On The Ground


Healthcare for the Forgotten: Sehat First in Chashma Goth

DSC00684.JPGThis past Saturday, Sehat First held an inauguration ceremony for its first health clinic in the village of Chashma Goth, a remote fishing village on the coastal outskirts of Karachi.

Sehat First is a social enterprise that provides quality health consultation services and pharmacy services to lower income communities. Each clinic provides healthcare support to patients using an e-sehat (health) tele-consulting application that remotely links up doctors and specialists with their patients via the Internet.

Remote. That is what really resonated when I saw the location of the village. Even though it was only thirty minutes outside Karachi, the population was sparse with limited access to many social services like health facilities and education centers. These are the forgotten communities where ghost health units and primary schools are established and then neglected.

This point was further reinforced when Ms. Zahara Khan, Sehat First’s CEO, made her welcoming remarks at the ceremony. There is a strong need for access to doctors and lower cost medicines, especially in Pakistan where the number of available doctors per patient is incredibly low. In this scenario she says, “It is imperative to use emerging technologies to connect healthcare providers in far flung areas with medical experts in urban centers.” In this rural community where access to emergency services in non-existent, Sehat First is providing primary healthcare, post-natal care and innovative links to medical specialists.

While the main innovation of Sehat First remains its tele-health kiosk linking patients to doctors, what will really make this enterprise go the distance is its financially sustaining business model. Sehat First pairs a basic health facility with a pharmacy and a small general store that carries simple household goods. And while the main draw for the community are the health services, the accompanying general store help drive revenues with the potential to make the clinic center financially viable. This will be a learning experience for Sehat First and Acumen Fund on unique business models that operate in challenging environments.


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]