SourceRise won the Startups for News 2015 competition in Barcelona, Spain, on Friday. The Startups for News programme is an international competition rewarding the most innovative startups disrupting the media industry.
The ultrapoor—those who live on $1.25 a day or less—are characterized by insufficient and irregular income, high vulnerability to shocks, chronic food insecurity, and poor health. For most people living in these conditions, there are no insurance programs to fall back on in the event of an emergency. If disaster strikes, families are often forced to sell what few assets they have and take out the only loans they have access to those with very high interest rates. All of which leads them further into poverty. How can anyone save money in a situation like this?
It’s no secret that change requires money, and the best changemakers are often the ones who don’t just go online to get their supporters to donate, but are also smart about it.
Can tea and running shoes help the poorest of the poor? Well, no. Not exactly. But if you put corporate social responsibility (CSR) into the mix, you have a recipe for a unique business strategy that supports sustainable development. Over these past five years, our relationships with Newtown Running and Plan Tea have matured and guided us. Trickle Up now has guidelines for good CSR that every business should employ.
When we talk about financial inclusion, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable, it's as much to do with having working capital to bettering your life, as it does with hope.
Published on USAID's Microlinks hub, this post looks at my nonprofit's, Trickle Up, efforts in empowering people with disabilities. Trickle Up's mission is to work with the extreme poor, those who live on less than $1.25 a day, begin sustainable businesses through grants, training and savings programs. People with disabilities (PwDs) in the developing world, and especially in places like Mali, live in a catch-22; extreme poverty worsens their disabilities (especially in their childhood development), and being disabled exacerbates their extreme poverty because they can't be a productive member of society when they grow up. This is why Trickle Up focuses specific programs that identify and provide support for PwDs in overcoming such circumstances.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face a growing crisis as climate change raises sea levels and threatens their existence. Not only are they becoming submerged, their coral systems are at risk of bleaching, while fishing, the nutritional mainstay of the inhabitants, is becoming less and less available. Fresh water reservoirs are also becoming saline, resulting in less potable water and agricultural productivity.
My project uses technology, in the form of Google Earth, to raise awareness to the cause as a way of helping increase the resources and capacity available to combat this problem. What’s more, Islands First, the organization my group worked to produce this project for, did not itself have the resources to invest in this project, leading my group to create a financially sustainable marketing strategy that leverages Google’s own philanthropic interests.
For my final graduate school thesis project, I liaised with Global Relief Technologies, an organization that supplies software technology to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) organizations (the Red Cross, UNICEF etc), to research and design a manual for deployment, training and support best practices for technology in HADR. Most interesting was the “raw” viewpoint many of those interviewed had towards technology, as research for this project was happening during the Haitian earthquake relief efforts in 2010.