Skoll Foundation

 

Videos

Remembering Nelson Mandela: CNN and BBC Interviews with The Elders

December 9, 2013 by
 
 

Nelson Mandela was the founder of The Elders, which Skoll Foundation Founder Jeff Skoll and CEO Sally Osberg sit on the Advisory Council of. Several of the Elders have been speaking about Mandela in the media since his passing. Here are two interviews we’d like to share today.

Mary Robinson remembers Mandela on CNN:

“I think it’s extraordinary that the thoughts on the world are on one man that most people who feel very acutely about haven’t met, and yet they know he was an extraordinary man. I hope we will think more about, ‘What is the compelling nature of our sense that this man was the best of us? Because he was.  He did represent those values. He also was great fun, had wonderful comic timing and was very humble.”

Watch the rest above.

Jimmy Carter interview with Justin Webb, who asks “Could the Mandela template properly be used elsewhere?” on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme:

“Nelson was very pleased with what we [as the Elders] tried to do. The last time he went out in public to meet with The Elders in Johannesburg and he came to our hotel so we would have a photograph together. Nelson carried to his grave his total commitment to resolve issues peacefully, forgive those who hurt him personally,  and try to look at the best side of people with whom he had differences.”

Listen to the rest at 1 hour and 16 minutes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03kp2rx#programme-broadcasts

 

The Skoll Foundation Mourns the Passing of Nelson Mandela

December 5, 2013 by
 
 

The Skoll Foundation mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela and expresses its deepest sympathy to his family.

“Madiba leaves behind a long legacy of compassion and an unwavering commitment to justice,” said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “He inspires us all to continue to drive toward a more peaceful and prosperous world.”

As advisory council members for The Elders—a group of global leaders founded by Mandela—Skoll Foundation Founder and Chairman, Jeff Skoll, and Sally Osberg have had the privilege of benefiting from and supporting Mandela’s vision for peace, justice, and human rights.

The Elders have issued a statement commemorating Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy.

See it here:

http://theelders.org/article/elders-honour-memory-their-founder-nelson-mandela

 

Jeff Skoll on 60 Minutes

November 17, 2013 by
 
 

Our founder Jeff Skoll was part of a 60 Minutes segment tonight about The Giving Pledge. Charlie Rose talked to Mr. Skoll about some of his films, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, and more. Watch it above.

 

Sakena Yacoobi Wins $1 Million Opus Prize

November 13, 2013 by
 
 

Congratulations, Sakena!

Just moments ago, Skoll Awardee Sakena Yacoobi of Afghan Institute of Learning won The Opus Prize, “given annually to recognize unsung heroes of any faith tradition, anywhere in the world, solving today’s most persistent social problems. This $1 million faith-based humanitarian award and two $75,000 awards are collectively one of the world’s largest faith-based, humanitarian awards for social innovation.

Opus Prize winners combine an entrepreneurial spirit with an abiding faith to combat seemingly intractable global issues like poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease, and injustice.  Opus Prize winners demonstrate that change is possible, empowering and inspiring all of us.”

At the awards ceremony, Sakena said she will use the award to help educate Afghanistan’s youth and said, “Now I can do things that are my dream.”

She added, “Don’t feel pity for [Afghan women]. They are strong and they have dignity.”

It’s been a great awards season for Sakena: She also recently won the Global Generations Award and the Pioneer Award by Good Deals 13.

Learn more about today’s award: http://www.opusprize.org/index.cfm

 

Root Capital Launches Coffee Farmer Resilience Initiative with Skoll Foundation and Other Partners

November 7, 2013 by
 
 

Root Capital just launched its Coffee Farmer Resilience Initiative. The Initiative, a collaborative venture between Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Skoll Foundation, stabilizes supply chains by investing in coffee farmers at the base of the value chain, who are on the front lines of battling the leaf rust epidemic in Latin America. They made the formal announcement before hundreds of coffee industry professionals at Let’s Talk Roya, a solutions-oriented conference hosted by Sustainable Harvest, a private sector partner helping to implement the Initiative.

Here’s more about it from Root:

“The $7 million initiative will allow Root Capital to lend more than $10 million for resilience investments, and provide financial management training, to 50 agricultural enterprises representing 40,000 farmers, reaching approximately 200,000 family members in farming communities in Latin America.

We launched the Initiative with a $2 million loan to an impressive Root Capital clientcalled SOPPEXCCA, a 650-member coffee farmer cooperative based in Jinotega, Nicaragua. SOPPEXCCA will use this loan to renovate farms ravaged by the fungus, replacing dead coffee trees with new, high-quality, rust-resistant varietals.”

Read more from Root Capital’s leader, Willy Foote: http://www.forbes.com/sites/willyfoote/2013/11/07/what-my-great-grandfather-taught-me-about-climate-change-and-agriculture/ and read more about the initiative: http://blog.rootcapital.org/back-roads-to-boardrooms/root-capital-launches-7-million-initiative-to-combat-la-roya-and-build-farmer-resilience

 

Jeff Skoll Speaks on XPrize Insights: Video

November 6, 2013 by
 
 

In today’s one-minute video on XPrize Insights, our founder Jeff Skoll talks about a meeting with John Gardner that deeply influenced his life. XPRIZE Insights is a video series that highlights leading thinkers of our time. Skoll said that Gardner told him about “individuals who were dedicated to solving literacy or the health system, education, saving the rainforest… and they needed a different kind of backing and that was at the dawn of what became known as social entrepreneurship.”

 

Sonidos de la Tierra Breaks Guinness World Record for the Largest Harp Ensemble

November 5, 2013 by
 
 

Sonidos de la Tierra recently broke the Guinness World Record for the largest harp ensemble. 420 Paraguayan harpists doubled the previous record of 201 musicians set in Edinburgh in 2006.

“For Paraguay, this achievement means much more than being the record holders of the world’s largest harp ensemble,” says Andrea Burt of Sonidos. “The Paraguayan harp is a national symbol of our culture. Thus, breaking the Guinness World Record with this instrument had the objective of promoting national pride, honoring the work of professional harpists, and empowering the children and youth of the Sonidos de la Tierra network, who come from underprivileged backgrounds.

#SUENAPARAGUAY, as the event was called, was declared of municipal, cultural, and national touristic interest. The performance of the 420 harpists was so powerful it made front-page headlines of the three biggest newspapers in the country last Sunday. The national fervor that resulted from this event illustrates the motivational power of music—the very same power that transforms lives and transcends boundaries.”

Watch the video above to hear them.

 

Molly Melching on Why Development Projects Fail—and Disempower—at the Community Level

October 31, 2013 by
 
 

Molly Melching just wrote an op-ed for the Skoll World Forum Online and CNN.com called “To Change Society, First Change Minds.” An excerpt:

“After arriving in Senegal in 1974, I lived in a small village near Thiès for three years. It was here that I realized a lack of basic, life-saving information was causing so much unnecessary illness, tragedy and death: Two children in the village were lame from polio; ordinary wounds became infected and led to hospital stays; there were many cases of measles; a baby died from dehydration.

It was also here that I began to understand why development projects have often failed and why they have even disempowered people at the community level.

To try a different approach, I partnered with the Senegalese villagers to design and implement a basic education program in African languages, and in 1991, I set up a nonprofit organization,Tostan, to continue that work.

In this program, people who had never been to school were for the first time able to understand why vaccinations are important, how to treat wounds in the village and how to ensure simple diarrhea does not lead to dehydration and death.”

Read the rest: http://skollworldforum.org/2013/10/31/to-change-society-first-change-minds/ and learn more about Molly’s book at http://www.skollfoundation.org/approach/however-long-the-night/

 

2013 Wise Prize for Education Awarded to Vicky Colbert

October 29, 2013 by
 
 

Congratulations, Skoll Awardee Vicky Colbert of Escuela Nueva! The above video was shown at today’s awards ceremony in Doha, Qatar.

From WISE:

The 2013 WISE Prize for Education, the first distinction of its kind to recognize an individual or a team for an outstanding, world-class contribution to education, has been awarded to Ms. Vicky Colbert of Colombia. Founder and Director of Fundación Escuela Nueva, Ms. Colbert is co-creator of the Escuela Nueva education model, widely known for its effectiveness in improving the quality and relevance of basic education in underprivileged schools across Colombia and beyond.

The Prize was presented by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, at the Opening Plenary Session of the fifth World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, Qatar, before more than 1,000 experts from diverse fields and over 100 countries. The WISE Prize for Education was established in 2011 to enhance the status of education by giving it similar prestige to other areas for which international prizes already exist, such as literature, peace and economics.  The Laureate receives an award of $500,000 (US) and a specially minted gold medal. Initiated in 1975 in rural Colombia, the Escuela Nueva model began as a bottom-up approach by bringing together a team of experienced rural teachers to transform education at the highest level.  Leading this approach, Ms. Colbert created important links between communities, families, teachers, research institutions and policy makers.

This unique pedagogical model became a national policy in Colombia in the 1980s and was replicated in various regions around the country.  It has since been adapted by a number of countries around the world and recognized as one of the most successful public policy reforms among developing countries by organizations including the World Bank and the United Nations.

In congratulating the 2013 WISE Prize for Education Laureate, H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Ph.D., Chairman of WISE, said: “Vicky Colbert has dedicated her life to revitalizing education through effective and relevant student-centered pedagogical methods that involve families and entire communities as well as teachers in the process. Her work has had a significant impact in Latin America and beyond, greatly expanding access to affordable quality education for the less-privileged.”

Ms. Vicky Colbert said: “I am very honored and humbled to receive the 2013 WISE Prize for Education. This Prize recognizes that bringing education to all children and empowering them for lifelong learning is an important foundation for human development, and it is something that can be achieved when teachers and children are given the right tools to lead change.”

Despite the political conflict that has plagued the country for several decades, Ms. Colbert has worked tirelessly as a quiet revolutionary to develop real opportunity through education.   To date, Escuela Nueva has been implemented throughout Latin America – including Brazil and Mexico – in the Caribbean, East Timor and Vietnam reaching more than five million children around the globe.

 

Muhammad Yunus in the Financial Times: A Profile

October 28, 2013 by
 
 

Skoll Global Treasure Award winner Muhammad Yunus just sat down with the Financial Times for an interview about his life. Yunus is very dear to the Skoll Foundation; not only has he spoken at several Skoll World Forums, he was just honored this past year (see video, above). Here is an excerpt of the profile about him:

“The roots of Yunus’s fame go back to the mid-1970s, when he was head of the university economics department in the Bangladesh port of Chittagong. He was born just outside the city – his father was a jeweller and the family lived above his shop – and he had returned there after six years of study and teaching in the US.

Wanting to understand the reasons for the dire poverty all around, he paid visits to a village near the university campus where he discovered people so poor that they could not pay for the raw materials needed for their tiny businesses. They were reliant on usurious middlemen. Yunus was moved to lend 42 of them $27 out of his own pocket to break the cycle.

It was the start of the microcredit revolution. Traditionally, banks shun the poorest as bad credit risks, since they have no collateral for loans. But with a series of increasingly ambitious experiments – initially with himself as guarantor for bank loans – Yunus established that many of the poorest could be good repayers: they knew a line of credit was their only chance to break out of indigence.

Out of this grew Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, dedicated to lending small sums to tiny entrepreneurs. Then, as now, many were illiterate and more than 90 per cent were female – itself revolutionary in an Islamic country with a conservative attitude to women working.”

Read the rest: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/13420d7c-3be2-11e3-b85f-00144feab7de.html#axzz2j26mW4G5

And hear him speaking at past Skoll World Forum events: http://skollworldforum.org/contributor/muhammad-yunus/

 

The Citizens Foundation Featured on PBS NewsHour

October 15, 2013 by
 
 

The Citizens Foundation in Pakistan was featured on PBS NewsHour last night. Watch the segment above. Here’s an excerpt of the transcript:

JOURNALIST FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Mushtaq Chhapra says he and a few other successful businessmen decided they wanted to give back to society, and in 1995 they began building schools for the poor.

SKOLL AWARDEE MUSHTAQ CHHAPRA: If you look at the construction, we try to maximize or use the materials which are locally available.

FD: They founded The Citizens Foundation, widely known as TCF, which built and runs this K-12 school and nearly 500 others in villages and slums across Pakistan.

MC: We wanted to give them what our children, the children from well-to-do families, have been through and who have gotten that kind of education, with proper classrooms, books, curriculum.

FD: Things mostly absent from a deeply corrupt public government school system these children would otherwise attend, he says, with telling consequences, like the difference in graduation rates.

MC: The average percentage of the government’s results from the high school is in the vicinity of 40 percent to 43 percent. Citizens Foundation children have results of in excess of 95 percent.

Read the rest: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/july-dec13/pakistan_10-14.html

 

Mercury-Free by 2020

October 11, 2013 by
 
 

As governments were signing a global treaty in Japan today to phase out mercury use and emissions, Skoll Awardee Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) were launching an initiative to achieve this convention’s goal by 2020.

“I wanted to share this news with you directly, as the Skoll Foundation was so instrumental in our ability to make this happen,” HCWH President and co-founder Gary Cohen wrote in an email. “It’s not often we can celebrate a global treaty that advances our goals of creating a healthier and more sustainable world. Thanks to Sally Osberg and Jeff Skoll and the Skoll Foundation Board for believing in our vision and our ability to manifest it in the world.”

“Through this campaign, we have built a global ecosystem of collaborators that can now pivot to address the largest source of mercury emissions—coal-fired power plants—as well as continue their journey with us toward sustainable healthcare through the Green and Healthy Hospitals Network, powered by Cisco,” Cohen continued. read more

 

“Open Heart” Airs Monday on HBO

October 10, 2013 by
 
 

Earlier this year, we told you about a very special documentary: Open Heart. We’re writing today because it’s playing on television for the first time, on Monday at 10:20 p.m. EST/7:20 p.m. PST on HBO. (See the HBO trailer starting at 39 seconds, above).

Part of the Skoll Foundation/Sundance Stories of ChangeOPEN HEART was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Short category. While it didn’t win, our staffer Sandy Herz went to the Oscars and wrote about her experience.

Open Heart is the story of eight Rwandan children who leave their families behind and embark on a life-or-death journey to receive high-risk open-heart surgery in Africa’s only free-of-charge, state-of-the-art cardiac hospital, the Salam Center run by Emergency, an Italian NGO. Their heart valves, damaged and weakened by rheumatic heart disease, which develops from untreated childhood strep throat, leave them lethargic and weak. Some of the children have only months to live.

Here is the official media advisory:

Open Heart on HBO

Oscar-nominated documentary “Open Heart” premieres on HBO and features the Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery, run by EMERGENCY, on Monday, October 14th at 10:20 PM ET (7:20 PM PT)

****

On October 14th, HBO will premiere the Oscar-nominated documentary “Open Heart”, a powerful and touching story that follows eight children from Rwanda as they travel to Sudan to receive medical treatment for rheumatic heart disease (RHD), which develops from untreated strep throat. Far from their families and 2,500 miles from home, the children travel to the Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan, Africa’s only hospital that performs high-standard cardiac surgery free of charge.

The Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery is run by EMERGENCY, an international non-profit organization founded in 1994 by the Italian war surgeon, Gino Strada and is based in Milan, Italy. In 2008, the organization established EMERGENCY USA based in San Francisco.

Although RHD is nearly non-existent among children in the US today, it continues to affect the lives of 18 million people in Africa, many of whom are children and who urgently need medical attention. Despite the fact that RHD kills 300,000 people per year, the Salam Center is the only facility in Africa that provides cardiac surgery free of charge. Funding for the Salam Center comes primarily from private donations (approximately 70%) as well as the Sudanese government (approximately 30%).

In addition to running the Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan, EMERGENCY has also operated in high-risk and war-torn areas where many organizations don’t dare to enter including Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and more.

 

 

Landesa’s new Land Post-2015 Site, and more land rights news

October 2, 2013 by
 
 

Landesa just launched a website devoted to advocating for the inclusion of secure rights to land and other productive resources for women and men as a target in the post 2015 framework.

Since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will expire in 2015, the international development community is developing a post “post-2015” global development agenda that takes into account factors that were previously ignored – factors that may help us make progress on some of the particularly recalcitrant challenges we face– factors like secure rights to land for women and men.

Much is at stake. The new framework will create a roadmap for how nations around the world spend their development dollars. This is likely the greatest window of opportunity in a generation for influencing how the world addresses its most pressing challenges.

Landesa hopes the website will help organizations join is in its advocacy efforts.

Towards that end,  the website includes a wide variety of resources such as: talking point on the importance of land rights, information about the post-2015 process, and a schedule of important eventsrelated to the post 2015 process.

Another new resource: Focus on Land in Africa (FOLA). The newly refreshed site highlights the critical connections between land and natural resource rights and development.

read more

 

FSG Releases 8 Case Studies of Collective Impact Initiatives

September 27, 2013 by
 
 

FSG is a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in research, strategy, and evaluation. They just released eight case studies of successful collective impact initiatives and we wanted to share them with you.

Here’s what they said:

“One of the most common questions we hear about collective impact is, ‘What works?’

To share examples of successful collective impact initiatives, we’ve created a series of case studies that feature collective impact initiatives across a range of issues areas. Each brief case study describes how the initiative began, how the five components of collective impact have taken shape, their results to date, and lessons learned. Many case studies also include a practitioner interview with the initiative’s backbone leader.

Backbone organizations, funders, and partners of collective impact initiatives will find these resources particularly valuable as a way to learn from other practitioners.”

Find out more about these collective impact initiatives:

-          Communities that Care

-          E3 Alliance

-          Memphis Fast Forward

-          Opportunity Chicago

-          Partners for a Competitive Workforce

-          The Road Map Project

-          Shape Up Somerville

-          Vibrant Communities

 

Molly Melching on Dowser: Empathy Often Forgotten

September 3, 2013 by
 
 

In a new interview with “solutions journalism” site Dowser.org, Tostan founder Molly Melching talks about empathy, the impact her book has made, and the 340 more villages in Senegal she plans to reach.

An excerpt:

“Q: Hillary Rodham Clinton said that However Long the Night’s story is ‘proof that commitment can drive transformational change.’ How do you think Tostan is changing the way we approach development?

A: I feel that empathy is often forgotten in the world of development. People are outraged about what’s going on in the world – and with very good intentions, they translate their outrage into telling people, ‘This is wrong!’ or ‘Stop this immediately!’ But we are talking about systemic change, and that goes deeper than telling people what to do.

There are things that are difficult to accept. I have had to live through the sights and stories of little girls being cut, hemorrhaging, and dying. And you are outraged. But with outrage alone, you can maybe save one girl, possibly a few girls. You need strategy to reach a critical mass of people who can make this a thing of the past – quicker than we ever thought possible.”

Read more: http://dowser.org/the-crucial-role-of-empathy-molly-melching/

 

Tim Hanstad on securing land rights for the world’s poor

August 28, 2013 by
 
 

“You can teach a person to fish, but who owns the pond?”

In a new Skoll World Forum video, Tim Hanstad, President and CEO of Landesa, describes how working alongside migrant farmworkers during his childhood sparked a passion for justice and began his fight for land rights for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Landesa has helped secure land rights for more than 105 million families, in 45 countries throughout the world.

 

Powerful Gram Vikas Film Part of New Charity:Water Campaign

August 27, 2013 by
 
 

Joe Madiath of Gram Vikas has a very simple yet powerful reason for working so hard to get clean water to India’s marginalized. He tells his own story in this video by Charity: Water—part of their new $2 million September campaign for his organization. As they wrote:

“Joe Madiath, the founder of our local partner, Gram Vikas, has built an organization focused on equality and human dignity. Through their water and sanitation program, Gram Vikas has helped more than 1,000 rural communities break the cycle of poverty by providing access to high-quality water solutions.

Their approach demands a high level of community participation — every single family, without exceptions, must adopt the Gram Vikas model of total sanitation before the village can receive clean water.”

Learn more: http://charitywater.org/september/

 

How Skoll Awardees are Using Crowdfunding for Fundraising Success

August 8, 2013 by
 
 

We’re noticing an increasing number Skoll Awardees using crowdfunding for specific projects, and wanted to share more details in case you’re contemplating doing the same.

In June, Landesa launched its first crowd-funding effort with Catapult.org. In this pilot effort, they featured their legal aid project in Andra Pradesh, with a goal of raising $10,000 to train and support 30 paralegals in the program. Those paralegals can, in a given year, help 1,000 families gain clear title to the land upon which they rely.

Landesa successfully raised the $10,000 needed.

In July, Search for Common Ground raised a little more than their $10,000 goal to launch a TV web series of their signature show, “The Team,” in America. See their Kickstarter promotional video, above.

“Although crowdfunding seems to be everywhere now, nonprofits were actually some of its earliest adopters,” writes Scot Chisholm, CEO & CoFounder, StayClassy (a crowdfunding site). “In the early days, nonprofits tied crowdfunding to their offline events, like runs, walks and rides.”

We at the Skoll Foundation partnered with the Huffington Post and CrowdRise, a crowdfunding site, on two campaigns and plan on doing one more. The first, called JobRaising, was geared toward creating jobs for America and raised $1,469,116 in donations to organizations who help support jobs.  82 percent of  those donations were less than $100.

Announced in March 2013, JVS Los Angeles (which provides job training, mentoring, expert career coaching, job placement and retention support) beat the field with $254,100 raised and received an additional $150,000 from The Skoll Foundation.    read more

 

Goodweave Fights to Unravel India’s Child Labor Issues

August 2, 2013 by
 
 

PBS NewsHour just aired a special segment on child labor in India and GoodWeave.

Here’s what GoodWeave executive director Nina Smith shared about it in a recent letter:

“The piece, Organization Fights to Unravel India’s Widespread Child Labor Abuses, brought our issue and our organization to the forefront, and for that, I am deeply proud. But most importantly, it brought the millions of invisible children who toil on looms out of the shadows and into the headlines.

I encourage all of you in the GoodWeave community to watch it. [above]

To get the story, special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro traveled to villages in eastern Uttar Pradesh, to what he called ‘the starting links of the long supply chain that leads to the export houses and the rug markets in the West.’

Using hidden cameras and cell phones, it didn’t take him long to find and document the problem. Raw footage from looms not monitored by GoodWeave showed: ‘clearly underage boys toiling alongside veterans, who themselves may have been here since they were boys.’ read more

 
 

© 2014 Skoll Foundation.