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Rejuvenating the Cacao Industry in Trinidad & Tobago

Jan Engels's picture

Photo Credit: www.trinitario-cacao.orgA relic cacao tree nestles deep in the valleys of the Northern Range of the island of Trinidad in a sleepy cacao village called Brasso Seco. Moss hangs from this tree creating an eerie effect; its ripe, rough, “lagarta” (alligator) shaped pods only hint at their fascinating contents of pale-coloured, prized Criollo-influenced, flavourful beans.  

This is the realisation of a cacao collector’s dream: ancient Trinitario cacao from the place where Trinitario originated.  Likewise, across the numerous valleys in villages of Aripo, Lopinot, Naranjho, Cumana in North Trinidad and the steep terrains of Moriah, Runnemede and Lanse Fourmi in Western Tobago, cacao trees of mainly relic Trinitario genotype still survive, carefully conserved in farmers’ fields over the decades spanning from when cocoa reigned as king, in the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, to the present day.  The chocolate world owes these dedicated farmers a debt of gratitude.

Cacao scientists from Bioversity International and the University of British Colombia at Vancouver, joined forces with some from the Cocoa Research Section of the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs (MFPLMA) and the Cocoa Research Unit (CRU) of the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago and conceived and fine-tuned an ambitious project to promote and utilise the latent treasures contained in the vast acreages of relic cacao still remarkably preserved in Trinidad and Tobago.

seToolbelt's Resource Competition has begun!

Dougg Jimenez's picture

seToolbelt is pleased to announce the launch of its second competition for original tools and resources for social enterprise! They are looking for innovative, practical, real-life responses to the challenges that arise in social enterprises so that they can help make these original tools available to the wider community of social entrepreneurs.

Electricity Simplified via Simpa Networks

Parvathi Menon's picture

This article was originally published on http://www.innovationalchemy.com/. Simpa Network has partned with SELCO, an India DM winner in 2011.

Simpa Networks has evolved a ‘Progressive Purchase‘ model for solar electricity, lighting up rural homes through a flexible payment option.  

The International Energy Agency estimates that about 1.5 billion people around the globe do NOT have access to electricity and 85% of these people live in rural areas.  In India, close to 40% of the country’s population still lives with limited access to grid electricity. This is not to say that rural India is in complete darkness. The up-front cost of procuring clean, affordable energy is high and so several parts of rural India rely on kerosene, charcoal and other forms of fuel that are easier to access and in local purchase terms, cheaper. The existence of these alternatives indicates that people have the ability to pay for energy, but it needs to be in a format and amount that they can access. Regular energy sources have not been able to find ways to fit this need yet. Simpa Networks leverages this insight into the rural market to find a way to fit within the ‘ability to pay’.

Customers pay up to $1000 over 8-10 years for kerosene lanterns why not capture what the customer is willing to pay and give them a cleaner alternative?”says co-founder Michael Macharg.

Based in Bangalore, Simpa Networks aims to develop affordable energy solutions for the poor. Their product makes solar electricity accessible and affordable to the rural and under served consumer through their innovative pricing system called ‘Progressive Purchase’.


2011 - The Democratization of the Social Entrepreneurship Movement?

Jill Richmond's picture

We begin 2012 with an overview of key developments in social entrepreneurship in 2011. As we scan the landscape we note four key findings of 2011 as the field continues to mature. The underlying trends continue to point to the idea that everyone can be responsible for advancing change and impact. This is manifested in the way we are seeing a continued democratization of the movement, a growing emergence of a new demographic of changemakers and discovery that collaboration and peer-to-peer networks continues to be on the rise.

1. An Uptick in Blended Funding Solutions for Social Entrepreneurs

Fact: Social enterprises (SEs) simply cannot be carried by a single source of funding. They need to look at different ways of blending capital to create the largest social impact. SEs are becoming more resourceful in the way they seek funding, and some of the most successful enterprises are using a range of capital sources: seed funding and impact investments, to government grants and CSR funds.

Maya Nut Could Boost Resilience to Climate Change

DM2009 Winner, Masagni, adopted the Maya Nut Institute's "Healthy Kids, Health Forests Maya Nut School Lunch Program" in Nicaragua's Miskito indigenous communities. For more information on this DM project, click here.

This article was originally published on http://ourworld.unu.edu/, for the original blog post, click here. The Our World 2.0 web magazine shares the ideas and actions of citizens around the world who are transforming our lives for the better.


Photo by Our World 2.0

Global climate models indicate that Central America will experience temperature rise and increasingly dry conditions over the next decades. Precipitation will decrease, causing severe water stress and more frequent and intense drought periods. Pressure on natural resources will grow, as a result of both demographic pressures and climate change, while degradation of ecosystems will further exacerbate water and food scarcity, worsening the living conditions of vulnerable people and communities.

Azolla: A New Paradigm of the Future of Rice

Mariano Montano's picture

My research in Azolla-Anabaena (AA) began in 1980, when I joined the Institute of Chemical and Environmental Sciences at Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. After many years of research and testing with various partners, the World Bank’s Development Marketplace funded “Converting Rice Fields into Green Fertilizer Factories” in 2008. I would like to share with you the successes of this project, which has the potential to change the paradigm of rice production in Ecuador.

Rationale

Rice in Ecuador is an essential and primary food for most of the population. The country harvests more than 300,000 hectares involving more than 140,000 families. Therefore it is important that rice is produced cost-effectively and in an environmentally sustainable manner. The production costs of rice depend on the type of seed, fertilizer and phyto-sanitary package used to control weed and insects, costs of labor, land preparation, rental equipment for seeding and harvest, and irrigation. The majority of fertilizers are chemical-based, involving heavy imports and causing environmental problems. More than 40% of the fertilizer applied is released into the environment, as plants cannot utilize 100%. In addition, purchases of imported chemical fertilizers for agriculture account for about 30% of current production costs.

Best Ideas of 2011: Revolutionizing mindsets for a new Arab World

Diana Hollmann's picture

The DM will be having a competition in Egypt around employment in agriculture. We will be featuring articles around these subjects in the coming months as we move toward the competition date.

This article was originally published on http://www.nextbillion.net/. NextBillion is a website and blog bringing together a community in the shared mission of development through enterprise.


Photo Credit: Lorenz Khazaleh via Flickr

Barriers to unleashing entrepreneurial activity

Through the media we mostly hear about the political transformations sparked by the Arab Spring; but the dire economic situation, particularly of the youth in the region, was the final straw that actually got the ball rolling: two thirds of the region’s population is below 30 years of age. Some 20 to 30 percent of youth, in some countries up to a staggering 45 percent, are unemployed while barriers for starting a new business persist. By 2020, 50 million new jobs will have to be created just to keep current unemployment figures on the same level. Business creation will be an important motor for job growth; however, barriers for aspiring entrepreneurs are still commonplace in MENA. When Steve Jobs (who was half Syrian) passed away, a 28-year old from Damascus said: “I think that if (Jobs) had lived in Syria he would not have been able to achieve any of this, or else he would have chosen to leave Syria.”

Mentoring Local Organizations - Here’s How!

Jennifer Lentfer's picture

Mentoring has become a very important means for social entrepreneurs to gain skills from an experienced entrepreneur. It has become one of the most effective ways to build an organization's capacity. Mentor's can give advice, encouragement and leverage their contacts to help an organization grow. Jennifer Lentfer offers some practical guidelines for developing an effective mentor relationship.


Stronger, more sustainable community-based organizations can contribute to a more effective and participatory civil society response to the needs of vulnerable people in the developing world.

Donors can support organizations even at the beginning stages of organizational development with an intent to leave groups stronger than when they first entered into partnership. Different types of capacity building activities such as mentoring relationships and exchange visits between organizations can offer the most relevant and supportive technical assistance through sharing on-the-ground experience among organizations at all levels of organizational development.

الريادة المجتمعية فى مصر: التحديات والفرص

Myra Valenzuela's picture

يعد هذا المقال الأول من ضمن سلسلة من المقالات ذات الصلة والتى ستعرض باللغتين العربية والإنجليزية.

 كتابة: مايرا فالينزويلا

تعد معدلات البطالة العالية بالذات لدى الشباب فى منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا من أهم الأسباب والدوافع المؤدية لأحداث الربيع العربى وثوراته. وللمساهمة فى حل ذلك التحدى وخلق فرص عمل ينوى مشروع  "سوق التنمية" (Development Marketplace) الإعلان عن مسابقة قومية فى بداية العام القادم. ويقوم برنامج "سوق التنمية" بالبنك الدولى بتقديم الدعم المادى والفنى سواء للمبادرات الجديدة أو المبادرات القائمة والتى تهدف للتوسع وستركز تلك المسابقة على دعم مشروعات الريادية المجتمعية التى تساهم فى خلق فرص عمل بالذات لدى الشباب المهمشومحدود الدخل فى مجال الزراعة والتنمية الريفية فى مصر.

ومن أجل التعرف بشكل أكبر على مجال الريادية المجتمعية  (Social Entrepreneurship) فى مصر، تحدثت مع إيهاب عبده، زميل مؤسسة أشوكا ومستشار سابق لمبادرة شباب الشرق الأوسط بمؤسسة بروكنغز وهو يقوم حاليا بالتحضير لبرنامج "سوق التنمية" فى مصر استعدادا لاطلاقه فى عام 2012. بالنسبة لايهاب توجد ثلاثة تحديات رئيسية تواجه قطاع الريادية المجتمعية فى المنطقة وفى مصر على وجه الخصوص وهى:

Social Entrepreneurship in Egypt: Challenges and Opportunities

Myra Valenzuela's picture

This is the first of many multi-lingual blog post to come. It will appear in both English and Arabic.

Abduallah Abdel Qassim, 47, partner in aluminum shop making window frames (World Bank Photo Collection)High rates of youth unemployment across the Middle East and North Africa were a major catalyst for the Arab Spring revolutions.   To help address this pressing issue, the Development Marketplace is preparing for a country-level competition in Egypt early next year. The proposed DM competition will focus on social entrepreneurs with projects that have a strong impact on creating sustainable job opportunities, especially for low-income and marginalized groups.  The main focus of the Egypt DM will be on supporting projects in the agricultural supply chain sector.

In order to understand the bigger picture of social entrepreneurship in Egypt, I spoke with Ehaab Abdou, who recently joined the Development Marketplace team to develop the Egypt DM program. Prior to coming to the Bank Ehaab was an Ashoka Fellow and advisor for the Middle East Youth Initiative at Brookings.  For Ehaab, there are three main challenges facing social entrepreneurship in the MENA region and in Egypt in particular:

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