Acumen Fund

October 30th, 2006

I’m always heartened by antipoverty initiatives that take a smarter approach than classic direct aid. Don’t get me wrong: sometimes the direct application of food or medicine or cash is just the ticket for helping out people in need in the developing world. But in general, I tend to think that those efforts work best in cases of emergency. For the long haul, we need better, smarter, durable methods that foster sustainable changes driven by the recipients themselves.

A great example of this is discussed in this TED Talk by Jacqueline Novogratz, the founder of Acumen Fund. This is what you get when people who are savvy to Western business and philanthropy are willing to let the recipients of aid help to build the process by which the aid is administered. Novogratz’s story of native entrepreneurship around bednets in Africa is exactly what the world needs more of.

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