Archive for Africa

Using Mobile Manners

A recent article in The Economist profiled mPedigree, an incredible cell phone service available in Ghana and Nigeria that can verify if the drug you just bought is legitimate or counterfeit. A consumer buys the drugs, scratches off a panel and texts the code to a computer system that verifies it.

This is just one in the growing line of services being offered to poor consumers via their mobile phone. As the number of mobile subscribers in developing countries skyrockets, companies are clamoring to invent these types of services.

There’s no argument against the fact that services reaching the BoP through cell phones can be effective, cheap and useful, but in order to tailor services for this segment, thinking about how exactly people use their cell phones is key. A recent study carried out in Gambia gives an insight into just how people use—and want to use—their cell phones. » Continue reading “Using Mobile Manners”

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Focus on Africa

Dear Reader,

A continent of promises, bestowed with natural resources, human capital, amazing landscapes and more, Africa is also a land of controversies and hardships.

The current economic situation of its nations and people do not reflect the sheer bounty gifted to it by nature. The continent grapples with issues in health, food and education. As in many other developing countries, on a day-to-day basis, the average African is faced with meeting his/her basic needs, and building a sustainable livelihood.

Africa is an oft-misunderstood continent. Plagued with a long history of low self-esteem and economic and socio-political trials, tremendous effort is currently needed from individuals ready to focus on being mediators between African citizens, and the prospects for growth and development. Social entrepreneurs working in Africa have donned the mantle of being the custodian of people’s hopes and, in the near future, will hopefully bring about the paradigm shift essential for Africa’s survival and progress.

Chesta Shah

Managing Editor » Continue reading “Focus on Africa”

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Lazarus in Africa

This story originally appeared in our January 27, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

The 2010 documentary The Lazarus Effect shows how two pills costing just US$0.40 per day can transform the lives of people living with AIDS. It also highlights the need for enterprises operating in the medical delivery space in Africa.

Miracle of Lazarus

Every day 3,800 people die of AIDS in Africa. By the end of 2009, 22.5 million people were living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa- including 2.3 million children.

In the bible, Jesus Christ brought Lazarus back to life four days after his death. In today’s world, the miracle of Lazarus has assumed a new significance for people living with AIDS. Very simply, the Lazarus effect is the physical transformation an AIDS patient undergoes after having access to antiretroviral (ARV) medication. In as few as 40 days, a person can reclaim stronger health and lead a more productive life. Life-saving ARV medications cost as little as US$0.40 per day. » Continue reading “Lazarus in Africa”

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Incubation Supports Youthful Endeavors

This story originally appeared in our January 27, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

The Technology Business Incubation program at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology in Rwanda assists graduates and their fledgling businesses.

What exactly does the Technology Business Incubation Facility do?

RA: We are assisting young college graduates to start their own business in the area of technology. We provide the incubation: mentoring, coaching, information sharing and advice. We also provide funding for young graduates so they can start their own businesses—start-up capital. » Continue reading “Incubation Supports Youthful Endeavors”

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Leading African Social Entrepreneurs

This story originally appeared in our January 27, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

These are five of the top social entrepreneurs currently working in Africa.

By Dipika Prasad

Issac Durojaiye

Founder of the first mobile toilet service in Nigeria. Durojaiye started Dignified Mobile Toilets (DMT) in the late 1990s. Today, each DMT toilet services 100 people at a cost of US$0.10 (INR 5) per person and generates US$15 (INR 680) in revenue per day. Of this, 60% goes to the toilet manager and rest to DMT. » Continue reading “Leading African Social Entrepreneurs”

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Data — Focus on Africa

This story originally appeared in our January 27, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

By Abby Callard and Nisha Kumar Kulkarni

By The Numbers


Percentage of African population between the ages of 15 and 24.

350 million

The estimated number of youth aged 15 to 24 in Africa by 2050. » Continue reading “Data — Focus on Africa”

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How to Teach a Nation

This story originally appeared in our January 27, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Educate! will create the first social enterprise curriculum to be scaled to a national level.

When Jean Paul Amani was fleeing the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) he found a young girl named Alice Munguiko. He carried her across the border to Uganda. In 2006, both Amani and Munguiko were recipients of scholarships from Educate!, an educational foundation based in Colorado and Uganda.

Today, Amani volunteers with Think Humanity, a US-based organization working to improve the lives of refugees in Africa in the Kyangwali refugee camp in Uganda. Along with several other refugees and fellow Educate! students, he started COBURWAS. COBURWAS, a community organization, partnered with Think Humanity to build an orphanage, counsel members of the community and raise money to send more than 30 students to school. » Continue reading “How to Teach a Nation”

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Ignoring the Youth

This story originally appeared in our January 27, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Thirty percent of the population in 92 countries are young people between the ages 10 and 24. Policy-makers need to take notice.

In 2003, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) conducted its first analysis of young people’s feedback to national poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs). At that time, it was discovered that approximately 55% of PRSPs consulted young people in strategy development. In 2010, only 33% of PRSPs consulted young people.

The UNFPA’s 2010 paper The Case for Investing in Young People as part of a National Poverty Reduction Strategy emphasizes the case for why youth involvement in poverty reduction strategy is essential in developing countries. A telling indicator is that more than 30% of all PRSPs do not recognize youth as a group in poverty at all. However, today’s statistics emphasize the legitimacy of youth poverty: of the 1.8bn young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world, about 550m live on less than US$2 (Rs 90) per day. Why then is the youth demographic being ignored? » Continue reading “Ignoring the Youth”

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Door-to-Door Healthcare

This story originally appeared in our January 27, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Living Goods is bringing affordable healthcare products to the homes of residents throughout Uganda.

By Jonathan Kalan

“Hold on. I think [Gertrude] has stopped to sell some drugs,” said Betty, the Kawempe Branch Manager for Living Goods.  I stopped for a moment to check my surroundings. Normally, hearing that in an African slum would make me feel slightly uncomfortable. But not this time. I was in Tule, a slum in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala, shadowing Living Goods Community Health Promoter (CHP) Gertrude Nambaliwa as she made her daily rounds checking on newborn infants and selling health products to her community. » Continue reading “Door-to-Door Healthcare”

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Ayllu redesigns IUmap global social enterprise directory

This post is part of our ongoing partnership with GOOD Magazine. Post by Alex Goldmark of GOOD Magazine.

A directory of social enterprises around the world is getting bigger and easier to use, coming closer to being a central repository for market-based solutions to poverty. That’s something that could greatly help networking, academic study, best practices and fundraising.

The directory, iuMAP, collects and displays data on over 450 social enterprises, letting you search for them by name, or by country, legal structure of the organization, issue area—health, transportation, energy for example—or by funder. Like other data visualization and mapping sites it also gives a clearer picture of what kinds of organizations are where. See the screen grab above to see how Kenya and India just have a higher density of bottom of the pyramid organizations. » Continue reading “Ayllu redesigns IUmap global social enterprise directory”

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