Acumen Blog

An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore’s terrific new film, An Inconvenient Truth, is the most important movie you can see right now. It is also very engaging and I can’t recommend it more highly. The film is really a dynamic presentation that Vice President Gore has made thousands of times over the past years. Not only will you see a man of true conviction and passion speaking, you will also learn a lot about one of the most (if not the most) critical issues of our time. The scientists agree that climate change is real (at the TED Conference, individuals suggested the name be changed to climate crisis) and that it is occurring even more rapidly than scientists had originally thought. The link between climate change and poverty is also strong. It is not inconceivable that we’ll see Bangladesh under water in the next 40 years, displacing over 150 million people who will search for new homes and countries, adding greater instability to the region. [Read More]

Announcing our 2006 Fellows

As we have mentioned in previous posts, we have spent the last several months in an intensive search for the best and brightest young professionals to make up our first cohort of Acumen Fund Fellows. After reviewing applications from some 600 candidates from 52 countries (and talking to many of them), we are extremely pleased to announce our eight 2006 Fellows, who will be starting with us in September: [Read More]

World Bank Development Marketplace brings market focus to social innovation

Water Portfolio manager Yasmina Zaidman and I recently attended the World Bank Development Marketplace conference in Washington DC. Development Marketplace is a competitive grant program of the World Bank that funds innovative, small-scale development projects that deliver results and show potential to be expanded or replicated. The theme for this year was Water, Sanitation and Energy. 118 finalists (out of 2500 applicants) attended, and a final 30 were announced as winners. [Read More]

Long-lasting bednets in action

This video, which was broadcast on UK’s Channel 4, highlights some of the impact that the Olyset long-lasting insecticide-treated anti-malaria bednet is having in Africa. Acumen Fund’s investment in A to Z Textile Mills, the Tanzanian manufacturer, helped to facilitate the technology transfer and start initial production of the bednets. The video takes viewers to visit local villages where the nets are in use and shows the growing capacity of A to Z, which will soon be producing seven million nets annually. [Read More]

Ashoka-Changemakers launches “Health for All” competition

Every year, millions of individuals die of diseases that could be prevented by basic, low-cost measures. To address this global challenge, Ashoka has announced a Changemakers’ Innovation Award on how to improve health for all. The goal of this competition is to identify and advance innovative strategies that provide high-quality, cost-effective and scalable health solutions reaching low-income populations around the world. The application deadline is May 24. Check out the Changemakers site for more information. [Read More]

Rural service delivery in India’s IT sector

Just off the plane from a two-week trip to South Asia, I am energized by what I saw in India: a quickly evolving business ecosystem poised to serve India’s 600,000 villages. India’s flourishing IT sector, epitomized by the massive traffic jams and lack of hotel rooms, has been widely hyped, but perhaps even more apparent on this journey was the growing base of practitioners, development folks, NGOs, government agencies and – yes – businesses that view India’s rural population – much of which earns less than $4 a day – as true consumers who want to make their own choices and solve their own problems. This should not be surprising, considering 1 in 8 people on the planet lives in an Indian village, but it really hit home being on the ground and seeing how much energy is going into identifying and deploying solutions. [Read More]