Acumen Blog

1560628_10151883361755069_1352169843_n

Fellows in Focus: Asim Janjua

Asim is a Global Fellow working in Bahawalpur City, Pakistan with National Rural Support Program Microfinance Bank (NRSP Bank), which supplies financial services for rural communities in Pakistan. Below is a reflection and photographs from his time visiting a self-sufficient community Yazman, Pakistan.

I spent the day visiting local villages, fields and schools in Yazman. Yazman, is a city and capital of Yazman Tehsil of Bahawalpur District, in southern Punjab, Pakistan. It is famous for its desert Cholistan.

1795736_10151883364635069_489423320_n

As we meander through dusty desert tracks, the burning smell of the cotton branch lingers in the air, an oddly pleasant smell that is becoming all too familiar.

The villages are hidden away from the surrounding city, I’m surprised that people actually live in what seems to be barren desert land. Their source of sustenance is water from wells, livestock and the astonishing green pastures that grow in the desert. Life is simple and people are happy in what appears to be the middle of nowhere.
1509919_10151883365065069_2060976828_n
Micro-loans, books and other materials have empowered locals to build a classroom and provide grassroots education to their own children. I ask one child why he wants to study. He replies in his native Saraiki language:

“…without studying there is no izzat…” (‘Izzat’ is a Hindi-Urdu word that loosely translates to ‘honor’ or ‘respect’). I ask why he wants izzat. “…so I can go to university and make my father proud…”

1560628_10151883361755069_1352169843_n

Without government support, these local elders are school teachers by day, fathers by night, farmers on the weekend, and lifelong heroes to their children. The dignity that education provides is nothing less than magic. Witnessing this type of self-sufficiency is truly inspiring and uplifting. It has been a delightful day in Yazman.

1601152_10151883362215069_1738887032_n

Comments

Reflections on the India Fellows Seminar

Each year, the India Fellows Program brings together up to 20 emerging leaders from different regions, sectors, and socio-economic backgrounds in India. During the fellowship year, Fellows remain in their jobs and meet every 6-8 weeks throughout the year for 4 seminars and 2 collaborative projects, each about a week long. As the India Fellows Associate, Jacqui is responsible for supporting all aspects of the program recruitment, logistics, marketing and strategic planning. Below, Jacqui reflects on the first seminar, Foundations of Leadership. You can read more about the fellowship program here[Read More]

Adaptive Leadership in Action: Addressing Cultural Norms & Giving Women a Voice

In the fall of 2013, +Acumen launched the course Adaptive Leadership: Mobilizing for Change in partnership with the Cambridge Leadership Associates. This course is for anyone who wants to become more effective at leading their organization through change. Below, one of the course participants shared her story about how this course impacted her work and ability to affect change. [Read More]

Making Sense of Social Impact in Action: The Value of Educating Our Youth

At Acumen, one of the most common questions we get is how we measure social impact. Our newest +Acumen course – Making Sense of Social Impact: Acumen’s Building Blocks for Impact Analysis. – will provide an entry point for how to think about impact and we’ll share frameworks that help us define what to measure and why. Makoto Matsuura, founder of cobon a not-for-profit focused on youth education in Jakarta, Indonesia and Osaka, Japan, took a pilot version of this course and shared his reflections with us. [Read More]

Good news for philanthropists in the U.K. and Europe

We are excited to announce that Acumen now holds a CAF Charitable Trust in the United Kingdom. CAF, the Charities Aid Foundation, is a registered U.K. charity. By donating to Acumen through CAF, you can use Gift Aid if the amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax you’ve paid for the tax year in which you make your donation is at least equal to the amount of basic rate tax  [the charity or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and any other charities or CASCs] you donate to will reclaim on your gift. CAF will reclaim 25% Gift Aid from HM Revenue & Customs and pass this through to Acumen.  The donor can claim higher rate tax relief (for more information, please refer to CAF’s online resource, What Is Gift Aid?). [Read More]

d.light Leaders Named 2014 Social Entrepreneurs of the Year

We are thrilled for our portfolio company d.light and Donn Tice, Chairman and CEO, along with cofounders Ned Tozun, President, and Sam Goldman, Chief Customer Officer, for being named Social Entrepreneurs of the year 2014 by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. d.light is a for-profit social enterprise that manufactures and distributes solar lighting and power products with primary markets in the developing world, today announced that d.light, along with 37 other individuals and organizations in the 2014 class, will be fully integrated into the events and initiatives of the World Economic Forum. [Read More]