Skoll Foundation



New Video on Child Marriage from Kenya: Convincing Men that Ending Child Marriage is their Responsibility

January 2, 2015 by

Happy New Year!

As the Christian Science Monitor shines a spotlight on child marriage in its new article, “Too young to be a bride: More countries aim to curb child marriage,” we would like to share a video following Wanjala Wafula, a women’s rights activist from Kenya, in his day-to-day work. He seeks to convince men that ending child marriage is not just a necessity: it is their responsibility. The film explores the complex factors that perpetuate child marriage and how men can take a more active role in upholding the rights of girls.



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.



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:


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“.


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.


WATCH: Raymond Guthrie’s Water Panel

November 5, 2014 by

Skoll Foundation Principal Raymond Guthrie, who works on our Innovation Investment team, just spoke on the Philanthropist and Funder Panel at the 2014 Water for Food Global Conference. He spoke alongside David Bergvinson of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In response to a question, “What areas of water are you looking at investing in and where do you see innovative database solutions?”

Raymond answered, “Our foundation…doesn’t take a sector or a region and look for portfolio.

Our investments stem from our social entrepreneurs. I will give two social entrepreneurs as examples.

Water for People…has an innovation called FLOW that can monitor real-time water points and to ensure water is being served sustainably adn cleanly. They cover 2 million people and 7,000 water points now using mobile technology and geomapping. Another example is One Acre Fund, which works for subsistence farmers in primarily east Africa and partner with governments… and that’s driven by their own data. They spent years finding out what works to… ultimately get the farmers a higher income.”

Watch the rest of the panel above, and learn more about Raymond:


Ann Cotton Wins WISE Prize for Education

November 4, 2014 by

Congratulations on this major honor, Ann Cotton!

Here’s the announcement from Camfed:

Ann Cotton’s work to support community-owned, integrated education programs for girls and young women in rural Africa was today recognized with the WISE Prize for Education

“I am honored to join education innovators like Vicky Colbert, Founder of Escuela Nueva in Colombia, Dr. Madhav Chavan, co-Founder of Pratham in India, and Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder of BRAC in Bangladesh, as the fourth WISE Laureate,” says Ann Cotton.

Education Innovation Reaching the Most Marginalized Communities

The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) was established to place innovation in education at the forefront of the global agenda. Since its inception, the WISE Prize has been awarded to individuals whose education programs reach the most marginalized communities. read more


GoodWeave Founder Wins Nobel Peace Prize

October 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.  This morning, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2014 peace prize to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai, two individuals who have staked their lives on the belief that children – regardless of gender, geography, faith, caste or societal circumstance – belong in classrooms.

In the announcement from Oslo, committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said: “Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi’s tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain.”

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.

The head of GoodWeave International, Nina Smith upon hearing the news, said: “So many of us were motivated to join this struggle to protect the lives of vulnerable children because of him.  This is an incredible moment for Kailash, for GoodWeave, for the children who have been forced to sacrifice their youth and their education for the benefit of business, and for the 130+ carpet importers and retailers who have taken a stand.”

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.”


Gary White and Matt Damon’s Talk at Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

September 25, 2014 by

The press has been buzzing about‘s plenary at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting (CGI) this week, so we wanted to share some news coverage. Watch the organization’s co-founders, Matt Damon and Gary White, on stage above, at 53 minutes after the video begins.

Here’s an excerpt of the plenary coverage from LiveScience:

Damon told the audience that every 20 seconds, a child under the age of five dies from a preventable waterborne disease. Water, sanitation and hygiene problems kill more than 3.4 million people each year, and 99 percent of these cases occur in the developing world, according to

And the Huffington Post:

Damon, together with fellow co-founder Gary White, explained how a lack of potable water and sanitation leads to fatal illnesses, but is also just as much of a women’s issue, since women and girls are often assaulted while relieving themselves in public. And while the pair agrees that there will never be “enough charity” to solve the water crisis, they remain optimistic about their progress, pointing specifically to the critical role microloans play.

The Boston Globe focused on a fun moment:

Cambridge-bred clean water advocate Matt Damon spoke Tuesday at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. The cofounder talked about his mission to get clean and safe water to all, and did a pretty solid impression of former President Bill Clinton while onstage.

And don’t miss Gary White’s recent op-ed in The Guardian, called “We can solve the water sanitation crisis, but we need your help.”


Camfed and Room to Read Part of Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Reach 14 Million Girls

September 24, 2014 by

One of the most exciting announcements at today’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting was by Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Julia Gillard, who announced a collaboration of more than 30 groups to improve learning and leadership opportunities for young women and girls. Two of these organizations are Skoll Awardees Room to Read and Camfed.

This collective effort, CHARGE – Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls’ Education – has committed over $600 million dollars to reach 14 million girls over five years.  Camfed will spend $100 million to help marginalized girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete secondary school and transition to secure livelihoods. And Room to Read will invest $12 million to serve an additional 15,000 girls in nine countries to ensure that girls transition to secondary school and then from school to the workforce or higher education.

Here’s more, from Camfed’s announcement:

Camfed today announced our goal to support one million girls through their secondary school education and into successful, secure livelihoods.

“Our goal is to reach marginalized and excluded girls in rural communities in sub Saharan Africa and support them to complete a full cycle of secondary education,” said Lucy Lake, CEO of Camfed. “Our commitment to these students doesn’t end with graduation. We will work with them and support them to move forward from school into economic independence and positions of leadership. We are excited to sign up for this Commitment,” said Lake. “This is an ambitious undertaking that will multiply opportunities for girls and young women in rural areas of Africa.”

In addition to Camfed’s own announcement, Pearson, in partnership with Camfed, committed to offering Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications to 5,000 Camfed Learner Guides in Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The 5,000 Learner Guides are young women school graduates who will return to school to teach and guide more than 150,000 girls to improve their attendance, retention and education in secondary school. Through the BTEC, a transferable vocational qualification, Learner Guides will acquire an important, internationally benchmarked qualification that provides a stepping stone into formal higher education and teacher training.


Medic Mobile’s New Film: Who Are Community Health Workers?

September 23, 2014 by
Medic Mobile has just released a new film. Here’s what they say about it (watch it above!)
“With UN Week upon us, there’s a beautiful chance to turn the mainstream conversation toward the health and wellbeing of the global community. Luckily the global community has health advocates at the neighborhood-level who are radically changing how people access healthcare. Community health workers are local members trained to provide basic, life-saving health services in some of the hardest-to-reach places. Their efforts are especially important in areas where people aren’t likely to see a doctor in their lifetime.
The World Health Organization estimates there are over 1.3 million community health workers worldwide, including the United States, but their work is largely uncredited. From ensuring that every child receives their immunizations, to increasing the use of bed nets to prevent malaria, community health workers are improving the statistics in underserved communities. Malawi in particular has made tremendous progress in lowering child mortality, cutting under-5 deaths by 71% due in a large part to their robust health worker program based on a study by UNICEF. Many health workers are now on the front-lines battling the Ebola outbreak and can be at risk of sickness and violence. This video made by the Skoll foundation is a look at the lives of three community health workers in Kenya where Medic Mobile partnered with Kilifi Kids and the Ministry of Health to train 450 community health workers to register women as soon as they become pregnant to ensure regular antenatal care visits. This is a small snapshot of a larger group of amazing people that take on the care of their communities every day. Please share their story.”



Half the Sky, and “Wish You Happy Forever” on PBS NewsHour

September 3, 2014 by

Jenny Bowen, founder of Half the Sky and author of “Wish You Happy Forever: What China’s Orphans Taught me About Moving Mountains” were featured on PBS NewsHour last night. “Sixteen years later, Jenny Bowen heads a group called the Half the Sky Foundation that’s helping transform the way orphans are cared for across China, with the blessings of and often in partnership with the government…The group has so far trained 12,000 teachers and nannies in 27 provinces. We visited in the northeastern city of Shenyang,” reporter Fred de Sam Lazaro said.

The 9-minute segment covered Jenny’s own adopted children from China, the conditions that prompted her to start Half the Sky, and the challenges she faced. de Sam Lazaro interviewed the woman who worked with Jenny in the early days, and a Chinese husband-and-wife team who are currently Half the Sky caregivers. Part of the report was from one of Half the Sky’s Children’s Centers, where we met thriving young children and one of their caregivers.

The story also took us inside a section of a center for “pretty severe special-needs” children, where we met a blind 4-year-old with cancer. It ended with a poignant quote from one of Jenny’s daughters, 18-year-old Maya:

“I did a paper and we could — at school, and it was a research paper, and we could do it on anything, so I chose my mom, because I thought that would be an easy topic. But then, when I started researching and learning everything she did, I was like, wow, like, this goes way farther than I thought. She has, like, a much bigger influence than I ever thought.”

Watch the segment above, and read more from Jenny here: and here:


GoodWeave Launches New Campaign to End Child Labor in Carpet Industry

September 2, 2014 by

GoodWeave just launched a new campaign we’re excited to share with you. Child servitude is a crime committed against 168 million children worldwide. The new short video Stand with Sanju demonstrates how consumer buying power could end child slavery in the carpet industry. GoodWeave’s campaign actions include: Shop, donate, win a free rug and “tell the House of Representatives to take the first step to passing the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2014 (H.R. 4842) by holding a hearing. This bill requires large companies to publish how they prevent human trafficking, slavery and child labor in their supply chains.” A note from executive director Nina Smith:

This Labor Day, many of us are preparing for the start of a new school year and savoring the final moments as a family this summer. It’s with that in mind, that I’d like to make a big announcement about GoodWeave’s newest campaign and debut the inspiring video at the center of it all.

Watch this inspiring video now. Winner of a Stories of Change award from Skoll Foundation and Sundance, this three-minute video depicts the real and triumphant journey of Sanju. You’ll see how she went from being a slave in a carpet factory to the first person in her family to go to school—and how you played a part in making that happen.

In the final scene, elements are beautifully interwoven to make Sanju’s story into a rug—a rug that is actually being made right now by one of the world’s leading designers. It will be given away to someone who joins with GoodWeave at the end of the video.

But the end of the video is just the beginning. Stand with Sanju is the centerpiece of a new campaign that will catapult GoodWeave to fulfilling its original mission by 2020—to end child labor in the carpet industry. It will invite you to take part in a range of actions.

After you’ve watched it, then act and share. One by one, GoodWeave will reach millions of consumers and ensure that all the carpet kids like Sanju left on the looms will soon get ‘back to school’ as well.”

Learn more: and read Nina’s new CNN editorial:



New IPS Amazonia Website Maps Social Progress in the Brazilian Amazon

August 26, 2014 by

We recently shared that conservation of the Brazilian Amazon is threatened by the poor social conditions of its people. That’s the summary of the Social Progress Index for the Brazilian Amazon, published by the Brazilian nonprofit Imazon in partnership with the global nonprofit Social Progress Imperative.

The report measured the social progress of the people living within 772 municipalities and nine states of the Brazilian Amazon. It found that people living there face huge challenges in almost every measure of social progress.

The Social Progress Index built for the Brazilian Amazon combined globally relevant indicators, such as maternal mortality rates, access to piped water, and secondary school enrolment, with customized indicators adapted to the local context, such as deforestation rates, malaria incidence, child and teenage pregnancies, and violence against indigenous people.

This news has been covered by dozens of publications, from Thomson Reuters to the Global Post to Globo. 

Now, the new IPS Amazonia data web site is online, complete with interactive maps and scorecards for each of 772 municipalities across 43 indicators. It shows very clearly that economic development and social progress are not the same.

Learn more at


Video: Tony Meloto Talks About Nation-Building after Typhoon Haiyan

August 14, 2014 by

November’s massive typhoon in the Philippines left behind much destruction. Gawad Kalinga was there immediately. Now, chairman and founder Tony Meloto shares their success in an interview with Gawad Kalinga mobilized 1.6 volunteers who helped build 1,200 homes, repaired 339 roofs, and gave 613 boats to fishermen by July 2014. By December, GK’s goal is to rebuild 6,000 homes, repair 1,500 roofs and donate 1,500 boats.

“It’s the greatness of the human spirit that we need to unleash,” Tony said in the interview. “And there’s so much of that. So when we see this great devastation, we also see great opportunities for us to be transcendent above our own needs and just rise together.”

Listen to the rest above.



CNBC Africa Features KickStart

August 8, 2014 by

CNBC Africa just featured KickStart on their program, “It’s Africa’s Time.” Watch the segment and see how Citi’s working capital loan is helping KickStart trigger transformative change in Africa.



APOPO Featured on CNBC Africa

August 1, 2014 by

APOPO and its work was just featured on CNBC Africa. Watch the segment above. An excerpt:

“In 2000, after three years of work, Bart Weetjens trained his first rats in Morogoro, Tanzania, through his company APOPO. Since then, landmine clearing rats have unearthed at least 3,212 mines, 1,077 UXOs (discarded bombs and grenades) and 26,934 small arms and ammunitions. They’ve worked in two of the world’s most landmine infested countries: Mozambique and Angola. Eighteen more rats will soon be working in Cambodia One rat can clear up to 400 square meters a day. An engineer, with a metal detector, can only do 25 to 50 square meters.”

Read more:


Malala Shares What “Ambition” Means to Her

July 14, 2014 by

Today is Malala Day. Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Skoll Global Treasure Award at the Skoll World Forum earlier this year, and  is the ambassador and co-founder of the Malala Fund and global human rights activist. We chatted with her about what “ambition” means to her, and wanted to share it.

For her 17th birthday today, according to national press, she “marked her 17th birthday Monday with a visit to Nigeria and urged Islamic extremists to free the 219 schoolgirls who were kidnapped there, calling them her ‘sisters.'”

Earlier this month, Malala visited Kenya on a trip hosted by Skoll Awardee Free the Children, which you can learn more about here.

Don’t miss her Global Treasure acceptance speech, in which she says, “We fight for peace, justice and harmony so that we can move forward and create a better world. I will use this award to continue my campaign for the education of every child through the Malala Fund. I hope that you will support children to go to school and be what they want and fulfill their dreams and I pledge to support you as well.”


Carne Ross Weighs in on Iraq on The Rachel Maddow Show

June 23, 2014 by

Carne Ross of Independent Diplomat recently answered questions about Iraq on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

The six-minute interview covered the quality of the debate (which he called “confused”), significance of the U.S. troops going in and whether or not it’s important (he said it’s not too significant), whether or not the U.S. can work with allies and if Iranians need to be engaged, possible solutions, the fate of the Kurds and political reorientation in the region, the crisis in Syria, and more. Watch it above.





© 2015 Skoll Foundation.