Skoll Foundation



Five Ways to Tap the Crowd to Drive Change

December 20, 2014 by

On December 5th, the second annual Social Entrepreneurs Challenge, hosted on CrowdRise, came to an end. And what an ending it was! The goal was for social entrepreneurs to raise $3 million over a six-week campaign to unlock match and prize funding from the Skoll Foundation. By the final week of the Challenge, donations continued to pour in, and the entrepreneurs ultimately raised more than double our goal—$6.6 million.

In total, the Challenge raised $11 million, including $3.25 milion in matching grants and a $1.2 million Chairman’s grant from the Skoll Foundation.

Last year, we launched the Social Entrepreneurs Challenge to what we considered to be great success, exceeding even our top goal.

This year, we aimed higher. We tested and piloted new strategies and achieved more than we ever thought we would.

We’re thrilled with this success, but also excited to see that we were able to learn from last year’s Challenge and craft strategies that brought this effort to the next level and led to unprecedented results.

As many other groups look to leverage crowdfunding and other unique approaches to fundraising, we wanted to share some of the our top five pointers for building successful crowdfunding campaigns:

  1. You know what they say about early birds. It may feel unnecessary to think about a year-end fundraising campaign in early summer. But that’s precisely what we did with our CrowdRise partners and social entrepreneurs.

In July, our communications team sent sample communications plans, timelines, and marketing collateral to Challenge participants. We also sent them tips about building their email lists and social media networks, and about reaching out to high net worth donors. We hosted fundraising webinars before the Challenge started.

These early steps helped lay the groundwork for a successful fundraising campaign and allowed the social entrepreneurs to build and create their contacts and content during the “dog days of summer”.

  1. Mash it up! Maintaining momentum and excitement over a six-week fundraising challenge can be…well, a real challenge.

To keep the nearly 70 participating organizations engaged, we worked with CrowdRise to create a wide variety of weekly contests. Each week focused on different ways to reach goals, such as getting as many unique donors as possible, or reaching a certain threshold to be eligible for prize funding.

These opportunities allowed social entrepreneurs to reach out to their donors and networks with various giving options. We also created a page for essays on The Huffington Post, and used social media to build interest for the duration of the Challenge.

  1. Constructive competition is cool. A good dose of healthy competition can go a long way—especially when prize funding is involved.

We structured the Challenge to encourage competition among social entrepreneurs, which got their donors inspired to help them win. Deadlines and targets for the contests, which maximized different strengths and assets at different points throughout the campaign, helped create a sense of urgency every week.

  1. And collaboration is even cooler! That said, competition isn’t everything—after all, we shouldn’t lose sight of the essential “social” part in “social entrepreneur”.

For one week of the Challenge, we paired social entrepreneurs into teams so that they could support each other and share ideas. When we announced this special “collaboration” week, social entrepreneurs shared their esprit de corps with us, each other, and their networks. Some of them even shared their donors!

  1. Don’t BIAY (Build It All Yourself). Engage in existing events. This year, we timed the Challenge to leverage #GivingTuesday, the global day of giving held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Our social entrepreneurs were able to provide audiences with a tangible “give back” option, and leverage the visibility and PR that broader #GivingTuesday activities provided.

We also wanted to pilot a new effort to link our online campaign with a physical, in-person event, so we co-hosted a #Give2Future event for #GivingTuesday with the Institute of the Future in their terrifically new, open, and welcoming space. We used the #Give2Future gathering to talk about the future of philanthropy and social entrepreneurship and to share information and exciting news about the Challenge.

We are heartened to see how many people participated in the Challenge—as fundraisers, donors, and champions. Ultimately, participating social entrepreneurs and their staff members worked very hard to ensure success.

But the great news is that their efforts this year will continue to reap results in 2015 and beyond. It came as no surprise that the organizations that embraced the campaign and involved most of their staff and supporters were the most successful in “crowd-raising” funds.

We couldn’t be more delighted that the Social Entrepreneurs Challenge proved to be a great way for individuals to support people and ideas driving solutions to the world’s thorniest problems.

As we look to bring 2014 to a close, our thanks go out to all of the participating social entrepreneurs and donors who helped make this Challenge such a remarkable success!


Health Care Without Harm Calls for Climate Action at White House Event

December 16, 2014 by

WASHINGTON, DCAt a senior-level White House event yesterday, Health Care Without Harm and health executives from across the country called for an increased commitment from the health sector to take the significant and measurable actions that the mitigation of climate change demands.

Moderated by Counselor to the President John Podesta, the meeting signaled the launch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Initiative. As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Initiative will produce tools and information to help health care facilities prepare for the impacts of climate change and increase their resilience.
HHS recognizes climate change as one of the top public health challenges of our time. The National Climate Assessment confirms that changes in climate threaten human health and well-being in many ways, including through impacts from extreme weather events, wildfire, and decreased air quality; that some of these health impacts are already underway in the United States; and that climate change will amplify some of the existing health threats the nation now faces in the future.

read more


Eric Schwarz is Carsey Social Innovator of the Year

December 12, 2014 by

Congratulations, Eric!

DURHAM – Eric Schwarz, founding chief executive officer of Citizen Schools and executive chairman of US2020, was named the Carsey 2014 Social Innovator of the Year.

Schwarz will be honored at the New Hampshire Social Venture Innovation Challenge Monday, Dec. 15 at the University of New Hampshire, where he will deliver the keynote address on social entrepreneurship and systemic social change. The challenge and Schwarz’s speech are free and open to the public but registration required at The Carsey Social Innovator of the Year Award recognizes a New England leader with a demonstrated commitment to social innovation.

“Eric Schwarz has changed the opportunity equation in our country,” said Yusi Turell, executive director of the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy’s Center on Social Innovation and Finance. “By growing Citizen Schools and using its successes to impact education policy, Eric has not only helped local children ‘beat the odds’ in educational attainment, he has ‘changed the odds’ for all American children. Eric is a visionary, a critical thinker and outstanding leader.”

Schwarz founded Citizen Schools in Boston in 1995 to support a vision of offering students in low-income communities a longer learning day, including hands-on “apprenticeships” led by volunteer “Citizen Teachers” from local businesses and universities. Now in seven states, Citizen Schools partners with public middle schools to expand the learning day for children through academic mentoring and skill-building apprenticeships. More than half of the skill-building apprenticeships are focused on STEM subjects and activities.

US2020 is a STEM mentoring initiative inspired by a White House call to generate large-scale solutions to the nation’s educational challenges in the STEM fields. US2020’s goal is to match 1 million STEM mentors with students by the year 2020.

In addition to his keynote address, Schwarz will lead a workshop, “The Opportunity Equation: Innovative Models for Business and Citizen Engagement in K-12 Education,” with New Hampshire panelists Fred Bramante of the National Center for Competency-Based Learning; Tanna Clews of the N.H. Charitable Foundation STEM Pathways Initiative; state Rep. Mary Stuart Gile, who serves on the N.H. House Education Committee, and Mark Greenlaw of FIRST.

For more about the Carsey School of Public Policy, visit

Learn more:


How much is being done for the world’s 450 million smallholder farmers?

December 12, 2014 by

Today, we’re sharing a new infographic and briefing from Dalberg – Global Development Advisors.


Technical assistance programs can help smallholder farmers improve their agronomic skills, business and financial skills, and access to markets. Currently, $8 billion is spent on such programs each year, which may sound like a lot, but equates to an average of only $18.66 per farmer. Learn more about technical assistance for smallholder farmers — and what can be done to make it more effective — in this infographic from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance.


Agricultural technical assistance can address many constraints to smallholder financing. On the supply side, financial services and advisory support programs help banks and financial institutions overcome constraints of product design and distribution for smallholder farmers. On the demand side, technical assistance prepares farmers for financing through value chain development programs or government extension programs.

Both aspects of technical assistance are important. But new data from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance finds that 97% of technical assistance funding currently goes to programs that address demand side constraints, while relatively little technical assistance funding goes to the supply side to mitigate risk and boost confidence for financial institutions involved in smallholder financing.

Building off research on the anatomy of the agricultural technical assistance market, this briefing explores how donors, financial institutions, and technical assistance providers can improve the efficacy of technical assistance to close the smallholder financing gap.


Click to view the full-size infographic


GoodWeave Founder Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

December 10, 2014 by

From the cocoa fields of Côte d’Ivoire to the carpet sheds of Uttar Pradesh, there are 168 million children around the world who toil in obscurity.  Today, their plight took center stage when GoodWeave Founder Kailash Satyarthi accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, alongside Malala Yousafzai.

In his opening remarks, committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland acknowledged Mr. Satyarthi for founding GoodWeave as a part of his long career of working to end the exploitation of children for others’ economic gain.

As Kailash spoke, he called us all to action, declaring, “I refuse to accept that the shackles of slavery can ever be stronger than the quest for freedom.” He asked the audience to hold their hands over their hearts and listen to the child inside. (The text of Mr. Satyarthi’s speech is available here.)

As Mr. Satyarthi accepted the medal, he had company on stage as he evoked the hundreds of thousands of children who have been rescued or liberated, because of his campaigns and on the ground work. “At GoodWeave, we thought about the 50 children we have liberated this year so far and the more than 3,500 since our founding,” said Nina Smith, Executive Director of GoodWeave International. “We also imagined by his side the 2,450 children who in 2014 got to hold books instead of tools, and the 12,165 boys and girls who have been educated since GoodWeave began.”

In the 1980s, once on an engineering career track, Kailash Satyarthi began rescuing children from bondage.  As chairman of the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude, he fought against child slavery one factory at a time, one child at a time.  He conducted rescue raids and liberated children who were enduring extreme violence, some brutally beaten if they ever tried to escape.

Following one such raid, Satyarthi personally returned a trafficked boy to his home village. When he went to board a train home, Satyarthi saw dozens and dozens of children destined for the looms in the hands of middlemen.  Arrested for causing a disturbance at the station, Satyarthi suddenly realized that this situation required a larger solution.

“Something else had to be done. I thought, ‘Consumers have to be educated!’” Satyarthi said in a 2013 interview.  This realization was for him a turning point and for the child labor movement, a profound shift in thinking and strategy.  In addition to exposing the ugly truth behind beautiful rugs, Satyarthi set out to establish a certification system that would incentivize manufacturers to stop exploiting children as well as guide consumer purchases.  Thus the RugMark label (now GoodWeave) was born. The first carpets with that certification were exported from India in 1995.

Today, GoodWeave works in the top consumer capitals of the world and in the key rug-producing areas across Asia, expanding most recently to Afghanistan.  Their programs in weaving villages near Kabul, Mazar and soon Herat are reaching girls, many of whom resemble Malala.  And in the two decades since Satyarthi’s jail cell a-ha moment, the organization has gone on to reduce the number of “carpet kids” in the region by two-thirds. GoodWeave is now preparing to finish the work that Satyarthi began and reach the 250,000 children left on looms through their “Stand with Sanju” campaign.  It is inspired by the real life story of a Nepalese girl – not unlike Malala – who went from carpet loom to classroom.

As Kailash looks back on his journey, he remains optimistic that the model can be used in other industries from chocolate to mining. “At the time we launched the certification, nobody had heard the phrases, ‘corporate responsibility,’ or ‘corporate accountability.’ But we have given voice to many initiatives in the world. And some of the basic ingredients of GoodWeave now are being used as great lessons by others. In the end, we can change the world in this way.”


Congratulations, Malala and Kailash!

December 10, 2014 by

Take a moment, if you can, to read through this account of today’s 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Awards to two remarkable human beings: Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi.

I think we’d all agree that the Nobel committee really hit it out of the park this year!

Read more about the Skoll Foundation’s ties to these two inspiring people:



Girls Not Brides’ New Film on Ending Child Marriage in Zambia

December 9, 2014 by

We’re happy to share Girls Not Brides’ new film, which tells the story of Mirriam, a 17 year-old girl from rural Zambia with big dreams and big ambitions. Where Mirriam lives, however, child marriage is all too common: two in every five girls are married before they are 18.

Together: Ending Child Marriage in Zambia is a short documentary that asks what can be done to enable girls like Mirriam to avoid child marriage and fulfil their potential?
It tells the story of partnership, of how civil society activists, girls, traditional leaders, and the government are coming together to make sure that no girl is married as a child. It also considers how, if we can build momentum in a country where rates of early marriage are among the highest in the world, then perhaps we can pave the way for change not only in Zambia but far beyond.



Gawad Kalinga Has Built More than 2,000 Houses Since Typhoon Haiyan

December 8, 2014 by

With the recent Typhoon Hagupit in the central Philippines this weekend, we thought it would be a good time to share some of the current impact of Skoll Awardee Gawad Kalinga (GK) after last year’s Typhoon Haiyan.

To date, GK has:
  • 2,923 houses funded, of which 70% are under construction or completed. They expect to start the rest by January 2015 and their goal is to raise funds and build 3,000 houses more by end of 2015.
  • 3,652 kids eating nutritious meals daily through the “Kusina ng Kalinga” anti-hunger program piloted in Alang-alang, Leyte.  They intend to open 10 more kitchens that will serve 6,000 kids more by year end, and address hunger for 50,000 children by end of 2015.
  • 797 Balangay boats distributed across the fishing communities of the Visayan islands; their goal is to build 700 boats more by June, 2015.
  • 1.7 Million volunteers for Bayani Challenge 2014 mobilized to bring hope and a clear message of Walang Iwanan in Haiyan-affected areas; they continue to encourage volunteers to sustain these efforts, with the goal of involving 6,000 barangays by June, 2015.

Learn more:


Nelson Mandela Remembered: A New Film from The Elders

December 5, 2014 by

Today is the first anniversary of the passing of Nelson Mandela. The Elders have produced a new film which you can view above. In it, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and fellow Elders talk about what Nelson Mandela was like to know as a person, his impact and the legacy that he left behind.

Don’t miss our past blogs:


A Stories of Change Media Advisor Reflects on Sundance

December 3, 2014 by

In a recent blog, “Story Plus Impact Equals True Love: Matchmaking Filmmakers and Social Entrepreneurs,” Dara Kell focuses on her recent experience at the Stories of Change Convening, a 3-day storytelling workshop where Sundance-supported filmmakers help Skoll-Awarded Social Entrepreneurs identify and develop their organization’s stories in an immersive lab-like setting.

Here’s an excerpt:


Social entrepreneurs encounter some of the most challenging dilemmas in some of the most interesting places in the world. And even here in the United States, their work provides access to stories we may take for granted. Rebecca Onie from Health Leads described low-income families in Boston coming into emergency rooms needing not health services, but really, housing, food and heat in winter. What happens when doctors start to write prescriptions not for medicine but for food? Natural drama, moments of crisis, life-affirming resolution, are built into their work.

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS ARE CREATIVE SOULS, JUST LIKE FILMMAKERS “If we can’t find a way, we’ll make one” – Gopi Gopalakrishnan, World Health Partners

Read more of what she learned, and her work with Proximity Designs, here:


Founder of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Invests $10 Million in the Future of Fair Trade

November 25, 2014 by
Bob and Christine Stiller Award Unprecedented Challenge Grant to Nonprofit Fair Trade USA
Bob Stiller, long-time Fair Trade enthusiast and founder of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (now Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.), and wife Christine Stiller, just awarded a monumental $10 million challenge grant to nonprofit organization and leading Fair Trade certifier Fair Trade USA. This investment will help fund three critical work streams aimed at increasing the reach and impact of Fair Trade certification for farmers and workers worldwide.
The grant is particularly unique for Fair Trade USA, as it stipulates that an additional $10 million be raised in order to unlock the funds, for a total goal of $20 million. “It’s a challenge not only to the organization, but also to other donors and investors out there looking for a tangible way to shift sustainable trade from niche to norm,” said Mr. Stiller. “The idea is to build momentum around this increasingly important work.”

While the largest portion of the gift will fund critical capacity-building programs at origin, the full plan is multifaceted, focusing on:

  1. Building the entrepreneurial capacity of farmers and workers through increased trainings and technical assistance programs, and the deployment of new technologies that enable resilient supply chains and provide critical business management tools
  2. Strengthening the certification model by improving and clarifying standards, and launching a robust new Impact Management System that ramps up data collection and deepens supply chain transparency
  3. Deepening consumer engagement to increase market demand and broaden the availability of Fair Trade Certified™ products

“We have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us,” said Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA, “but we also have a clear plan to get there. Through the philanthropy of individuals like Bob Stiller, we can help channel the power of the world’s largest economy into a leading solution for empowering producers worldwide.”

This generous grant, the largest ever awarded to Fair Trade USA, will also kick-start a momentous new goal for the nonprofit—$1 billion back to Fair Trade farmers and workers by 2020. As a baseline, producers have earned $350 million in additional income through Fair Trade since 1998.

Stiller, who is also a member of Fair Trade USA’s board of directors, adds: “Since entering the coffee industry in 1981, I’ve seen Fair Trade become a staple of better business for producers, companies and consumers. I’m a supporter and a champion, but I’ll also be the first to say that it can do more. We’re only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential impact, and I want to see Fair Trade be even more effective, reach more people and begin shifting practices at a larger scale. That’s the challenge I’m extending.”



Mark Plotkin’s TEDGlobal Talk Now on

November 24, 2014 by

Starting today, you can watch Mark Plotkin’s TEDGlobal 2014: South! talk, which he gave in Rio last month. Mark is a scientist who works in the rainforest to document how people use local plants, and is the co-founder of Amazon Conservation Team (ACT). ACT is dedicated to preserving South American rainforests and works with local indigenous communities to devise and implement its conservation strategies.

An excerpt from Mark’s TED talk:

“The shaman looked me in the face, smiled, and said, ‘Take off your shoe and give me your machete!’ He walked over to a palm tree and carved off a fern, threw it in the fire, applied the fern to my foot, threw it in a pot of water, and had me drink the tea.  The pain disappeared for seven months. When it came back, I went to see him again. He gave me the same treatment and I’ve been cured for three years now. Who would you rather be treated by?”

[Later in the talk, he says, to roaring applause]:

“We introduce technology to the contacted tribes, not the uncontacted tribes, in a culturally sensitive way. This is the perfect marriage of ancient shamanic wisdom and 21st-century technology. We’ve done this now with over 30 tribes. Mapped, managed, and increased protection of over 70 million acres of ancestral rainforest. This allows the Indians to take control of their environmental and cultural destiny.”

(We should note, doing so has laid the groundwork for the eventual protection of those lands by providing the basis for forest management plans designed by the very people who inhabit them, with 38 million of those acres already better monitored against illegal incursions).

Watch the talk at, and learn more about Mark in this recent interview.



Canada Honors Girls Not Brides

November 20, 2014 by

Congratulations, Mabel van Oranje and Girls Not Brides on this award!

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird presented the 2014 John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award to Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage during a ceremony in Ottawa. This is the first of three awards that will be presented over the coming weeks.

“Girls Not Brides is working tirelessly to bring hope to millions of girls and young women around the world by putting an end to child, early and forced marriage,” said Baird. “Canada is proud to partner with them and honour them for their work on this noble cause.”

During the ceremony, Baird, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced that Canada will contribute $10 million to Canadian and international civil society organizations as part of an ongoing global effort to end this practice. read more


It’s World Toilet Day: Here’s What Skoll Awardees Are Doing

November 19, 2014 by

Today is World Toilet Day.

Many Skoll Awardees work in the sanitation space, including Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP),, Slum Dwellers International, Gram Vikas, Nidan, and Water for People.

“World Toilet Day is a day to take action,” says UN-Water, which coordinates the day. “It is a day to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet – despite the human right to water and sanitation. It is a day to do something about it. Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy.”

WSUP released a new exhibition, My Toilet, which documents women and girls and their toilets to build a visual representation of the day to day reality and the effect this has on their lives, both positive and negative. Some of its photos were published in the BBC earlier this week. has a site dedicated to the day,, which features a one-minute video of a widowed mother of four in India talking about what life was like before she had a private toilet. On, you can also choose an Instagram meme and use the hashtag #toiletsWIN.

Learn more about how Slum Dwellers International, Gram Vikas, Nidan and Water for People are helping solve the world’s sanitation problem.

We will leave you with a quote from UN-Water about the poor sanitation in the world: “We cannot accept this situation. Sanitation is a global development priority. This is why the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. This day had previously been marked by international and civil society organizations all over the world but was was not formally recognized as an official UN day until 2013.”


3 Tips from Social Entrepreneurs: Improving Education, Building Partnerships, and Stopping Modern-Day Slavery

November 17, 2014 by

Over the years, Skoll Awardees have shared some valuable lessons. In this first blog in a series, we’ll feature some of them. While the below topics are quite different, they are all addressing fundamental issues to solve a societal problem.

Today, we’ll hear from Ellen Moir of New Teacher Center, on how teacher roles must evolve; Jordan Kassalow of VisionSpring on how to build partnerships; and Dan Viederman of Verite on ways to solve modern-day slavery.

  • Tip Number One, from Ellen: Shift to a more personalized style of learning. “A teacher’s role must evolve to include being a continuous learner – someone who is curious, persistent and reflective. These are the three dispositions of highly effective teachers.” Read more from Ellen.
  • Tip Number Two, from Jordan: Find synergies between your nonprofit and a large company, and connect the dots. “Millions can’t see their cell phones without eyeglasses.  At Davos, I spoke with Ajay Banga, the President and CEO of MasterCard.  Although he never thought of this problem, it made immediate sense given that he relied on his eyeglasses to see his phone.  Given the future of mobile money to his business, he was intrigued and loved the idea of coupling the sale of phones with eyeglasses.”  Read more about partnerships from Jordan.
  • Tip number three, from Dan: When stopping modern-day slavery, start with the basics. “Identify where migrants are working, how they got there and what conditions they face: what recruitment agents were used? How much debt are they carrying? Were government officials bribed to facilitate their migration? Do they have access to their passports?” Read three more tips from Dan.

Find lots more lessons from social entrepreneurs:



Two Riders for Health Motorcycle Couriers Featured on BBC World News

November 14, 2014 by

A new BBC World News story follows two Riders for Health motorcycle drivers in Malawi: Medical couriers who pick up blood and urine samples and transport it to the nearest labs. The piece showed the pride Madalitso and Kufa have in their work, and the sometimes lifesaving power their job has. Nicole Buono of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) was also interviewed: “Before Riders for Health, we weren’t getting the results back; it was taking a long time. That’s time in a child’s life that they could die.”

Here’s more about it from Riders:

In Malawi, Riders for Health’s sample couriers are helping organisations to transform the quality and speed of medical testing they are able to provide for people in some of the most remote places. A new partnership between EGPAF and Riders for Health will expedite the delivery of laboratory samples and HIV-related test results to health facilities in two districts of the Northern and Central Zones of Malawi.

Riders’ sample couriers will enable EGPAF to provide more women with lifesaving care and treatment while also increasing local capacity to build lasting health systems that will create an AIDS-free generation. To learn more about this new partnership, click here.

In total, Riders for Health has 34 sample couriers across Malawi funded by Howard University Technical Assistance Project, Center for Disease Control/PEPFAR, TB Care II, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the Swedish Postcode Lottery .

Each sample courier has a motorcycle that they are trained to ride safely and maintain on a daily basis. Riders for Health also employs skilled local technicians who provide monthly services on the bikes, so they never break down.

Listen above.



Social Progress Index at TEDGlobal 2014

November 11, 2014 by

“GDP has defined and shaped our lives for the last 80 years,” says Michael Green in a new TED talk about the Social Progress Index, but “it’s not a measure of our wellbeing and it shouldn’t be a guide to all decision making.”

The Social Progress Imperative CEO spoke at TEDGlobal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last month. Watch his captivating talk: “What the Social Progress Index can reveal about your country“.


Renee Kaplan’s Video Lessons on “Disruption for Social Good”

November 11, 2014 by

Skoll Foundation Chief Strategy Officer Renee D. Kaplan just released a series of short videos called “Disruption for Social Good” on Zana.

Zana is an online platform providing “free access to the resources, experts, and community you need to grow—no matter where or who you are.” Renee’s series takes us through ten topics: Disruption, Innovators, Convergence, Means, Unrestricted, Evaluation, Good Tech, Equilibirum Change, The Story, and Impact.

Here’s an excerpt from Renee’s first lesson, “Disruption: Why the World Needs Social Entrepreneurs”:

“Social entrepreneurship is really different from what people think of non-profit work.  It is more analogous to a entrepreneur to the for-profit space.

They see a problem they want to solve, and they go after it in a way that’s very disruptive. It’s systems disruption; it’s not just doing great work for people, seeing a problem and addressing it intermittently. It’s saying, I am going to crack open this system and I am going to solve it.”

Hear more:

And be sure to read her three top tips (my favorite: Dream big, and be prepared for others to misunderstand you.)



How A ‘Small But Mighty’ Team Of Googlers Is Using Maps To Save People And The Planet

November 10, 2014 by

Today we’re sharing a Business Insider feature on how the Surui tribe is working with Google Earth to identify (and stop) deforestation in the Amazon. An excerpt:

“Over the last six years, Google Earth Outreach and Google Earth Engine — two initiatives founded and led by a computer scientist named Rebecca Moore — have helped the Surui create cultural maps and record instances of illegal logging on their land. Through Google Earth Engine, they built a real-time alerting system that will notify the tribe whenever suspicious images show up on Google Earth. They can then go investigate and take photos and videos to upload to Google Earth and use to provide as evidence to law enforcement.” Read the rest:

Learn more about the Surui and the partnership:


Landesa News: A New Study on Chinese Farmers’ Rights, Tanzania’s New Constitution and More

November 7, 2014 by

Today we’re sharing five pieces of land rights news from Landesa:

In a new BigThink 3-minute video, Landesa CEO Tim Hanstad says women are doing the bulk of the agricultural labor, but locked out of land ownership. Hear more about how and why this should change above.

RRI and Landesa released a new study on paper giant’s APP operations in China, which they say largely violated Chinese law and farmer’s rights to informed consent and proper compensation.

The Guardian ran a Landesa and ActionAid op-ed about Tanzania’s new constitution, which grants women unprecedented rights and protections and the right to own and inherit land. Find out why Tanzania’s female lawmakers erupted into cheers in parliament.

The South China Morning Post includes an op-ed from Tim Hanstad on the one group of farmers who may not benefit from Beijing’s historic efforts to create a the country’s first national land registry and improve land tenure security for rural women. As it stands, women’s names are not being included in the land registries in a majority of provinces — severely undermining women’s tenure security.

Also, Landesa Africa program director Jennifer Duncan was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article. Jennifer pointed out the inherent risks in a plan to lease more than 200,000 acres of farmland in Congo.


© 2014 Skoll Foundation.