Acumen Blog

Three ideas to keep in mind for leaders who tackle poverty

+Acumen chapters are self-organized, volunteer-led groups learning and sharing Acumen’s principles and approach to help change the way the world tackles poverty. We have 20+ chapters across the globe.  Carolyn is the co-chair of the London+Acumen chapter and recently attended a retreat with four European +Acumen chapters. Below is a reflection on four key themes inspired by Acumen’s values and bigger questions of the sector. [Read More]

Announcing a New Investment: Mekelle Farms

Acumen is pleased to announce an investment in AGFlow Ventures, the majority owner of Mekelle Farms, Ethiopia’s largest producer of day-old chicks. Mekelle Farms was established in 2010 to produce productive and disease-resistant chicks for smallholder farmers across Ethiopia. This investment is Acumen’s first in Ethiopia, a country of great potential with a population of over 90 million and GDP growth of  over 7% during the past 5 years, according to the World Bank.Other investors in Mekelle Farms include the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, headquartered in Nairobi and backed by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Arabica Investments operating out of Dubai, UAE and focused on Ethiopia; Flow Equity, a U.S.-based venture development company, and Zemen Bank, a leading commercial bank in Ethiopia.. [Read More]

Selling to the Bottom of the Pyramid

Setu has been working on our energy, water and sanitation sector strategies in India and recently participated in Everyday Barriers. During the Everyday Barriers exercise, we send team members into local communities without everyday luxuries such as phones or money, and encourage them to explore the surroundings as many without these resource do. Below, Setu reflects on his experience trying to access basic services during the exercise.  [Read More]

Human-Centered Design: Common Aspirations, Uncommon Action

Are you an aspiring social change leader looking for tools to affect change in your community or specific area? Acumen and IDEO.org are partnering for a second time to offer Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation. The seven-week course is based on the fundamental belief that gaining a deep understanding of the needs, hopes, and aspirations of potential customers and the lives they live yields incredible inspiration for new solutions. Human-centered designers learn by doing and evolve their solutions based on real-time feedback. [Read More]

Good Society: The Acumen Fellowship Reading List

We have recently announced the 2014 classes of PakistanEast Africa, and India Fellows, and are currently selecting participants for the 2015 Global Fellows Program. One of the key aspects of being an Acumen Fellow is the training program we have developed over the years. Constantly evolving over time, one of the core elements of the training is a seminar called Good Society. Fellows spend time reading and discussing the theories of great thinkers, such as Plato, King, and Mandela on how to create a ‘good’ society. Based on the work of the Aspen Institute, the sessions seek to provide Acumen Fellows with the chance to think broadly about the historical and moral traditions of social change work. [Read More]

Letter from Jacqueline Novogratz – Winter 2014

During Chinese New Year celebrations just a few weeks ago, I walked through the streets of New York as colorful confetti mingled with white snowflakes: beautiful fragments, a fluttering, harmonious welcome to the Year of the Galloping Horse. Indeed, Acumen is moving apace. January brought a trip to India; February, Pakistan. Both experiences have reinforced a sense of optimism amidst global challenges. [Read More]