Skoll Foundation


Support the Partners in Health Ebola Response

September 11, 2014 by

An important message from Skoll Awardee Partners in Health:

“The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a defining global health challenge of our time. The virus has killed more than 2,200 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea as of Sept. 11, and more than 4,000 cases have been confirmed. Tens of thousands of people could be infected as the virus spreads. The outbreak has put an enormous strain on already weak health systems, and international organizations and higher-income countries have been slow to respond.

Partners In Health is leading an effort to combat this outbreak, working alongside two outstanding grassroots organizations—Last Mile Health in Liberia and Wellbody Alliance in Sierra Leone. These groups are already working to train health workers, identify sick patients, and deliver quality care. As the epidemic advances, these groups need support to provide comprehensive prevention, care, and treatment. In coalition with Last Mile Health and Wellbody Alliance, PIH is committed to supporting the delivery of comprehensive health services and establishing Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in Grand Gedeh, Liberia, and Kono, Sierra Leone, which will work in concert with those organizations’ existing efforts.

PIH is actively recruiting clinicians, logisticians, and other health system professionals to support the work of Last Mile Health and Wellbody Alliance. We are seeking a large number of short-term volunteers and longer-term positions to help staff the ETUs, as well as help support the community-based work that is needed. read more


Visayan Forum’s Two New Campaigns for Overseas Filipino Workers

September 11, 2014 by
Visayan Forum Foundation is currently promoting two international campaigns with its partner, Walk Free. The first calls on the Philippine government to suspend recruitment agencies accused of abusing overseas Filipino Workers:

“Have you ever worked for more than 18 hours a day? Or been forced to eat garbage? This is how Anne lived as a domestic helper in Kuwait. She was also beaten daily and sexually assaulted by her employer. Anne was trapped in modern slavery. The Department of Justice has identified recruitment agencies linked to modern slavery in Kuwait that continue to operate. Thousands of Filipinos, like Anne, could suffer the same fate if these recruitment agencies are not investigated and suspended.”

The second calls on the Philippines’ social welfare department to deploy social workers to Philippine embassies overseas to aid distressed Filipino workers.

“Social Welfare Officers have been assigned to 8 of the top 11 destination and high-risk countries for Filipinos working abroad. However, Singapore, Taiwan, and Bahrain top the list with nearly 250,000 total overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) but still don’t have Social Welfare Officers in place.  Secretary Soliman, please commit to requesting the placement of Social Welfare Officers in Singapore, Taiwan, and Bahrain to help make shelters safer for OFWs.”

Learn more in their recent op-ed, a reaction to the US Trafficking in Persons Report 2014:
“It does seem that the number of partnerships being formed against human trafficking — among government agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations, faith-based groups, community watch groups and academic institutions — is unprecedented in our nation’s history. For that, we are thankful. The challenge now is to prioritize strategic and high-impact interventions that bring about real social change. This can only be done if we protect at-risk groups, deter traffickers and empower victims. With cautious optimism, we celebrate how far we’ve come in the fight against trafficking, but we also brace ourselves for the long road ahead.”

New Teacher Center Profiled in Stanford Social Innovation Review

September 10, 2014 by

Ellen Moir and New Teacher Center were just profiled in Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR). The piece details how New Teacher Center works, and their success. An excerpt:

“‘We know that the teacher is the single most important component of improving student learning. We also know that good teachers are made, not born,’ Moir says…. The New Teacher Center provides structured, long-term support that will better equip beginning teachers to work with students. NTC has expanded to 40 states since its start in 1998. According to NTC data, districts that adopt the NTC model achieve retention rates of 80 percent or more (as against the national average of 56 percent.) ‘In most cities,’ Moir says, ‘we up retention by 20 percent’ over a district’s previous retention rate.”

Read the rest:


Charmian Gooch Named One of Bloomberg’s Most Influential

September 8, 2014 by

Congratulations to Skoll awardee Charmian Gooch, who was just chosen for the fourth annual Bloomberg Markets 50 Most Influential list, which appears in the magazine’s October special issue. The magazine noted her work “fighting graft in the developing world and pushing for new rules on shell companies, used to hide ownership.” The latter also garnered her the TED Prize earlier this year.

“To arrive at our 50, we start with a larger group of candidates assembled with the help of Bloomberg News journalists in bureaus across the globe. Rankings and profiles published inBloomberg Markets throughout the year help guide the selection process, with the magazine’s editors narrowing the final list to 10 people in each of five categories: Money Managers, Thinkers, Corporate Power Brokers, Bankers and Policy Makers. We select individuals based on what they’re doing now, rather than past achievements, and almost three-fifths of this year’s list is made up of people who are appearing for the first time,” the announcement said.

We also congratulate Jacqueline Novogratz of The Acumen Fund, a former grantee.  Learn more about Charmian:

UPDATE: Here is the feature article about Charmian, just published:


Global Witness Report: How Secret Payments Helped UK Firm open African National Park to Oil

September 5, 2014 by

A new Global Witness report says that “British oil company Soco International and its contractors have made illicit payments, appear to have paid off armed rebels and benefited from fear and violence fostered by government security forces in eastern Congo, as they sought access to Africa’s oldest national park for oil exploration.” The report is getting lots of media coverage, including from the Agence France-Presse.

More from the press release:

“The shocking behaviour of one of the UK’s 200 largest public companies is laid bare in a new report released today by Global Witness. Our findings are based on undercover recordings gathered in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of an investigation by UK film-makers, which have been reviewed by Global Witness.

The material was collected in the course of research for the feature-length documentary Virunga but only some of it features in that film, which will be released on Netflix in November. The material includes audio and video recordings by a court-appointed investigator, community activists and French freelance journalist Mélanie Gouby.

Among the most startling evidence in the recordings are: a Congolese intelligence officer closely allied to Soco offering a park ranger thousands of dollars to spy on the chief warden of Virunga National Park, Emmanuel de Mérode; a senior Soco official and one of the company’s contractors appearing to admit that Soco paid rebels; and a local MP admitting to having received monthly payments from Soco for lobbying in favour of the company.

Activists and park rangers who criticised Soco’s operations have been arrested, and in some cases beaten or stabbed, by soldiers and intelligence agents supporting Soco’s entry to the region. Some of these cases are described in our report and were also documented independently by Human Rights Watch in June this year.There is no evidence that the security forces in question were acting on instructions from the company.”

Read the rest:‘drillers-mist’-how-secret-payments-and-climate-violence-helped-uk-firm-open-african

Some of the media coverage:


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


New York Times Op-Ed: YouthBuild USA Model of Success

August 25, 2014 by

University of California Professor Berkeley David L. Kirp recently wrote a New York Times op-ed and cited YouthBuild USA as an example of success. The article, called “Teaching is Not a Business,” focused on how students “need a champion, someone who believes in them, and that’s where teachers enter the picture.” He continued:

“Every successful educational initiative of which I’m aware aims at strengthening personal bonds by building strong systems of support in the schools…

Over the past 25 years, YouthBuild has given solid work experience and classroom tutoring to hundreds of thousands of high school dropouts. Seventy-one percent of those youngsters, on whom the schools have given up, earn a G.E.D. — close to the national high school graduation rate. The YouthBuild students say they’re motivated to get an education because their teachers ‘have our backs.’

The same message — that the personal touch is crucial — comes from community college students who have participated in the City University of New York’s anti-dropout initiative, which has doubled graduation rates.”

Read the rest:



Global Footprint Network: Our Ecological Footprint Exceeded our Planet’s Annual Budget

August 22, 2014 by

News from Global Footprint Network:

It has taken less than eight months for humanity to use up nature’s entire budget for the year and go into ecological overshoot, according to data from Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability think tank with offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

Global Footprint Network tracks humanity’s demand on the planet (Ecological Footprint) against nature’s biocapacity, i.e., its ability to replenish the planet’s resources and absorb waste, including CO2. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s Footprint in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. Since 2000, overshoot has grown, according to Global Footprint Network’s calculations. Consequently, Earth Overshoot Day has moved from early October in 2000 to August 19 this year.

Read the rest:



Eric Schwarz’s New Book “The Opportunity Equation” is a Call to Action

August 21, 2014 by

On Sept. 2, Eric Schwarz‘s new book, The Opportunity Equation: How Citizen Teachers are Combating the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools, will be released. It’s available for pre-order and has some great reviews. More about it from Eric:

The Opportunity Equation is part personal story, large part Citizen Schools story, and most of all a call to action to citizens across the country to get active in addressing our nation’s growing opportunity and achievement gaps.

The book is already getting pre-publication reviews and they are encouraging. Kirkus Reviews calls the book ‘a call to action for citizens and educators so that the achievement gap can be closed as rapidly as possible.’  And Publisher’s Weekly said, ‘Combining data-rich statistics with frequently funny and animated accounts of his work with Citizen Schools, including a bracing candor about mistakes and learning on the fly, Schwarz offers…a constructive blueprint for boosting achievement without abandoning public education.’

It is my hope that this book will provoke new thinking about education, build understanding, influence policy, and mobilize citizens to do their part in lifting up opportunity for all children. Stories like that of Alan Su, a whiz kid engineer at Google who taught a computer programming apprenticeship five times at the Clarence Edwards Middle School, and of Margie Tkacik, who allowed me to be the first Citizen Teacher in our program when I taught a journalism apprenticeship in her classroom, will help readers see themselves as key participants in the change that needs to happen. read more


APOPO in National Geographic

August 20, 2014 by

National Geographic just featured APOPO in a story called “Giant Rats Trained to Sniff Out Tuberculosis in Africa.” An excerpt:

“Training rats to detect TB is a relatively new endeavor for APOPO, the Belgian nonprofit organization that’s best known for using rats to find land mines. APOPO began using TB rats in Tanzania in 2008 and in Mozambique in 2013. Currently, the animals work in 21 medical centers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital, and double-check 75 percent of potential TB samples from medical centers in the Mozambique capital of Maputo.

Like the battle against land mines, the fight against TB—which claimed 480,000 lives in Africa in 2012, 58,000 of them in Mozambique, according to the World Health Organization—is badly in need of an innovative, rapid, and affordable detection technique.”

Read the rest:, The Anthropozine and Ceres’ new Climate Change Disclosure Tool

August 18, 2014 by

Are you a teacher who wants some mentoring? Do you want to read a new environmental site? How about checking out company filings related to climate-change disclosures?

Three new Skoll awardee microsites can help. We’ve noticed that more organizations are creating these innovative ways to connect and learn, so we’re highlighting some of the newest ones: New Teacher Center debuted video-mentoring; Forest Trends‘ Ecosystem Marketplace launched “The AnthropoZine,” about all things earth; and Ceres’ gives access to SEC climate change disclosure from 3,000 companies.

Here’s a little more:

  • New Teacher Center launched a beta version of  “Ask a Mentor” powered by Torsh, a new mentoring service for teachers. It provides teachers with “just in time,” on-demand access to expert mentors who will give quality feedback and support, along with suggestions for how to continually improve their practice.
  • The AnthropoZine “focuses on the interplay between economy and ecology, between ecology and psychology, and among all of these fields and the hard sciences,” they say. “There is no shortage of environmental news services, and we’re not here to compete with the likes of Ecosystem Marketplace, which spawned us, or GreenBiz or MongaBay, with whom we often share content…In launching The AnthropoZine, my goal is not to re-explain the wheel, but rather to act as a sort of traffic cop: directing like-minded people to the literature that already exists, to add to that literature where necessary, and to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Only by tying together the disparate efforts already underway can we hope to navigate ourselves through this terrain.”
  • Ceres and CookESG Research launched a free web tool for accessing climate change-related disclosures in company filings with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, which issued formal climate disclosure guidance in 2010. Available at, the tool allows users to filter and customize company 10-K filing excerpts relating to clean energy, renewables, weather risk and climate-related regulatory risks and opportunities. The tool scans filings, automatically identifies climate-related text, and sorts information into renewable energy, physical impacts and other categories. Users can search by industry, and can search for topics such as “climate and fossil fuel extraction,” “energy/fuel efficiency,” and “GHG emissions reduction goals.”

Medic Mobile Launches New Platform; First One Focuses on Prenatal Care

August 15, 2014 by

Medic Mobile just announced a new version of their platform and a new website. Their updated platform is free, designed specifically for last-mile clinics and health workers, and easy to use.

“NGOs, clinics, and grassroots organizations can now sign up as beta testers for the first downloadable version focused on Antenatal Care, and we aim to make it available to everyone who needs it,” said CEO Josh Nesbit.

We’ve taken a tour of the new platform. Here are some highlights:

  • It’s designed for hard-to-reach areas and works with no Internet access and limited electricity
  • It has an easy-to-use inbox
  • It allows you to send a message to all of the health workers at one clinic (or just one!)
  • You can see the full picture with powerful analytics, such as how many women have due dates in a particular month, or how many visits patients have completed

Learn more at their new web site:


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.



Climate Change and Land Rights: New Landesa Stories

August 13, 2014 by

How are land rights related to climate change, and what can farmers do about it? What is Philanthropy 3.0? And how do land rights in Rwanda help the country reach its development goals? Those answers are in some new stories by and about Landesa.

India Climate Dialogue ran a story about how secure land rights is helping farmers adapt to climate change.

“In India, erratic monsoons are becoming the new normal. According to the India Meteorological Department, this was the driest June since 1901, leading to serious fears of drought; by mid-July the rain deficit was still 36%. Odisha had a 40% deficit in June, the crucial sowing month. This is catastrophic news for over 60% of India’s farmers, who are dependent on the annual June-September monsoon to irrigate their farms. But neither Sisa nor anybody else in her subsistence farming tribal community is worried. They no longer depend on the temperamental monsoon to grow their food.” 

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy ran a blog by Landesa board chair, Chris Grumm, about her “Philanthropy 3.0” philosophy and her involvement with Landesa. This blog mentions the Skoll Foundation.

“Philanthropy 3.0 doesn’t produce results as quickly as giving a child a vaccine. In fact, it isn’t even as fast as educating a girl. Often, it can take decades. But when successful, it can impact millions of families. There are a variety of organizations that do this sort of work, often partnering with governments to implement laws and policies that create transformative, structural change. They are supported by philanthropists such as the Skoll Foundation and the Omidyar Network, which are looking to leverage their investment, maximize their return and redefine philanthropy.”

And Trust Law ran Landesa Africa Program Director Jen Duncan’s blog on Women’s Land Rights in Rwanda. The blog was created to help launch Landesa’s new Rwanda strategy.

“More secure rights for Rwanda’s women are critical not just for women’s economic empowerment, but also to help Rwanda achieve a host of development goals.”


Jockin Arputham Profiled in one of India’s Largest Business Newspapers

August 11, 2014 by

Mint, a business paper from the Hindustan Times in association with The Wall Street Journal, just published a long profile of Jockin Arputham. The piece covered everything from Jockin’s early life to his unique ways of getting local governments to listen. And of course, it mentioned his Nobel Peace Prize nomination. An excerpt:

“Most of the time, Arputham, or “Jockin sir”, as the slum dwellers of Mumbai call him, is every bit a Dharavi man—astute, resourceful and intrepid. Since the 1970s, he has been the voice of Mumbai’s urban poor that successive governments have not been able to ignore. He has made the slum dweller’s life visible in this overpowering, forgetful city. He has guerrilla tactics for “no eviction without alternative” drives—holding on to a stay order till eviction is about to start, causing the police inconvenience; sending unwashed women in a large group to police stations so the officers on duty listen to them quickly and let them go; camouflaging his small frame behind dupattas and saris of women to avoid police arrest; and gathering thousands together to paralyse streets. On paper, Arputham has been arrested more than 50 times…But that alone ought not to have got Arputham the Padma Shri and Ramon Magsaysay awards—both gleaming on a shelf at his Dharavi office—and the Nobel Peace Prize nomination. It has been reported that the Swedish minister for public administration and housing presented his nomination and, so far, he has the support of ministers from Norway, South Africa and Brazil.” 

Read more at:–Light-from-the-matchbox.html?utm_source=copy


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.



Ann Cotton Speaks at U.S.-Africa Summit Hosted by the White House and Others

August 6, 2014 by

Camfed and the MasterCard Foundation Publish “When You Educate a Girl, Everything Changes”, Collection of Stories Charting the Journeys and Aspirations of Scholars in Ghana

Camfed (Campaign for Female Education), an international nonprofit organization that invests in the education of girls in rural Africa, announced that today, Founder and President Ann Cotton joined an esteemed panel of experts in Washington, D.C. to address the expansion of education, health and economic access in Africa. The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit was hosted by the White House, the George W. Bush Institute and the U.S. State Department.

First Ladies from nearly 30 countries joined Michelle Obama and Laura Bush to share success stories and identify actionable solutions to the challenges women and girls face in Africa.

“It is a great honor to participate in this Summit,” said Cotton. “For more than 20 years, Camfed has supported a generation of African girls and women with access to secondary and higher education, employment opportunities and, ultimately, into positions of leadership. I was asked to share our experiences and discuss ways to replicate Camfed’s success in rural Africa in many more locations.”

Camfed and The MasterCard Foundation are also excited to announce the publication of “When you educate a girl, everything changes”, a book which profiles MasterCard Foundation Scholars in Ghana supported by Camfed. The Scholars share the challenges they have faced in securing their education and their hopes for the future. read more


Tostan’s Work Shared at Reception During Girl Summit

August 6, 2014 by

We recently blogged about the Girl Summit, which brought together leaders from 50 countries to focus on ending FGC and child marriage. Orchid Project hosted the pre-Girl Summit reception in London. The Skoll Foundation provided copies of However Long The Night, along with a note from our CEO Sally Osberg.

Orchid Project, based in the UK, works to shape the dialogue around FGC, advocate for prioritization of the issue, communicate the scale and impact of FGC and how it is ending and support the efforts of organizations working towards abandonment.

“We have partnered with Tostan now for four years, recognizing the long term, sustainable abandonment of FGC that their work brings” said Julia Lalla-Maharajh, CEO and Founder of Orchid Project. “We are currently supporting Tostan’s social mobilization work—teams of volunteers from communities that have already abandoned FGC travel to neighboring communities, beginning a dialogue on FGC, explaining why they have chosen to abandon and supporting wider efforts that are leading to the practice ending.

“The event was really remarkable,” Julia says.”Speaking alongside two UK Cabinet Ministers and the Director General of UNICEF, as well as local activists, in front of 500 people, I was able to use the book to ask attendees to self-brief about how communities themselves are choosing their own futures. In the last few years in the UK, we have seen an incredible uptake of the issue of ending FGC and now we need to build on this progress elsewhere in the world. Using However Long the Night is a wonderful way to support that message.”



© 2014 Skoll Foundation.