trains women in Africa to become community leaders for safe, clean water.  They provide technical training on how to build simple water harvesting, treatment and toilet technologies, as well as the tools to educate their communities about safe water practices.
    Gemma Bulos is one of the co-founders of GWWI.  Her background includes developing innovative programming for income generating projects, participating in the creation of several successful NGOs, and extensive travel. Before becoming Director at GWWI, Gemma was the Founder/Executive Directer of A Single Drop (USA) and Founding Director of a Single Drop for Safe water in the Philippines. She has been recognized nationally and internationally for her social entrepreneurship work, and her integration of technology in social change.

    Jacob Schultz - Kiva: Fellows Program Manager
    Kiva believes that everyone--even those in most remote locations--should have the power to create opportunity for themselves and others. Kiva uses the internet and their network of micro-finance institution partners to connect lenders and entrepreneurs worldwide. The Kiva Fellows are the volunteers who collect the stories, photos, and updates from the entrepreneurs, bringing their stories to life for lenders, while simultaneously providing invaluable information to the local micro-finance institutions.
    Jacob Schultz is the Fellows Program Manager.
    whirlwind wheelchair

    Marc Krizack - Whirlwind Wheelchair International
    Whirlwind Wheelchair International is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities in the developing world while also promoting sustainable local economic development in the process. They are committed to building all-purpose wheelchairs that are durable and locally repairable, making them truly useful to riders in the developing-world.
    Marc Krizack, Director of Operations, helped establish Russia’s first independent living center, first university level disabled students program and first university level orientation and mobility (for blind people) teacher preparation program.

    Mathias Craig - blueEnergy Group: Executive Director
    blueEnergy Group uses four distinct but complementary programs that aim to provide access to power, water, and other services in the most challenging contexts. Their Holistic Community Development Program coordinates partnerships between communities, the government, education and the public and private sectors to identify and address needs in individual areas; the Global Leadership Program gives individuals the tools they need to implement their own social entrepreneurship goals; the Renovables Program is working on developing Nicaragua’s abundant renewable energy potential; and their WindEmpowerment program is a global association working for locally built wind turbines.
    Mathias Craig is the Executive Director of blueEnergy. He founded the group in 2003 and has a background of over seven years of experience working with wind energy. He has also spent time living in Latin America, and obtained degrees in both Civil and Environmental Engineering. At blueEnergy he contributes administrative, programmatic and fundraising leadership.
    digital divide data

    Michael Chertock - Digital Divide Data: Chief Development Officer
    Digital Divide Data increases the value of data by making it more easily available to all by transferring it online, on mobile devices, and in information systems. Moreover, DDD recruits highschool students trapped in a cycle of poverty, providing opportunity through training, employment, and schooling. By doing so, they simultaneously build human resources and management capacities, fueling the economy in the communities that DDD serves.
    A co-founder and former Board Chair, Michael is Chief Development Officer for DDD. He has an extensive background in both development and philanthropy, serving as the Program Officer in the Global Development in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; as a consultant in philanthropy and international development for private foundations and donors; acting as the co-founder and Managing Director of Global Catalyst Foundation; managing the philanthropy arm of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm; and helping to start Schools Online.

    Sam Baker -Not For Sale: Business Development
    Not for Sale combines technology, intellectual capital, abolitionist groups, and a growing network of individuals to create a comprehensive response to human trafficking and slavery. Not For Sale spreads knowledge and inspires action by creating tools that can be used by a wide variety of groups--students, businesses, individuals--to donate their skills to the cause.
    Sam guides the expansion of Not For Sale's social enterprise initiatives, which focus on empowering survivors of trafficking and at-risk communities. With a business education and experience as an entrepreneur in Central America, Sam enjoys working through the daily challenges of integrating social impact and business. Whether in the garment industry in Cambodia or indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon, Not For Sale's business team is dedicated to modeling businesses that encourage economic freedom over dependence.

    Whitfeild Fowler - Driptech Inc.: Director of Engineering
    Driptech is an international water technologies company. Their mission is to alleviate poverty by creating affordable, water efficient irrigation solutions for small-plot farmers in developing nations. With this technology, priced 50% lower that the nearest competition,  the small-plot farmers can increase their yields 20-50%, with while decreasing labor and expenditures.
    As the Engineering Manager at Driptech, Whit leads the engineering and product development efforts there.  In addition, he is a visiting lecturer in the subject of Design For Manufacturability for Stanford University's Mechanical Engineering department and for Keio University's Graduate School of System Design and Management (in Japan). Prior to his present positions, Whit worked in jobs involving mechanical engineering or reliability for several other organizations on the west coast and in the midwest including Velkess, SunPower, Bloom Energy, GE Infrastructure - Aviation, GE Healthcare, and Logic Product Development.  He completed a Ph.D. (2009) and  M.S. (2005) in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford. 

  •  Laureate Feature: Sarvajal

    Friday, Apr. 6, 2012

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    Who: Anand Shah, Co-Founder & CEO

    What: Sarvajal:

    Where: India

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Nokia Health Award Laureate:

    How: Sarvajal enlists local entrepreneurs as Sarvakal Franchisees to operate and distribute water locally through delivery or through “water ATMs” in their villages from company-owned filtration units. They support franchisees centrally by providing maintenance, marketing and back-end operations support. This model allows them to grow quickly and innovate locally.

  •  Laureate Feature: WE CARE Solar

    Friday, Mar. 30, 2012

    Want to see more photos? Visit our Facebook Page!

    Who: Laura Stachel & Hal Aronson, Co-Founders

    What: WE CARE Solar:

    Where: Headquarters in Berkeley, CA. Impacting: Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Burma, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Haiti

    When: The Tech Awards 2011 Nokia Health Award Laureate:

    How: Our Solar Suitcase is a simple, portable, self-contained solar electric system providing reliable light and power to health workers and others in need. 1.6 billion people in the developing world live without electricity. This includes more than 300,00 health clinics that cannot provide 24-hour emergency care, hospitals in need of back-up power.

  •  Laureate Feature: Eko India Financial Services

    Friday, Mar. 23, 2012

    Want to see more photos? Visit our Facebook Page!

    Who: Abhishek Sinha, Co-Founder and CEO

    What: Eko India Financial Services:

    Where: India

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

    How: Eko facilitates money transfer, deposit, withdrawal and bank account opening services at next-door retail shops using number dialing on basic mobile phones for low income and financially excluded people.


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