Acumen Blog

90 minutes in Paradise

I just wanted to recommend “Paradise Now,” a thoughtful, human and riveting Palestinian film about two suicide bombers. It lifts the importance of Acumen Fund’s message in many ways, underscoring how critical it is to understand issues of identify, of otherness in our work and that key to change really is providing opportunity, hope and a sense of dignity to individuals who can then solve their own problems. One of the best movies I’ve seen. [Read More]

Designing for affordability

Happy New Year! A column about innovation in designing products for the poor appears in the International Herald Tribune. It’s very much in keeping with the Acumen Fund philosophy that the poor should be thought of and treated as consumers — solutions must be designed with their needs and constraints in mind. The article highlights the importance of the ruthless pursuit of affordability (sometimes forgoing fancy technology for simplicity) in designing technology to improve the lives of the poor. [Read More]

A view from a Pakistani social entrepreneur

Our housing entrepreneur, Tasneem Siddiqui, recently wrote this article in Pakistan Dawn. Tasneem is right not only about Pakistan but about the whole world — people are tired of waiting for governments to do things and are taking solutions into their own hands. Acumen Fund exists to identify, support, strengthen and highlight these initiatives which are driven by private citizens and companies for the most part. It is why we don’t focus first on policy, look warily at “pilot projects” and must have a good reason to go to conferences that move from theory and not what is happening on the ground. What the world needs now are concrete examples of real people doing real enterprises that bring scalable solutions to the poor – and that see the poor as consumers and not as passive recipients of charity. [Read More]