community development

114, Satyan Mishra, Drishtee | Developing Sustainable Communities

Satyan Mishra of Drishtee is developing sustainable communities in the villages of India. In the late 1990s, while Satyan Mishra was working on a government contract, he had the opportunity to visit many villages across India. In India, more than 775 million people live in small villages. Nearly half of them live on less than one dollar per day. Satyan saw how the presence of a computer in a village could have an impact. His company, Drishtee started setting up kiosks in villages. By 2006 they had set up over 1,000 village kiosks. And yet, as Satyan told me, “I realized that what we had done had not really made any…

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098, Gianluca Cescon, Devergy | Solar Micro Smart Grids

Solar Micro Smart Grids are Lighting up the Tanzanian Countryside After graduating from university in 2007, Gianluca Cescon and his friend Fabio De Pascale spent time backpacking in Guyana. As they made their way through small villages, they came across a number of broken solar power projects. Gianluca told me “The problem was not the money – it was the maintenance,” and “Where there is money, there is a business model.” After taking jobs in Amsterdam, Gianluca and Fabio could not let go of the idea of a better approach to solar power. They told one another, “Every day we spend not building the company we want to build, is…

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089, Alexandria Lafci, New Story | Disrupting Community Development through Story-Driven Crowdfunding

New Story is disrupting community development. They accomplish that through a story-driven crowdfunding process for building homes. But, they’re not just building houses, they’re creating communities. And, in the process, they are changing the donor experience. To explain all of this, we’re joined today by Alexandria Lafci, a cofounder and the head of operations for New Story. There’s so much to love about Alexandria and New Story. First, New Story is targeting communities one at a time. For example, they started in Leveque, Haiti where they moved 152 families from living under blue tarps, to living in lovely homes. And, by building that many homes, they were able to create a community….

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089, Alexandria Lafci, New Story | Disrupting Community Development through Story-Driven Crowdfunding

083, Nokwethu Khojane, Lakheni | South African Townships Called to Action

Lakheni works in South African townships. If you’re not familiar with the townships of South Africa, during apartheid, these were the areas outside of city centers where black people were required to live. During these years, the South African government failed to invest in infrastructure such as water, sewage, electricity and roads. Without infrastructure, commerce and prosperity have been slow to return to the townships. Nokwethu Khojane, grew up under apartheid, and therefore lived in the township. As apartheid was reversed, she had the opportunity to go to university and to find a meaningful career. Her obvious intelligence and hard work gave her many career choices, but her heart was…

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083, Nokwethu Khojane, Lakheni | South African Townships Called to Action

045, Francesco Piazzesi, Echale a tu casa | Housing As Community Development

Francesco Piazzesi uses housing as a means of community development. He grew up in the construction equipment industry. He noticed that the brick mason who spent his days building houses went home to a tin shack with a dirt floor. In many countries around the world, including Mexico, 2/3 of the houses built are built by the owners. The homeowners gather whatever materials they can afford and, step by step, over many years, they build their house. These houses are often not safe or sanitary and the vast majority have dirt floors. These houses also are not desirable, therefore, the homeowners do not build wealth to pass along to their…

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045, Francesco Piazzesi, Echale a tu casa | Housing As Community Development

023, Shanil Samarakoon, Empower Projects| Empowerment as a Community Development Tool

Early in the morning of December 26, 2004, an underwater earthquake sent a massive tsunamis along the countries bordering the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000 people in 14 countries. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. We have talked about this tsunami before, in episode 11 with Gayatri Datar of EarthEnable. In this episode of Social Entrepreneur, Shanil Samarakoon of Empower Projects relates his story of the same tsunami, but in this case, from the perspective of his native Sri Lanka where tens of thousands were killed. Empower Projects uses an asset-based community development approach. You may have heard this mentioned in the interview with Sasha Fisher…

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023, Shanil Samarakoon, Empower Projects| Empowerment as a Community Development Tool

022, Sasha Fisher, Spark MicroGrants | Driving Change Through Empowerment

Where were you on September 11, 2001? If you were more than three years old at the time, there’s a good chance that you remember. Sasha Fisher grew up about five blocks from “ground zero.” At the time, Sasha was in middle school. This event caused Sasha to begin to think outside of her neighborhood, her city and even her country. She began to learn about people around the world who could not meet their most fundamental basic needs. As a college student, Sasha had a chance to visit South Sudan where she observed a disturbing pattern. Outside aide organizations had started many projects which were not sustained after the…

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022, Sasha Fisher, Spark MicroGrants | Driving Change Through Empowerment

016, Funlayo Alabi, Shea Radiance | Women’s Gold

You may have seen shea butter as an ingredient, especially in high-end beauty products. But did you know that in Africa, shea butter is called “women’s gold”? Funlayo Alabi and her husband share a common problem, dry skin. They have a son who had kidney problems, and he also had very dry skin. Their second son had a severe case of eczema. After trying several over the counter and prescription remedies, they found no relief. So, they thought back to their childhood in Nigeria and remembered their parents and grandparents using shea butter to remedy dry skin. Funlayo’s husband experimented with different formulations over a two-year period until they developed…

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