Thursday, June 19, 2008

Join the Carnival for Change - Booth 6.

Welcome to the Carnival for Change where we explore the web for interesting items relating to social justice, health, education, and opportunity. Happy Juneteenth!

* The World Resources Institute recently released The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid. The publication, which is available for print purchase or free download, is useful for those developing for-profit businesses that focus on the 4 billion poorest people. Those folks may not have a lot of money, but they make up the majority of the world's population and they need goods and services too. This is the approach that has made Mohammad Yunus' Grameen Bank so successful.

* The Greater Good blog highlights a great way to contribute to academic knowledge about heroism and altruism. People are needed to participate in a scientific study by the Heroism Research Group. It takes about 20 minutes to answer the survey-type questions, and, who knows, you might learn something about yourself. I did.

* Riches for Good has a great post listing social entrepreneurship fellowships and training programs. Check it out, and use the comments to add others to the list. These are a great way to jump start your socially-responsible business or business idea. I'm forwarding this info to Jules Walter of Bagazo in case they're interested in these opportunities.

* If social entrepreneurship isn't your thing, how about social marketing? Social Butterfly lists numerous social marketing events, conferences, and opportunities. This is a growing field and there are lots of ways to get involved in it.

* Like the idea behind So What Can I Do? Check out similar blogs (along with SWCID) at Thanks Neenz! Want to listen instead of read? Check out Julie Zauzmer's weekly podcast 52 Ways to Change the World. It's also available on iTunes. Thanks Julie! Also, So What Can I Do was also recently featured in Social Butterfly's Blogger Neighborhood. Thanks Alex!
Blogger Neighborhood Badge

* I go through phases where I just read nonfiction, or just fiction. My favorite writer of either class is Octavia Butler. Her writing helps me recognize that we are all always already invincible. Three of my favorites are Wild Seed, Bloodchild, and Kindred.

Thanks for visiting the Carnival for Change! If you'd like space at the next booth, send your items to me with "Carnival for Change" in the subject. See you next time!

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Celebrate fatherhood.

Today is Father's Day in the US. Both boys and girls need a father or father figure in their lives, but not all children have one. On this Father's Day, you can choose to make a positive difference in a child's life. Here are just a few ways to get started:

* Become a virtual mentor through the Orphan Foundation of America. Mentors are needed for current and former foster children. You can make a big difference even online.

* Volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. "Volunteering just 4 hours a month can change a young person's life" and you can share many of your current activities with your 'Little'.

* Become a foster parent. It's hard for many of us to imagine not having our parents. Foster parents fill the gap and provide a caring family and home for those whose parents are unable to care for them.

* Expand your family by adopting a child. Call 1-800-TO-ADOPT or 1-888-200-4005 or write for more information.

Think about all the people who made a positive impact on your life. Thank them, and consider how you can contribute to a child's life. I expect you'll receive much more that you give.

Happy Father's Day to all, and especially to my two favorite fathers: my dad, Olly Neal, and my husband, Kwadjo Boaitey. I love you both!

"You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions." - Naguib Mahfouz

Friday, June 13, 2008

Trickle up.

Regular readers know I'm a big fan of microloans. But if you're at the base of the pyramid, living on $1-2 per day, a loan just won't cut it. That's where Trickle Up comes in.

Trickle Up supports microenterprise through business training and seed capital grants in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Loans are usually about $100, and recipients must participate in classes on business planning and development, finance and more. "The typical Trickle Up entrepreneur is a woman under 40 years of age who is responsible for raising children and paying for their schooling." They helped launched 11,141 businesses in 1007 and improved tens of thousands of lives in the process. You can meet some of the Trickle Up entrepreneurs.

Trickle Up has been around for almost 30 years and look at their results:
* 9 of 10 Trickle Up businesses continue after the first year.
* 7 of 10 microentrepreneurs increase their family's food intake.
* 5 of 10 are able to send more children to school.
* 5 of 10 are able to buy better clothing for their families.
* Women lead 85% of Trickle Up businesses.
* People with disabilites account for about 10% of the people Trickle Up serves.

Because the total loan amounts are so small, you'll know your donation will have a huge impact on a family. Ready to donate? You'll narrow the base of the pyramid when you do!

"You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions." - Naguib Mahfouz

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Offset your site.

I've written before about carbon offsets, but the services I described all cost money. Now, here's a fast way to offset a few pounds of carbon. If you are a blogger, you can join Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge. Just put their snazzy badge on your site (check out the sidebar for mine), let them know who you are and they will "offset 350 pounds of carbon in your name! 350 pounds! That's like flicking off 100 lightbulbs for a day. Or going two full weeks without your car!" They're goal is 350 bloggers and they already have over 300, so hurry!

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pull together for change.

The New York Times had a great story yesterday about Katherine Commale. She's the seven-year-old girl who with her mother and little brother's help raised $43,000 for the Nothing But Nets campaign against malaria. She's a great example of someone who saw a need and found a way to contribute to the solution.

The nice thing is that most everyone can find a way to motivate their family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, classmates, and others to contribute to a good cause. Here are two more examples:

* Eric's 25 for Angel's Place - Eric Gamble has pledged to lose 25 pounds in support of the New Orleans charity Angel's Place which "provides a loving and caring environment for children diagnosed with life-threatening illness." Sponsors are asked to pledge $1 per pound in support of his efforts.

* The 2wheels4water is a project by Alison and Tim Lowry. They are riding a Vespa moped through North and South Carolina to raise money for clean water projects around the world. Sponsors are asked to pledge per mile. "Every mile driven on a moped costs just 3.5 cents. Every mile in a typical car costs about 17.5 cents. We’re asking you to pledge the difference: 14 cents for every mile we cover."

These are just three examples of how everyday people, people just like you and me, are making a difference by motivating those they know to pull together for change. What will you do to support the causes you care about?

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do." - Mark Twain