Our World


Changemakers Maternal Health Competition

Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth recently announced a new competition for innovative solutions for maternal health. The Young Champions of Maternal Health Program will use the Changemakers online platform to identify 16 young leaders from around the world who will win a trip to the Maternal Health Change Summit in India and spend nine months working abroad on a maternal health project, mentored by an Ashoka Fellow. Additionally, maternal health organizations can enter to win one of three $5,000 in-kind Changemakers prizes.

Each year 536,000 women die of complications during pregnancy or childbirth – that’s around 1 death per minute. What’s astonishing is that 99% of these deaths are in developing countries. Most of the complications, such as post-partum hemorrhage, infections, eclampsia and prolonged or obstructed labor, that lead to death or severe injury can be prevented or treated with quality reproductive health services.While improving maternal health is one of the Millennium Development Goals, not enough progress has been made. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that maternal mortality has decreased at an average of less than 1% annually. The world needs more solutions.

At Acumen Fund, we’ve seen the difference that innovative business models can make in making quality reproductive care accessible to those who do not receive adequate care from the public sector and cannot afford to go to a private hospital. We’ve invested in LifeSpring Hospitals, a network of low-cost, high-quality maternal and child healthcare hospitals in India. LifeSpring’s services include prenatal and postnatal care, normal and caesarean deliveries and family planning services, at prices that are 30-50% below market rates. Since our investment, LifeSpring has grown from 1 hospital to 9 hospitals, and has provided quality, dignified care to approximately 80,000 patients.

If you have an innovative idea that has the potential to change the field of maternal health, now is the time to share it. The deadline for ideas is March 3, 2010, and winners will be announced on June 16th.


Announcing a New Investment: SolarNow

Acumen is pleased to announce a $1.4 million investment in SolarNow, a company that sells and finances solar home systems in Uganda. We sat down with Shuaib Siddiqui, Acumen’s Portfolio Director to learn more about the deal and why he’s excited about this innovative company. [Read More]

Letter from Jacqueline: My Week in Ghana

I am writing on a return flight from Ghana. The country has not seen a single case of Ebola, yet the impact of fear is profound. As travelers enter the country, attendants screen for high temperatures. Hand sanitizer dispensers are omnipresent. Hotels and conferences have seen massive cancellations. Everywhere are constant reminders of our fragility and the strength of our connectedness. [Read More]

Six online courses we’re taking this year

+Acumen’s free online courses are a great way to learn tools that will help you develop both professionally and personally. Whether you are a social entrepreneur who wants to market to your customers or a young professional that wants to strengthen your leadership skills, we are offering six courses this Fall that will help you develop the tools, knowledge, and networks to change the way the world tackles poverty. [Read More]

Four Emerging Leaders Building the Future of Pakistan

With 60% of Pakistan’s population living under less than a dollar a day, the external narrative of Pakistan is characterised by what the country lacks; a lack of security, a lack of women’s rights, a lack of access to education, and the list goes on. What this narrative ignores are the individuals who work tirelessly to plug those gaps. From human rights to education to food security, Acumen Pakistan Fellows are affecting change through organizations committed to tackling poverty. Their work is truly inspiring, promising a hopeful future for Pakistan. Here are four fellows that are building this future for Pakistan and come together periodically to share learning experiences and grow as leaders. Through five seminars, the fellows have strengthened skills of adaptability, communication, empathy and problem solving through listening. If you are committed to creating change in your community, apply now to be an Acumen Pakistan Fellow. The deadline is 29 September. [Read More]

Acumen Partners with AlphaSights to Better Access Global Expertise

In our work investing in social enterprises that deliver critical goods to the poor, there is a substantial amount of work to evaluate each investment opportunity. A critical part of the diligence process, particularly when it comes to emerging markets, is speaking with industry experts who can provide reliable information about sector trends, market dynamics and public policy – all of which affect our evaluation of potential investment opportunities. [Read More]


Our manifesto begins, “it starts by standing with the poor.” Yet for good reasons, the sector has found it challenging to measure which customers are actually being served through social impact investments – getting accurate data on incomes is notoriously difficult and the logistical challenge and cost of conducting surveys in person prohibitive. [Read More]

Questions for Aspiring Leaders

Bavidra Mohan, Acumen’s India Fellows Manager, attended this years Aspen IDEAS festival as a Scholar. The Scholarship program was established to invite guests from around the world to bring a diverse set of experiences, voices and perspectives to the rich conversations that take place at the IDEAS festival each year. [Read More]