Social Entrepreneurs Fostering Feasible, Sustainable Change

social_entrepreneursThis year Echoing Green, an organization devoted to effecting long-term social growth, has partnered with USAID’s Global Development Lab to sponsor social entrepreneurs and projects in developing countries. This funding will lead to social growth, encourage investment in local individuals and create a more supportive environment for social entrepreneurship.

The projects will offer market-based solutions to provide resources for those in need, expand job opportunities and improve the well-being of local people and their communities.

The partnership, called Priming the Pump, is a global development network supported by General Atlantic, Newman’s Own Foundation, the Pershing Square Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Echoing Green.

With more than $4 million in funding, the partnership seeks out and invests in early development innovators for social change who pose solutions to issues present in developing countries.

Fellows receive $90,000 over two years to help advance their initiatives and participate in mentoring from international development professionals and global networking programs. So far, Priming the Pump has empowered 29 Fellows from 20 organizations in developing nations.

This year, USAID’s funding will help 15 entrepreneurs jump-start their visions.

One project, developed by Jehiel Oliver in Nigeria and nicknamed the “Uber for Tractors,” allows farmers to order tractors through SMS texts. This allows farmers with limited access to labor to plow their fields quickly and more cheaply. It gives financial gain to small farmers as well as tractor drivers who are contracted to do such work.

Another project receiving funding is the Tujenge Africa Foundation created by Etienne Mashuli and Wendell Adjetety. Both survivors of the Rwandan civil war and genocide, Etienne and Wendell are living examples of how quality education can help people escape poverty and violence.

Through education, leadership programming and peacemaking, their organization helps post-conflict African youth excel and define their own futures.

There are many other groups receiving funding for change such as Love Grain, which builds farming co-ops and supports supply chains to connect teff farmers in Ethiopia with international markets.

Suyo is another initiative that helps low-income families in Latin America secure rights over their property and transforms economic security; while The Open Medicine Project uses mobile technologies to pair healthcare workers in South Africa, India and Pakistan with informational resources and support tools to help them improve their work and save lives.

Funding from organizations such as Echoing Green and USAID will provide developers and their projects with the resources to expand their technology and access to help create real change in their communities and nations.

Jenny Wheeler

Sources: Echo in Green 1, Echo in Green 2
Sources: Flickr