Acumen Blog

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]

The threat of the Naxalites in India

On my last trip to India, I was struck by the number of people who raised the threat of the Naxalites – the Maoist rebels who number an estimated 10,000 individuals and are impacting over a quarter of the country’s 602 counties. The groups see themselves in some quarters as modern day Robin Hoods but are bringing violence and instability to the poorest areas that need the most assistance. They are an indication of the growing gap between rich and poor, and something to be monitored in our world where forces compelling the gap to grow are powerful. How to provide the poor with the real opportunities of the global marketplace becomes a more urgent imperative for all of us. This article from the Star-Ledger provides more information about the Naxalites. [Read More]

Fasting against malaria

On May 11, a coalition of organizations is sponsoring an International Fast Day Against Malaria to raise awareness of and funds for the global fight against malaria. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets – a product with which Acumen Fund is very familiar, given our investment to support their manufacture and distribution in Tanzania. (Click here for more info or to participate.) [Read More]