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Thursday, Jul. 14, 2011
We just received word from GSBI '09 alumni organization Gifts & Graces that on June 17th, 2011 they received WFTO - Philippines accreditation. The recently launched WFTO - Philippine Certification and Labeling Initiative aims to promote and distinguish Fair Trade products from Filipino producers specifically for the Philippine consumer market.
What is Gifts and Graces all about?
Gifts and Graces, headquartered in the Philippines, has a global presence and is the brand of choice for handcrafted quality gifts made by livelihood communities of marginalized members of society.
Their Mission is to improve the quality of life of marginalized members of society, by providing product development, technical training on enterprise management, and global market access to livelihood communities under the Gifts and Graces brand.
Through a strong partnership with other NGOs and non-profits, and with the help of committed and passionate board of trustees, staff, and supporters who believe in our cause, we help communities and individuals reach their full potential and break free from the cycle of poverty.
What does this new certification mean?
It means that Gifts & Graces abides by the 10 principles of Fair Trade:
1. Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers.
2. Transparency and Accountability
3. Fair Trading practices
4. Payment of a fair price
5. Ensuring no producer is using child labor or forced labor
6. A commitment to non-discrimination, gender equality, and freedom of association
7. Ensuring good working conditions
8. Providing capacity building
9. Promoting Fair Trade
10. Respect for the Environment
Gifts & Graces can now display the WFTO - Philippines label on their products to guarantee that they adhere to social, economic, and environmentally responsible business practices. This is a great achievement for one of our GSBI alumni and we congratulate them!
Visit the Gifts & Graces website to see their product gallery and follow them on facebook!
Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2011
WE CARE Solar, Berkeley locals and GSBI '09 alumni, were recently featured in an article by Earthtechling highlighting their solar suitcase.
WE CARE Solar promotes safe motherhood and reduces maternal mortality in developing regions by providing health workers with reliable lighting, mobile communication, and blood bank refrigeration using solar electricity.
The "WE CARE Solar Suitcase" powers overhead LED lighting, charges cell phones or two-way radios, and includes LED headlamps that come with their own rechargeable batteries. The first deployment of these systems occurred in June 2009. Now these systems have been introduced in 14 countries. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, they were asked to send solar suitcases to aid medical relief teams in tent cities and maternity clinics.
More recently, they were invited to pilot a study of lighting for rural health clinics in Liberia with World Health Organization using the Solar Suitcase. These systems are designed to be user-friendly, robust, durable, and nearly maintenance-free. They can be reproduced and easily installed in existing hospitals and clinics that have unreliable/problematic power systems. Improved surgical lighting, enhanced usage of existing medical equipment, and the establishment of a sustainable telecommunication system is being shown to reduce delays in providing care, and to increase the capacity of health workers to care for patients with obstetric complications. In addition, workers report more confidence in performing skilled care, and no longer fear night duty.
To view the Earthtechling article click here.
WE CARE Solar is also featured on our Energy Map, and spoke at our Map release event last month. You can view their profile, or see pictures from the event.
To learnmore about WE CARE Solar you can visit their website.
Friday, Jun. 24, 2011
GSBI '10 Alum, and clean tech social entreprenuer Daniel Bode was recently interviewed for the following article in his current hometown of Grand Junction, Colorado.
Last January, after Dany had completed his traning at the GSBI, I had the opportunity to travel with him and two other friends to see his organization in action. The four of us came from all over different parts of the US and met at JFK airport for the long flight to Dakar, Senegal.
From his mother's Wednesday evening children's program, to the Malika Monkeys (a skills training program for young Senegalese men), to the numerous jatropha plantations of Mission Goorgoorlu, it wasevident that Dany cared deeply for his home country and was determined to build something that would help the people of his community.
More about the Malika Monkeys
Malika Monkeys is a workshop for young Senegalese men which began in 2000. There are approximately 14 young men in the program who work in various skills. They specialize in djembe drums which are available for sale internationally. You can learn more at: http://www.malikamonkeys.net/
More about Mission Goorgoorlu
Mission Goorgoorlu has developed a locally-produced biofuel outboard engine that easily attaches to native boats and can be used on land as an engine to power other services. Learn more on our CSTS Energy-map: http://energymap-scu.org/mission-goorgoorlu/
Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2011
In a recent topic on Forbes.com the hot topic was frugal innovation. Karl Moore talks about his recent trip to India and the “Jugaad mindset, a Hindi word that in a nutshell refers to making do with what one has to solve one’s problems.”
There are some key points to his article that illustrate the concept of frugal innovation and why it’s valuable.
1. Frugal innovation results in great value: no-frills, good quality, functional products that are also affordable to the customer with modest means.
2. Frugal innovation goes beyond clever R&D. It has a lot to do with process – maximizing the efficiency of the supply chain.
3. No fuel, no capital investment, almost no modern technology, and yet a high quality of service: that’s frugality at its best.
4. The circumstances of the operating environment matters a great deal when it comes to frugal innovation.
To compliment these ideas we have a list of core competencies that are taught in our Frugal Innovation Lab:
- Reliance on local materials and manufacturing
- User-centric design
Frugal Innovation has been part of local organizations and processes for decades, but applying these concepts to technological and multi-national organizations is where it will get interesting. Adopting the paradigm of frugal innovation should create better products with more efficient production and delivery. Overall this paradigm shift has the potential to create a positive impact for millions in underserved markets whether it’s in clean energy, health care, or mobile applications and instrumentation.
By Radha Basu, Regis and Dianne McKenna Professor of Science, Technology and Society at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society Dean's Executive Professor, School of Engineering. Radha served as the Managing Director of the Center for the 2009-2010 academic year.
Learn more about SCU's CSTS Frugal Innovation Intiative:
Friday, Jun. 10, 2011
Mother Earth (GSBI Alumni '08) announced the launch of its in house brand of healthy, organic, chemical-free range of food products named EARTH FOOD. This initiative is launched in association with Sahaja Samrudha, Karnataka’s first farmer producer company. EARTH FOOD launches today, June 10, at the Mother Earth Store, Domlur, Bangalore. In addition, Mother Earth offers fashionable choices in garments and accessories that are natural and stylish as well as sustainable and fair for gifts and home décor that keep India’s green hand skills alive.
Find out more about Mother Earth: http://motherearth.co.in/earthhome