Tag Archives: small holder farmers

Doing Something That Changes Lives Every Morning, One Cup at a Time….

SEI students visiting fair trade cooperatives in coffee country, Nicaragua

If you are one of the mil­lions of peo­ple who drink cof­fee every morn­ing, con­sider drink­ing Green Moun­tain Cof­fee, or using one of their Keurig machines. Here’s one rea­son why.

I was walk­ing up a steep hill in 100 degree heat in North­ern Nicaragua ear­lier this month, with 25 of our social enter­prise stu­dents, as part of our senior cap­stone class. We were in the sec­ond poor­est coun­try in the West­ern Hemi­sphere, and in one of its poor­est regions, when we came upon a sign say­ing that Green Moun­tain Cof­fee, through its cor­po­rate social respon­si­bil­ity pro­gram, had sup­ported a poor small­holder farmer coop­er­a­tive with com­mu­nity investments.

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Teaching Impact Investing in High Performance Social Enterprises

Photo Credit, Brooks Canaday/Northeastern University

The idea of “impact invest­ing” is gain­ing a great deal of atten­tion these days, includ­ing in under­grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion. While many insti­tu­tions have offered classes in strate­gic phil­an­thropy in recent years, and of course in tra­di­tional busi­ness invest­ing for many, we have focused our efforts at SEI on devel­op­ing edu­ca­tional pro­grams for a new third way of invest­ing. This new invest­ment dis­ci­pline involves socially minded investors pro­vid­ing cap­i­tal to both for profit and non-profit enter­prises that are com­mit­ted to effi­ciently address­ing social prob­lems in both a sus­tain­able and inno­v­a­tive way.

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In the Field Update from Kenya

The past two months have flown by here. I orig­i­nally planned to come here to inde­pen­dently research Kenya’s micro­fi­nance landscape—seeking to under­stand how Kenyans, both in rural areas and in the slums of Nairobi, use rotat­ing sav­ings and cred­its asso­ci­a­tions (ROSCAs) and accu­mu­lat­ing sav­ings and credit asso­ci­a­tions (ASCAs) to man­age their finances— rather than the MFIs in the coun­try. But then while co-oping in China and think­ing about my expe­ri­ences at Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, I decided I wanted to learn more about approaches to income devel­op­ment beyond increas­ing access to finan­cial resources.

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A First Hand Look into Rural Poverty in Kenya

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With two co-ops at social invest­ing firms under her belt, Rosie Sharp, a senior study­ing finance and social entre­pre­neur­ship with a minor in inter­na­tional affairs had devel­oped a com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of impact invest­ing and rural agri­cul­ture. In August 2011, a co-op oppor­tu­nity with One Acre Fund enabled Sharp to put her knowl­edge into prac­tice. Sharp spent …
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