Fostering Dignity, not Dependence

“We have to get better at answering the questions that need to be considered when we think about consequences and responses.”
-Jacqueline Novogratz, 2005

Jacqueline Novogratz is actually an example of someone who started out testing the solutions that resonated with her thinking and questioning their efficiency from a very early age. She was 25 when she started doing active development work in Rwanda, and she was paying active attention to how -for example – the mountains of secondhand clothing being provided by Goodwill were clothing the poor, while also destroying the local retail industry. This was the 80’s and she wasn’t even doing this kind of work there, she was actually helping develop one of the first micro-finance institutions in the continent while assisting a group of locals with actual business development. In her book, “The blue sweater” she writes about how many mistakes she made and turned into lessons for all her future endeavors.
(You can hear a piece of her story here.)

Twenty five years, many mistakes and lessons later, she founded Acumen Fund, “A bold new way of tackling poverty that is about DIGNITY, not dependence, and CHOICE, not charity.”

Acumen Fund is actually a non-profit organization that works like a VC fund, that invests on businesses that will solve specific problems regarding poverty. Their whole philosophy of business is lined up with Michael Chu‘s ideas of doing business at the base of the Pyramid. In order to solve the problems associated with economic exclusion, simply cater to their wants and needs as you would cater to any other customer segment.

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