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


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]

Give Impact Investing Time and Space to Develop

Impact investing has captured the world’s imagination. Just six years after the Rockefeller Foundation coined the term, the sector is booming. An estimated 250 funds are actively raising capital in a market that the Global Impact Investing Network estimates at $25 billion. Giving Pledge members described impact investing as the “hottest topic” at their May 2012 meeting, and Prime Minister David Cameron extolled the potential of the sector at the most recent G8 summit.  Sir Ronald Cohen and HBS Professor William A. Sahlman describe impact investing as the new venture capital, implying that it will, in the next 5 to 10 years, make its way into mainstream financial portfolios, unlocking billions or trillions of dollars in new capital. [Read More]

10 Books We’re Reading This Summer

What are you reading? It is a common question here at Acumen, an organization full of avid readers constantly trading favorite book titles that discuss leadership, impact, development and branding. Here are 10 stellar books we’re reading this summer. These books and others provide a framework of thinking, a spark of new ideas, a platform for debate. So, what are you reading? [Read More]

How Acumen Brought Back my Fire

Eda is an East Africa Regional Fellow from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Founder and Director of Halisi Trust, an organization that seeks to challenge the vices that plague society and encourage transformational development in Kenya’s youth. When Eda applied for the East Africa Fellows Program, she felt disillusioned and stuck. Below, Eda discusses how Acumen’s Regional Fellowship Program brought back her fire. Now, Eda has engaged nearly 6,000 people through outreach events and the Mkenya Halisi movement continues to grow. Acumen is currently accepting applications for the next class of East Africa Fellows. APPLY TODAY! [Read More]

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]