Could Data Save the World?

Your company might have donated money to help solve humanitarian issues, but you could have something even more useful to offer: your data.

South African philanthropy is entering a new era. A hotbed of innovation, it can make a purposeful contribution to addressing the country’s challenges, and perhaps inspire work in other parts of the world.

Philanthropy is a complex term within the South African context. The history of the country has had a significant effect on shaping philanthropy from charitable giving (welfare philanthropy) to strategic philanthropy, by communities and families, to highly specialised Foundations.

These days, formalised strategic philanthropy in South Africa indicates that there is a huge contribution being made to support those in need by making data more public and shareable.

Foundations all over the world are grappling with their role in the emerging field of data and artificial intelligence. Data has the ability to help us work at a larger scale than ever before, be more efficient, and solve problems more effectively.

What’s required is the capacity or technical knowledge to either shape innovations or make sense of which ones to back, and for organisations to face complex challenges about transparency, ownership and ethics. While there are many promising initiatives in the field of data for social good, the social sector as a whole plays a relatively minor role, and many initiatives struggle to scale beyond small pilots.

Several examples have come to light during the ongoing West African Ebola virus outbreak of 2014, which has catalysed international efforts to improve the continent’s disease surveillance infrastructure. One particular innovation is an attempt to crowdsource contributions to OpenStreetMap, the self-described “Wikipedia for Maps” that anyone can edit. OpenStreetMap volunteers are using satellite images to manually identify roads, buildings, bodies of water, and other features in rural areas of West Africa, which can help aid workers and local public health officials better plan their interventions and ensure every village has been checked for the disease. How cool is that?

In the video below, Mallory Freeman shows us how private sector companies can help make real progress on big problems – from the refugee crisis to world hunger – by donating untapped data and decision scientists.

What might your company be able to contribute?

Share with us in the comments below.

Find original sources here, here and here.

Original Article


Google X’s 3-Step Formula for Changing the World

Imagine a snake-robot designer, a balloon scientist, a liquid-crystals technologist, an extradimensional physicist, a psychology geek, an electronic-materials wrangler, and a journalist walk into a room. What do you get?

Google X.

Google X, the moonshot (read: an extremely ambitious and innovative project) factory at Alphabet (the parent company of Google), has one purpose: to dream up far-out answers to crucial problems.

This purpose of X (founded in 2010), is not to solve Google’s problems; thousands of people are already doing that. Nor is its mission solely philanthropic. Instead X exists, ultimately, to create world-changing social companies that could eventually become the next Google. The enterprise considers more than 100 ideas each year, in areas ranging from clean energy to artificial intelligence. But only a tiny percentage become “projects,” with full-time staff working on them. It’s too soon to know whether many (or any) of these shots will reach the moon, but several projects—most notably its self-driving-car company, Waymo, recently valued at $70 billion by one Wall Street firm—look like they may.

X is perhaps the only enterprise on the planet where regular investigation into the absurd is not just permitted but encouraged, and even required. X has quietly looked into space elevators and cold fusion. It has tried, and abandoned, projects to design hoverboards with magnetic levitation and to make affordable fuel from seawater. It has tried – and succeeded, in varying measures – to build self-driving cars, make drones that deliver aerodynamic packages, and design contact lenses that measure glucose levels in a diabetic person’s tears.

These ideas might sound too random to contain a unifying principle. But they do. Each X idea adheres to a simple three-part formula.

1: It must address a huge problem.

2: It must propose a radical solution.

3: It must employ a relatively feasible technology. In other words, any idea can be a moonshot—unless it’s frivolous, small-bore, or impossible.

Below, meet some of X’s leading #PurposePioneers implementing this three-part formula.

1. Obi Felten leads Foundry, a division of X tasked with turning scientific breakthroughs into marketable products.

2. Raj B. Apte, the leader of Project Malta, which seeks to store wind power in molten salt.

3. Rich DeVaul, a co-founder of Project Loon, which seeks to provide internet access to remote places using a fleet of balloons.

4. Cliff L. Biffle, a member of X’s Rapid Eval team, which seeks to kill, as quickly as possible, ideas that will ultimately fail.

Find out more here.

Original Article


The Lowdown on Impact Investing

impact investments

im·pact in·vest·ments

NOUN: Impact investments are investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

What Is It Impact Investing?

Impact investing attracts individuals as well as institutional investors including hedge funds, private foundations, banks, pension funds, and other fund managers.

Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending on investors’ strategic goals. The point of impact investing is to use money and investment capital for positive social results.

The growing impact investment market provides capital to address the world’s most pressing challenges in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, conservation, micro-finance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education.

Characteristics of Impact Investing

The practice of impact investing is further defined by the following characteristics:

  • Intentionality: An investor’s intention to have a positive social or environmental impact through investments is essential to impact investing.
  • Investments with Return Expectations: Impact investments are expected to generate a financial return on capital or, at minimum, a return of capital.
  • Range of Return Expectations and Asset Classes: Impact investments target financial returns that range from below market (sometimes called “concessionary”) to risk-adjusted market rate, and can be made across asset classes, including but not limited to cash equivalents, fixed income, venture capital, and private equity.

How do Impact Investments Perform Financially?

Impact investors have diverse financial return expectations. Some intentionally invest for below-market-rate returns, in line with their strategic objectives. Others pursue market-competitive and market-beating returns, sometimes required by fiduciary responsibility. Most investors surveyed in the GIIN’s 2019 Annual Impact Investor Survey pursue competitive, market-rate returns. Respondents also report that portfolio performance overwhelmingly meets or exceeds investor expectations for both social and environmental impact and financial return, in investments spanning emerging markets, developed markets, and the market as a whole.

Impact Investments worth Noting

Tin Shed Ventures

Tin Shed Ventures™ is Patagonia’s corporate venture capital fund, which we use to invest in environmentally and socially responsible start-up companies. It takes its name from the blacksmith shop where Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard forged pitons, and then made removable hardware that enabled a clean-climbing revolution. That Tin Shed in Ventura, California, still stands alongside our corporate headquarters, as Tin Shed Ventures funds the next generation of responsible businesses.


Ellevest is a transformative financial technology company created to help women achieve their financial potential through modern, low-cost investing, with a beautifully designed digital platform backed by a unique investing approach. From a gender-smart investing algorithm for digital-only customers to bespoke portfolios for private wealth clients, Ellevest also provides the option to invest for impact and in other women. Ellevest is for those who believe that because women generally have longer lifespans and are typically paid less than men, the old approaches haven’t worked for everyone — and that when women thrive, everyone is better off. Ellevest is led by Sallie Krawcheck, called the “Last Honest Analyst” by Fortune Magazine, and was named one of NerdWallet’s Best Robo-Advisors in 2019 and 2018.

Numbers for Good

Numbers for Good bridges the world of finance to organizations dedicated to improving people’s lives and helping the planet. They create financial solutions that allow organizations to fund social and environmental projects and connect investors with opportunities for sustainable financial and social returns.

The Media Development Investment Fund

The Media Development Investment Fund invests in independent media around the world providing the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies. Timely, accurate, relevant information is critical to free societies, enabling fuller participation in public life, holds the powerful to account and protects the rights of the individual. The MDIF has investments in more than 100 media companies in 38 countries. They have provided more than $134 million in financing, including $117 million in debt and equity investments. MDIF has received $63 million in recovered principal, earning almost $40 million in interest, dividends and capital gains, and returned $28 million to investors.

One Acre Fund

One Acre Fund supplies smallholder farmers with the financing and training they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Instead of giving handouts, One Acre Fund invests in farmers to generate a permanent gain in farm income. They supply a complete service bundle of seeds and fertilizer, financing, training, and market facilitation—and deliver these services within walking distance of the 400,000 rural farmers they serve. One Acre Fund began in East Africa, and now currently serves farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

Find the original sources here and here.

Original Article


When Business Meets Purpose at Gangstar Café

A café in Cape Town is helping former inmates get their lives back on track as part of a job-readiness programme, all while serving a hot cuppa to the public.

Gangstar Café is a social enterprise of The Message Trust South Africa. The Message Trust works with youth at risk across Cape Town in prisons, schools and tough neighbourhoods. Gangstar Café was initiated to create training and employment opportunities for youth out of prison. With youth unemployment being as high at 35% and coupled with a criminal record, it is virtually impossible for someone leaving prison to find employment. The first Gangstar Café was launched in Mowbray on Main Road in April 2017, and the second in Durbanville Town Shopping Centre in April 2019.

Students in prison get training in leadership, public speaking, business entrepreneurship and job readiness. Pastoral care support is also provided to all the young people in the prison. Once released, the individuals are reintegrated back into society and once certain levels of commitment are displayed, they are placed into barista training. On the job training is also offered in the cafes in customer service, stock management, processes, food preparation and other aspects of working in the hospitality industry.

After serving time in jail for violent crimes, baristas at Gangstar Café in Mowbray are now in training as baristas proper, giving them purpose and an opportunity to provide for their families. Their mission is to “create meaningful employment opportunities to prevent youth crime and gangsterism”.

Gangstar Café was born out of the prison work of The Message Trust South Africa, a registered NGO focused on breaking the cycle of poverty by focussing on youth at risk, both in and out of prison.

“We aim to provide excellent customer service and secure loyal customers who keep coming back.”

Trainees learn the importance of ensuring that processes and standards are followed and transferred into all areas of employment.

Former inmate Xola Dingiswayo told News24 how he started with not much knowledge about coffee at all, but worked his way up and is now a junior manager at the Mowbray branch. He plans to better his craft so he may compete in barista competitions in 2021.

There are two Gangstar Café branches, in Mowbray and in Durbanville, both run by five former inmates.

Find the original source here.

Original Article


When Life Gives You Lemons, Start A Sorbet Business

When life gives you overripe lemons, you toss them in the trash. People are taught that if something is battered or bruised it’s usually bad. In turn, a culture of extreme food wastage has arisen. But Thato Mbongeni Masondo and Thula Ndema are changing that. Picking up the discarded lemons, the couple squeeze them and add a few blocks of ice and a pinch of spice – producing a thriving sorbet business in the process.

Across the world, perfectly edible fruit and vegetables rot. These scrapped groceries pollute the environment, and have become a significant source of methane – a noxious greenhouse gas. While working in Johannesburg’s bustling city centre, Masondo and Ndema would pass this problem on their daily commute. “We saw a lot of street vendors throwing away overly-ripe fruits,” Ndema says.

Taking matters into their own hands, they started buying the unwanted produce from these merchants at a discounted price. Then, they blended them into a sorbet solution too delectable to turn away. “Our first couple of batches tasted really good, but we were determined to perfect the mixture,” Masondo says. After getting the texture and taste just right, the pair founded Sobae and began selling their sustainable scoops on the streets of Braamfontein.

Today, the entrepreneurs have a permanent home in the Victoria Yards complex. Inside their store, unique flavours fuse. From banana and butternut with chai to tangy mango with a kick of chilli, Masondo and Ndema mix seemingly incompatible ingredients to create a match made in heaven. As self-proclaimed sorbet purists, artificial isn’t a word in their lexicon. During fermentation, enzymes are broken down into natural sugars. This helps to create a dessert that’s both guilt-free and environmentally-friendly.

While clearing their neighbourhood of food wastage, they have inspired others to harness their ingenuity and sweeten a bitter situation. “The experience has taught us to persevere and believe in our dreams,” Ndema says. For this couple, the secret ingredient to their success isn’t just determination, but heaps of passion and love.

Find the original source here.

Original Article


Business Interview – The Justice Desk / Jessica Dewhurst

Business Spotlight: The Justice Desk

Meet The Justice Desk, an award-winning Human Rights Organisation operating in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabweand empowers local people to understand and defend their Human Rights, in order to build safer communities for all.

​As an organisation, The Justice Desk educates, trains, advocates for and equips youth, vulnerable groups, civil society, and governments in Human Rights, justice and advocacy. They work primarily in township areas and vulnerable communities, empowering and equipping local people with the necessary skills and platforms to lead their own change. It is a partner of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, and The Queens Commonwealth Trust. Since 2013, TJD have changed the lives of over 250,000 people!

Jessica Dewhurst, the Founder and Executive Director of The Justice Desk, is a human rights defender and ERI UN Youth Ambassador from South Africa. She has worked across the globe, and holds various qualifications from UCT, the UN, and Cambridge University. She has been named one of Africa’s and South Africa’s most inspiring youth for her work; and has received countless awards and recognition from the likes of the South African presidency, Prince Edward, Countess Sophie, The Obama Foundation, and Lead SA.

Justice Desk Jessica (3)

Justice Desk Jessica (2)

Justice Desk Jessica (1)

Purpose Pioneers: What inspired you to start the Justice Desk?

Jessica Dewhurst:I started as a 14-year-old girl, volunteering in multiple NGOs while in school. I worked with children infected/affected by HIV/Aids, refugee children, and children who have been victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. I continued to work in NGOs, until my personal dream to educate and empower other to defend and claim their human rights was ignited.

I was 18 years old when, one evening while walking, I was attacked by four men – one of whom was arrested. After a few months, I was asked to attend the court hearing and face the man who once hurt me. When I saw him I was shocked because he didn’t look the same. He was so skinny I could see his bones, he smelt like nothing you could ever imagine. His clothes were torn, and he was terrified. I have no idea what came over me, but all I wanted to do was hug him. All I wanted to do was say that I was sorry for the life he had to live.

I went on to learn more about the man who had hurt me. He was born in a broken-down shack in Khayelitsha. His father left when he was five and his mother was unemployed. She was a refugee and many people turned their backs on her. He didn’t get an education because his school was overcrowded and he couldn’t afford books or a uniform. His home frequently collapsed and didn’t have anything like water, electricity or security. He was continually harassed by gangs threatening to kill him if he didn’t join them, and because he didn’t finish school, he couldn’t find a job. When he was sick he couldn’t go to the hospital because he had no form of identification, and he had to wake up, sick, hungry and tired, at 4 am every morning to make the long trip to the city to beg for money so he could feed his mother, who was dying of HIV/Aids.

I reflected on how he would see the bright lights of the city, and smart cars as they drove past and he wondered what was wrong with him? Why was he not loved or important enough, or valued enough to be like them? He begged, and begged, and his dignity was chipped at again and again – until one day, he snapped and he did something terrible. But what dawned on me in that moment, was that not for one second did I believe that HE was the problem. His actions were wrong, yes, but this man was not his actions. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning what he did – what he did was wrong – but not for one second did I believe that he was the problem.

He was a young man who had grown up unprotected, forgotten, abandoned, and forced to live in unimaginable conditions. Here was a young man, who grew up having his rights violated on a daily basis, who was failed again and again by those who said they would protect the children of this country. We left him, hungry, uneducated, sick and abandoned – and then we blamed him for it. From that moment on, I dedicated my life to fighting for the rights of everyday people, especially those most vulnerable. I realized that I could no longer simply engage in charity work, handing out food, clothes, making children smile, and then sending them home. What was the point if I was sending them back to broken homes and dysfunctional communities, where people had little to no respect for the rights and dignity of others?

PP:What advice would you give your 18-year old self?

JD: Get more sleep, eat well, take care of your mental health, and never forget that you are not alone.

PP: What is your definition of Purpose?

JD: Purpose?It’s why you were born, and why you wake up each day.Some may think they’ll never find it – but I guarantee you that if you look closer, into the hearts of our fellow South Africans – you will find it there.

PP:What do you see as the cornerstone of YOUR purpose?

JD:A fierce and determined love and passion for people, and the unyielding belief in the inherent goodness that is within us all.

PP: What has been the most pioneering / trailblazing moment for The Justice Desk?

JD:What I am especially proud of, is that we are a wonderfully diverse organisation of young people, which is run by young people, for mostly other young people. All major leadership positions are also held by women, which I love. We constantly face criticism because of our ages and gender – but every single time we have responded with brilliance. I am incredibly proud of my team for being true to themselves, for never thinking small, and for breaking every boundary that has been placed in front of them. They are the trailblazers!

PP: What challenges are the youth of today facing? How can we fix this?

JD: Youth are often told to stay quiet, as it is the older generations responsibility to lead, make decisions and solve the world’s problems. This often baffles my mind because, who were the ones that caused these problems in the first place? It’s heart-breaking to see that one our youth’s biggest obstacles can be the very people who are supposed to support and raise them up. Youth have the ability to be different, dynamic, to create like never before, and to throw caution to the wind. They dream without boundaries and think out of the box. They have energy, passion and are often found together. They have access to thought processes and technology that could be game changers for our world in the years to come. We must guide them yes, but we must also ensure that we are not one of the very challenges they need to overcome.

PP:What specific skills do our next generation need to focus on and how do you think we can close that gap?

JD:Critical thinking, the ability to disagree with someone yet still care for them, and the determination and belief in ourselves as youth, that we can and will make a difference.

PP:What values and principles are important to live by?

JD:Empowerment, responsibility, equality, justice and human rights are always the values I try to live by. They guide everything I do.

PP: How do you think people can live more meaningful and purpose-driven lives?

JD:Focus on your why. If your why is focused solely on you and your own life – then I think you have some more thinking and growing to do. But when your why starts to focus on “us” and not “me”, then you are on the path to living a meaningful and purpose-driven life.

PP:Who is your role model and why?

JD: I was blessed to be born in a country of incredible champions for justice. Nelson Mandela, Thuli Madonsela, Steve Biko, Helen Suzman, Nkosi Johnson, Miriam Makeba, Albertina Sisulu, Desmond Tutu, Nadine Gordimer, Zackie Achmat, Yvonne Chaka Chakaand Johnny Clegg… we truly do stand on the shoulders of giants.

PP: What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

JD:If I do leave a legacy, I want it to be one of people removing people’s blindfolds, and challenging all systems of oppression, in all spaces – to ensure that we all live happy, healthy, free and empowered lives.

Original Article


4 Tips on showcasing your Brand’s purpose on Social Media

business and social media thumbnail

In these unusual times, more people are staying home which means, more digital content is being produced and consumed. In this chaos that has become Social Media, we find new trends each day popping up on our feeds. As a Brand, we want to keep afloat this sea of digital gibberish. Many brands love to jump onto trends in order to gain some positive awareness, engagement and to build their brand. What happens when jumping on the trend is not the right thing to do? How do you make sure that you don’t loose the purpose of your brand?

Brands need to have purpose in everything they do, not just online. That’s why when a brand gets big enough, they need to opt for a Digital Marketing specialist to take care of their Social Media needs. A Digital Marketer will be able to portray a brand with clear purpose messaging. Sometimes, however, not all brands can afford the help of an agency. Here are 4 checkpoints to help navigate Social Media with purpose and to showcase your purpose:

  1. Be clear and simple

When writing you Social Media profile Bios, make sure that you are clear and simple about what it is your company does and what you stand for. Don’t just let your content speak for you, as your Bio might be the only thing someone will see. Be precise in your messaging so anyone knows exactly who you are.

  1. Create content that’s true to your brand.

Besides your bio, your content needs to always be ‘on brand’. That famous saying means that your caption, your content, your imaging and your graphics all need to scream what your company is about and what you stand for. Try not to stray away from this but always make sure you ask yourself, ‘does this represent my company correctly?’

Why the future of social is meaningful connections? In 2020, consumers will seek an antidote to vast and toxic online communities and social media platforms. They’ll embrace smaller and more intimate digital spaces that facilitate respectful and meaningful connections, let them interact with like-minded peers and allow them to truly be themselves says TrendWatching.

This means that online consumers are going to move towards meaningful content and profiles as this year progresses. Make sure that your meaningful content is what they gravitate to.

  1. Jump onto Trends

Jumping on trends can be a fun way that Brands can get more engagement but not all trends are for Brands. Jumping onto the next ‘hot’ thing on Social Media might land you in hot water with the Twitter trolls. Make sure that the trend aligns with your business.

  1. The power of Social Media

You will be surprised that once you communicate what you are about and what you are trying to achieve on social media, people will respond positively. Once your purpose is clear, your online audience will want to know how they can become a part of that purpose. 75% of US consumers noted that if a brand asked them for feedback on future products or ideas it would increase their likelihood to purchase from that brand, MakerSights, January 2019.

Sure, we do not have to take a selfie every time we do a bit of charity but having a strong social media presence is essential and can be achieved without exploiting the vulnerability of the people you are helping.

“Brand storytelling is the future of marketing’” says Forbes

In today’s digitally-driven society, a humanised approach has become more and more sought after by consumers. People relate to people not brands and that’s why brands need to become even more human than ever before. That is why we at The Change Collective Africa love to share the stories of Humans with our Legacy Stories. If you need help to craft stories for brands, individuals, initiatives or organisations then The Change Collective Africa can assist.

Have purpose in how you want your Brand to be perceived, consumed and respected. With no strategy behind how you conduct yourself or your Business on Social Media, you could find yourself swimming upstream against a very strong current. Invest in a digital marketing specialist who knows what they are doing and no, we are not referring to your niece who has a few 1000 followers on TikTok.

Original Article