SDG01 – No Poverty

Sustainable Development Goal 1, No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Fueled by Prize Money, These Social Entrepreneurs Are Striking at the Root of Poverty, with Leeore Levinstein and Jesse Abelson, Vetiver Solutions

Vetiver Solutions is a for-profit social business that is alleviating poverty and malnutrition for subsistence farmers in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere. 2.5 million Haitians live in extreme poverty. Two out of three live on less than $2 per day. 100,000 Haitian children are acutely malnourished. Jesse Abelson first started traveling to Haiti in 2013 as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with Project Medishare. Between 2013 and 2016, he traveled there five times. “After seeing countless deaths due to poverty and malnutrition, I decided that I wanted to work to tackle the problem at the root,” Jesse explains. “There is only so much I can…

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Figuring Out Faith in Business and Marriage, with Jessica Jackley

Jessica Jackley and Reza Aslan are exploring what it means to live in an interfaith family. The first week of February is Interfaith Harmony Week. Given the heightened friction between religious groups, this celebration of interfaith harmony is crucial. Each year, religious leaders engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental Commandments; Love of God, and Love of Neighbor. Jessica Jackley is best known for her role as a co-founder of Kiva.org. Kiva is the first peer-to-peer microlending platform. Anyone who has an internet connection and a credit card or PayPal account, you can go to Kiva.org, browse the profiles of entrepreneurs who need a small loan. These loans…

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The Importance of Human-Centered Design, with Wes Meier, EOS International

EOS International empowers rural families in Central America by providing simple, inexpensive solutions that improve health, generate income, and provide access to appropriate technology. Wes Meir studied mechanical engineering at Iowa State University. In his junior year, he took a course with an international focus. He and his fellow students were challenged with creating a laptop that would work in Western Africa. To figure out the design criteria, Wes typed “What is West Africa like?” into Google. In his senior year, he signed up for a second international design course. This time, he was assigned the role of designing a water valve. Unlike his junior year, he traveled to Mali…

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Be Curious, Leap In and Learn with Paul Polak

Paul Polak is the founder of iDE. At the age of 80, he launched three new social enterprises. Paul was born in Czechoslovakia near Germany. In 1938, his family watched as refugees poured across the border. Paul says, “The conventional wisdom in 1938 was that Hitler was a joke and all this stuff would blow over. If you accepted that conventional wisdom, you’re no longer around to talk about it.” Paul’s father was willing to challenge the status quo. He moved his family to Canada in 1939. This lesson of challenging conventional thinking was an important life lesson for Paul. One key to his success is, he is willing to leap…

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151, Thane Kreiner, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship 20th Anniversary

The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship accelerates the growth of social enterprises who serve the poor and protect the planet. The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is about 40 miles south of the world’s most fertile entrepreneur ecosystems, Silicon Valley. Located within Santa Clara University, they have a rich heritage as part of the Jesuit tradition. These two factors give them a unique perspective on how the best practices of rapid business growth can be applied to some of the most pressing issues of our day. Through their Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI), the Miller Center has worked with over 600 social entrepreneurs in 65 countries. Thane Kreiner, Executive Director…

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150, Ken Oloo, Filamujuani | Using Film to Fight Youth Unemployment

Ken Oloo works to end youth unemployment for young people from informal housing such Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. Ken Oloo grew up surrounded by abject poverty. And yet, he was ambitious. At an early age, he vowed that by the time he was 25 years-old, he would be on the cover of Fortune or Time magazines. When he was nine years-old, he began to use his father’s camera to take pictures. Soon, he met other photographers who taught him the craft of photography and film. After high school, Ken took up photography full time, earning money by filming weddings and events. As he tried to escape from poverty, he took…

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149, Sara Leedom, African Entrepreneur Collective | The Real Job Creators: African Entrepreneurs

African Entrepreneur Collective builds the capacity of African entrepreneurs to create jobs. Sara Leedom has a history of working in the social justice space in the US and in India. She worked on affordable housing for people with HIV. She worked on teen pregnancy prevention. She worked on education equity. In 2012, Sara and a friend, Julienne Oyler were traveling through Mali. As they got to know their tour guide, he revealed that he wanted to launch a company. At the time, Mali was experiencing political turmoil. The country was under trade sanctions from France. To make matters worse, the country was experiencing a severe drought. The entrepreneur acknowledged the…

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148, Kwami Williams, MoringaConnect | Unlocking the Value of Moringa to End Poverty

MoringaConnect connects smallholder farmers and consumers with the value of Moringa. This month on Social Entrepreneur, we’re focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 1, No Poverty. Around the world, there are people and programs working to help the poor to permanently overcome persistent poverty. Some programs work better than others. One factor that helps determine the success of poverty elimination programs is a systems approach, with consistent application over time. In order to do that, there needs to be a steady source of funding. According to the World Bank, in Sub-Saharan Africa there are 389 million people living on less than two dollars per day. Most of these are rural poor,…

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147, Okocha Nkem, Mamamoni | Empower Women to Break the Cycle of Poverty

Mamamoni is a social enterprise that empowers women to break the cycle of poverty with free vocational skills and mobile loans. When Okocha Nkem was a child in Lagos, Nigeria, her father died. Because her mother had no marketable skills and no access to finance, the family was stuck in a cycle of poverty. When a family friend visited them, and saw their condition, he took pity and gave Nkem’s mother a small amount of money. Instead of using the money to buy much-needed food and school fees, Nkem’s mother took the money and traveled to a far off-village where she bought vegetables. She brought them back to Lagos and…

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146, Gayathri Vasudevan, LabourNet | Sustainable Livelihoods through Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship

LabourNet is a social enterprise that enables sustainable livelihoods by bridging the gap between education, employment and entrepreneurship. Gayathri Vasudevan worked in crisis situations. She provided humanitarian aid during a riot. She provided aid in the aftermath of an earthquake. But she found the work depressing. “I wanted to do more solutioning,” she told me. After completing her PhD, she worked for the United Nations, International Labor Organization for eight years. There, she saw a disconnect between the policies she was helping to draft and the results on the ground. She remarked, “In India, we’re very good at white papers. We can write very well. We define everything well. But…

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