Our World


Seen & Heard – What You Might Be Missing

Seen & Heard is a collection of recent headlines in the news about our world, our work, and the spaces and places in between. In each post, we also share a list of job openings at Acumen Fund and in our sector. Seen & Heard appears twice a month on the blog. For those of you who like keeping a pulse on the latest news as it’s happening, please consider following us on Twitter! Finally, if you have ideas for how we can improve Seen & Heard, please don’t be shy and leave a comment below to let us know. Thanks for reading!


Articles of the Week
AF and AF Family in the News

Other Relevant Articles


Jobs at Acumen Fund

Other Jobs Do you know people on the job market? Tell them about these other opportunities:

Seen & Heard Around Acumen Fund

What you might be missing

September 24 – October 7, 2010

Thanks to those of you who sent along articles for this next Seen & Heard newsletter! Continue to send articles, reports and events to Instead of E-mail and Documents, and if you want to be extra sure something appears here, also e-mail the link to Taylor at tray@acumenfund.org.


· SoCap10 took place this week in San Francisco. JN delivered the keynote address and interviewed with Bloomberg TV.

· Co-Founder of Sun Microsystems and Venture Capitalist, Vinod Khosla, announced that he will set up a new BoP-focused venture fund this year, with plans to encourage high net worth individuals in India to give.

· The 2010 ANDE Annual Conference took place, and the public sector panel echoed some promising attitudes.

Articles of the Week
AF and AF Family in the News

· Applications opened for the 2011-2012 Acumen Fund Fellowship, and will remain open until November 5th. Also check out the promotional video (shared by Blair and Ramil).

· Lots of acclaim for energy investees:

o Husk Power Systems and IDEI were named as Tech Award Laureates 2010 (shared by Raj)

o WIRED Magazine features D.light and GEWP as enterprises effectively using technology for the BoP (shared by Raj)

o Husk Power Systems is a finalist to win $20,000 in the BBC World Challenge! Vote for “Burn after Eating” (shared by Raj)

· Eight creative projects were chosen as winners of The Blue Sweater 500 giveaway competition, and a video was released on the book club in Kenya that inspired the competition (shared by Wei Wei and Lucy)

· GOOD Magazine listed Acumen Fund as one of its Thirty Places We Want to Work (shared by Mariko)

Other Relevant Articles

· ABC News plans a yearlong project investigating global health, backed by Gates Foundation (shared by Michele)

· Gates and Buffet turn sights towards India’s billionaires as targets for the Giving Pledge (shared by Sasha)

· Senator Hillary Clinton presses Pakistan to raise taxes on the wealthy to compliment flood aid (shared by Wei Wei)

· The Guardian reports on water and sanitation in Kenyan slums (shared by Amon)

· Tragedy ensues for Indian women who are tormented to pay off microloans (shared by Yasmin)

· NYTimes reports on India’s digital surveillance plan and how it is deterring business (shared by Aden)

· Following the announcement of seed money for clean-burning cookstoves, The Economist examines health hazards of indoor air pollution (shared by Wei Wei)


· “Power to the People” – A report on the market potential for investing in clean energy for the BoP in rural India (shared by Taylor and Rob)

· Two research reports from the GIIN for Project Terragua – agribusiness and impact investing in Africa (shared by Brian)

· CGAP follows up on the SKS IPO in India and blogs about it (shared by Ami)

· Indian government guidelines for village electrification through Decentralized Distributed Generation (shared by Yasmin)

· A short deck on the landscape for micro, small, and medium enterprises (shared by Rob)

· Deck on legal considerations for hybrid non/for-profit enterprises through the case study of Embrace (confidential, shared by Rob)

· The Acumen Fund Guide to Parenting! A handbook of love for Nadege, attached at bottom of notes (shared by Mariko)

Events and Happenings

· October 11-15 – Fellows Good Society Week (upstate New York)

· October 12 – Investment Committee Meeting

· October 19 – Partner Breakfast

· November 4 – Fellows Case Competition

· November 9 – Investor Gathering


Jobs at Acumen Fund

· India Director

· Pakistan Portfolio Associate

· Innovation Manager

· East Africa Portfolio Manager

· Agriculture Manager

· Pakistan Portfolio Consultant

Other Jobs Do you know people on the job market? Tell them about these other opportunities:

· Chief Executive Officer – GEWP – Aurangabad, IN

· Marketing Consultant and Web Site Volunteer – AyurVAID Hospitals – Banglore, IN (but can work remotely)

· Director of Policy – B-Lab – New York, NY

· Ratings Associate – B-Lab/GIIN – Nairobi, KE

· Production Engineering Manager – Embrace – Banglore, IN

· IT Director –  Root Capial – Cambridge, MA

· Tanzania Country Director – Anza – Arusha/Moshi, TZ

· Ruby Engineer –  Samasource – San Francisco, CA


Imagining the world as it could be

Christine Gitau is an East Africa Fellow and an enterprise coach at Craft Afrika, which provides business support services to craft entrepreneurs, enabling them build viable and thriving businesses in Kenya. At Acumen we often use the term “Moral Imagination” when talking about leadership. Christine wrote a reflection on how this concept has shifted her thinking. We could not be more proud of what she is building! [Read More]

How two Acumen Fellows are disrupting the education model in India

Whether its running youth soccer programs, providing vocational training services, or transforming the education system in India, Acumen India Fellows are driving real change in their communities.  Abbas Dadla and Abhilasha Sinha are India Fellows who are addressing the teacher shortage in India through the use of technology and peer collaboration. Find out what they are building below.  If you have grit, resilience and a commitment to creating change in your community in India, East Africa or Pakistan, we encourage you to apply for the Regional Fellowship Program! [Read More]

Meet Manjushree Patil, Founder of Aatman Academy

This month saw violent tragedies in Pakistan and Kenya, regions where Acumen works and which five classes of Acumen regional fellows call home. Among them there are dedicated teachers like Acumen India Fellow Manjushree Patil, crusaders against sex trafficking, builders of government, creators of liberating mobile medical technologies, and curators of slum sports programs. The need for strengthening the connections between those who are working for positive change against seemingly impossible odds has never been greater. We at Acumen have never been prouder to be the thread tying together these courageous individuals. Read more about Manjushree and how she is changing her community in India below! [Read More]

No, not silence again!

The Acumen Fellowship’s Cambridge Leadership Associates (CLA) training is notorious for digging deep, breaking Fellows down to reveal their deepest fears, identifying the sources of resilience that will fuel them with the tenacity to continue along the path to social change. Kahabi G. Isangula is an East Africa Regional Fellow living in Tanzania and recently participated in our CLA training. Get an idea of what it is like, below!  [Read More]

Announcing the Class of 2015 Acumen Global Fellows

Acumen Global Fellows are architects for the impact sector. They are innovators, game changers, visionaries, with various professional experiences looking to make substantial change in the world. They have thrived in companies such as Google; they have started their own companies in Sri Lanka, Canada and Malaysia.  They are choosing the challenge of working alongside our portfolio companies and immersing themselves in a rigorous leadership training. [Read More]

Welcoming Ajit Mahadevan as Acumen India Country Director

We are pleased to announce that Ajit Mahadevan will be joining Acumen as India Country Director. Ajit joins Acumen from Ernst & Young, where he has served as Advisory Partner & Leader (Life Sciences) for the past six years.  At EY, he was a strategic advisor to the leadership of some of the leading Indian and global life science and healthcare players with the focus being business transformation and growth.  Prior to his time at E&Y, Ajit was President of Piramal Healthcare, one of the leading pharmaceuticals companies in India, where he built the international business from inception in 2002 to $300M by the end of 2008. Ajit held multiple leadership roles across strategy, M&A and business leadership. During his tenure at Accenture’s Strategic Services practice in UK and India, he led the development of one of the firm’s largest and most successful internal projects – the Offshore Development Centre in 2001, which has now grown to about 100,000 people across multiple cities in India. Ajit has worked in an advisory capacity to Acumen in the past, most recently participating in Regional Fellows selection panels in Mumbai. [Read More]

Why We All Need A ‘Rikki’

Caren Wakoli is an emerging leader in East Africa who has launched a foundation to support the next generation of female leaders for Africa. Caren applied twice for the fellowship and was not accepted, but she did not give up. Her resilience and grit allowed her to persevere, and this year we are proud to have her as an East Africa Fellow. Below she shares her story on why everyone needs a ‘Rikki,’ and failure is never final.  [Read More]

Acumen Joins Beyond the Grid as Founding Partner

Acumen is proud to be a founding partner of Beyond the Grid, an innovative framework under President Obama’s Power Africa initiative to increase energy access for underserved populations across sub-Saharan Africa. Beyond the Grid will leverage partnerships with investors and practitioners committing to invest over $1 billion into off-grid and small scale solutions for this underserved market. [Read More]

Life after Lean

In May 2013, Sabrina Natasha Premji & Afzal Habib participated in +Acumen’s inaugural Lean for Social Change course based on Lean Start-Up principles. Enrollment for the next session of the Lean for Social Change course is open now. If you are working on a social issue in your community, are interested in pursuing your own social venture, or are just interested in creating an impact in this world…Register today! Sabrina & Afzal joined the course with a simple idea and the passion to transform the childcare crisis in East Africa’s informal settlements. Seven weeks later, they had developed a customer-tested business model ready to pilot in Kenya’s densest slums. Read their story below. [Read More]