Remarkable People

Hope for Samburu girls

Joyce is 10 years old. She is from Samburu, an area in northeastern Kenya known for its beautiful landscapes, abundant wildlife, and centuries-old culture. As part of Samburu tradition, Joyce had been forcefully married to a man old enough to be her grandfather. Luckily, before the wedding she was rescued and put in school. Today, she is in second grade and the brightest in her class. [Read More]

Finding purpose through courage

Courage in unlikely places

My pathway to Acumen and the impact investing space is a bit circuitous, but is inspired by the courage that I met in quite unlikely places.  It took traveling to Assis, Brazil, for my heart to be arrested. Through the eyes of children like Pit, who were held at gunpoint and forced to join violent gangs, or Lillian, who were caught in a bitter cycle of prostitution to support their drug addiction, I saw courage that came from brokenness. [Read More]

Win No Matter What: the power of positivity

As a freshman college student in New York City last year, I rode the subways often as a means of getting around Manhattan. Usually, I thought nothing of the subway system. One day though, I was in such a joyful mood that I just had to socialize with someone.  I tried to initiate a conversation with a lady sitting next to me on my subway car, only to get a blank emotionless face in return. She looked extremely rushed and bored at the same time. That moment ultimately made me think about humans in general. We often do not live to the fullest or notice all the bright life around us because we think we have insufficient time, are preoccupied, or sometimes tired. [Read More]

The Power of Connections: Reflections from the India CEO Summit

On May 22-23, Acumen India held its first CEO Summit to reflect on lessons learned over the past few years, explore opportunities for collaboration across the Acumen community and discuss the path forward. The Summit was held at the Aravind Eye Care System campus in Madurai and brought together 15 CEOs from Acumen’s portfolio companies across India, as well as the India team and a few sector-specific experts. [Read More]

I Wanted to Change the World

At Acumen, we have a tradition of ending our weekly meetings by sharing something we call “Aha’s”–those moments we experience during the week that change our outlook or give us deeper insight into the work we do and the values we try to promote. Our Regional Fellows Manager, Suraj Sudhaker, recently shared the following quote with our East Africa office. In our work with social enterprises, our primary focus is often on how we can best scale the work of our companies so they can bring critical services like healthcare and clean energy to more customers. This epitaph, attributed to an unknown monk from 1100 A.D., reminds us that the struggle to create new socio-economic systems often begins at home–by first changing our own thoughts and behaviors. [Read More]

The power of interconnectedness – Jacqueline at TEDxEuston

At the end of last year, Jacqueline Novogratz joined an inspiring line-up of speakers at TEDxEuston 2012. What makes TEDxEuston unique is that is focuses on spreading the work and ideas of a new generation of African leadership. The talks are presented to a mainly African audience, and especially those who are living outside the continent seeking to engage with Africa in an active and meaningful way. [Read More]