The 2019 World Wildlife Day, celebrated last Sunday, had an ocean-focused theme: “Life below water: for people and planet.” Closely aligning with SDG 14, this theme aimed “to raise awareness about the breathtaking diversity of marine life, the crucial importance of marine species to human development, and how we can make sure it will continue to provide these services for future generations.”
GDI is no stranger to the urgency behind spreading awareness and educating the public about the importance of our oceans. The Hydrous is an international community of scientists, divers, designers, filmmakers, technologists, educators, and concerned citizens who love the ocean and want to share it to protect it. They use frontier technologies, like virtual reality (VR) to bring the ocean to you – however many miles from the ocean you may be.
Their new VR film, IMMERSE: A Journey of Science, Love and Magic in the Ocean, is set to premiere on Sunday, March 10 at the International Ocean Film Festival in San Francisco. Want to attend? It’s free! All you need to do is register here.
If you can’t make it to California for the world premiere, the Hydrous is heading to Washington, D.C. on April 23 to screen their VR exploration at the National Geographic headquarters. Tickets for that event are available here.
Learn more about The Hydrous and their work to create “open access oceans” here >>
By Tilly Josephson and Christine Dickason
This is not just a statewide issue, but a global issue. If we all come together and strategize and plan, then we can tackle this together. -Sharell, youth delegate
We often talk about youth representing our world’s future. But, too often, when discussing challenges facing young people, we exclude them from the conversations and talk about what we can do for them, not with them. One of the major challenges facing the 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15-24 is youth unemployment. It is estimated that 350 million young people are “opportunity youth,” meaning they are under or unemployed and not in school.
Many organizations are doing important work to tackle this challenge, but surprisingly few put youth at the forefront of their approach. We were pleased to be a part of a convening this month hosted by the new Global Opportunity Youth Initiative (GOYI) that bucked this trend and centered first and foremost on amplifying youth voice. Over 20 youth leaders from 12 countries—including Sharell from West Virginia, quoted above – gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a week of lively discussions, problem solving, and contributing to the GOYI’s mission of working in partnership with communities around the globe to accelerate economic prospects for opportunity youth.
Youth Know the Problems They Face
Youth unemployment happens for various reasons and shows itself in different ways across different communities; thus, solutions must be specific to the contexts in which they operate. Listen to Wanner’s story, for instance. Wanner is from Cali, Colombia, and attended the Global Opportunity Youth Convening last week. Thanks to training he received through The Alvaralice Foundation Wanner now works in customer service and merchandising. But most of his peers in Cali do not share his experience of moving smoothly from training to employment . He spoke extensively about how opposing gangs in the community stir up conflict and create “invisible barriers” that prevent youth from traveling to certain parts of the city. In his environment, a training center – often a useful tool in helping young people gain important skills – may not be the best solution for tackling youth unemployment, as some people could not cross these invisible lines to get to the center.
Or, hear the stories of three young people from Canada’s Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation who attended the convening. Their challenges to full employment stem from decades of discrimination and racism, and require solutions that address the deep-rooted trauma their communities have experienced. Helping young people in these communities gain new skills is important, but it will not address the underlying issues that prevent them from gaining employment.
While common solutions like training programs, apprenticeships, and increasing access to education can certainly help youth, these stories highlight the reality that no one cookie-cutter solution will work for all communities.Place-based solutions, on the other hand—like those that GOYI embraces can drive more effective change by considering the local context and adequately accounting for the experiences of the individuals who live there. It sounds obvious, but it’s often neglected: no one knows better about the unique challenges their communities face than the people who spend every day there.
Youth are Resilient
Youth leaders participating in the convening said they face obstacles beyond the challenge of getting a job. One young woman from Mexico talked about the organized crime that plagued her home community. Two youth leaders from the UK both had grown up in the foster care system. A woman from Haiti spoke about dropping out of secondary school, as her family was unable to afford the school fees. A man from India recounted the struggles he faced trying to provide for his entire family after his father died.
Many of the 24 youth delegates who gathered at the convening in Philadelphia had faced immense hardships throughout their lives. But what struck everyone in the room was not these youths’ struggles, but their resilience. Unless prompted, they spoke not of their challenges, but of their dreams for the future. They focused on how what they were learning at the convening could help their communities. Even in spending time exploring Philadelphia, they set aside time to buy small gifts for their loved ones back home.
When we view youth who have experienced hardships as victims, we undermine their ability to overcome. We can learn from their challenges, but we can only do that if we give them a seat at the table as leaders.
Youth are Ready to Make Change
Too many initiatives ignore that youth can – and want to – make change. In building the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative (GOYI), we are trying to do things differently. Young people are central to our global change effort from design to execution, as we seek to transform the narrative around “opportunity youth” ‑ those young people who are out of school, unemployed, and working in informal jobs. We are emphasizing their assets and capacity to contribute positively to society and their communities – not just the daunting challenges they face.
One youth leader at our convening, Mercy from South Africa, captured this optimism best when she told her peers on the last day of the convening: “I am excited to go back and make a change in my community.” All the youth delegates shared this excitement, expressing the change they could make once they got back home. It was infectious, invigorating. And it is exactly the energy needed to take on a global crisis.
GOYI welcomes conversations with interested place-based actors and funders to explore partnering to realize our vision for bold, community-led change for youth. The initiative is being developed by the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions, the Global Development Incubator (GDI), YouthBuild International, with funding from Prudential.
Co-Impact announces inaugural five grants including two that will support GDI’s incubated initiatives
Co-Impact, a new philanthropic collaborative for systems change, announced this week its first round of grants totaling $80 million that will support five initiatives improving education, health, and economic opportunity across Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.
We are thrilled to share that two initiatives incubated at GDI – citiesRISE and the Partnership for Economic Inclusion’s graduation approach – are part of Co-Impact’s first set of grants:
citiesRISE: Co-Impact will support citiesRISE’s effort to create a global network of “Mental Health Friendly Cities” – starting with Nairobi, Chennai, Bogota, Sacramento and Seattle and scaling systemic solutions by leveraging the energy and creativity of youth, the speed and reach of technology, and the power of cross-sectoral collective action.
Partnership for Economic Inclusion (PEI): Co-Impact will support PEI’s efforts along with program partners Jeevika, Bihar, and Fundación Capital to expand the graduation approach – one of the most effective economic inclusion interventions to help the world’s poorest people lift themselves out of poverty. PEI is now housed at the World Bank and brings together deep expertise and serves as a practical global resource for those wanting to expand social and economic inclusion programs of this type.
These two initiatives were selected along with three others as part of a rigorous assessment from an initial pool of more than 250 initiatives. PEI and the graduation approach will receive a Co-Impact systems change grant over five years, and citiesRISE will receive a two-year venture grant.
Congratulations to Co-Impact and each of these outstanding initiatives!
How does GDI design and build social impact startups?
It’s not an easy question to tackle, but we hope this new case study on HealthEnabled will help provide some answers.
Starting with interest from the mHealth Alliance executive director, Patty Mechael, GDI assessed and validated the need for a new organization that could work with countries to develop and operationalize digital health strategies and cultivate a supportive enabling environment for the effective use of digital health solutions.
GDI co-created HealthEnabled’s initial strategy with four key pillars, including raising the bar for digital health through a global index to guide and encourage all countries to mature, which led to the creation of the Global Digital Health Index (GDHI). Additionally, GDI helped develop and refine a business plan and worked with Emergence Creative to strengthen HealthEnabled’s messaging and positioning among decision-makers.
HealthEnabled graduated from GDI’s incubation in early 2018 and now stands on its own as an Africa-based not-for profit that helps governments integrate proven life-saving digital health interventions into their health systems.
To learn more about our partners along the way and understand what we’ve learned from both successes and challenges in building HealthEnabled, read the full case study here >>
What does it mean to scale impact? Why does it matter? How can we do it better?
GDI East Asia Managing Director Warren Ang shared insights from GDI’s research on these questions at the Effective Philanthropic Multiplier (EPM)’s annual convening in China earlier this month to an audience of over 400 social sector leaders and practitioners.
The Effective Philanthropy Multiplier (EPM) is a platform that facilitates the accelerated replication of effective social products and models across China. EPM was initiated by 17 leading organizations in the sector: Narada Foundation, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, and One Foundation, China Merchants Charitable Foundation, Xinhua Philanthropy, Tencent Foundation, JD Philanthropy, Shanghai United Foundation, the Amity Foundation, NPI, SEE Foundation, Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation, ThoughtWorks, Sina Weibo Philanthropy, TJA Foundation, China Foundation Center, and Anna Chennault Foundation.
In its first two years, EPM has selected and supported 53 “effective products,” and facilitated 11,928 replications (including 2,857 nonprofits and volunteer associations, and 9,071 schools). EPM held its annual meeting to share their experience and achievements in the past two years and discuss scaling up impact with social sector leaders and practitioners.
GDI, together with China Donor Roundtable (CDR), led a seminar on scaling up impact for over 40 international and local foundations including Oxfam HK, Ford Foundation, and One Foundation. The discussion aimed to use the concepts of end-games and pathways to scale to help participants better understand their portfolios, drawing on GDI’s “What’s Your Endgame?” Stanford Social Innovation Review article and additional strategic research that EPM and GDI conducted on how EPM could better select and support products to scale up their impact (supported by Narada Foundation, Sanyi Foundation, and Zhaoshang Foundation).
GDI took foundation leaders through the research and focused on two case studies (Huiling and Shifangyuan) to show how these ideas about scaling impact operate in practice. The team also facilitated small group discussions for foundations to share their own experiences and insights on how to better scale-up the impact of their portfolio.
“We’re excited about building real initiatives that have impact at scale,” said GDI East Asia Managing Director Warren Ang. “For our research and strategy work to have any meaning, it needs to be grounded in practice and needs to deliver real results and value that we can measure. That’s why we build off this foundational research and next year will continue to work with the fantastic EPM team to build a ‘scale-up academy.’ The academy will put our findings into practice to significantly improve the social sector’s ability to select and support organizations aiming to scale their impact.”
Interested in learning more? You can watch the full video of GDI’s presentation, download the English slides, or read the first of a four-part Chinese article series on the topic where we explore the concept of scaling up, why it matters, and introduce the endgame framework as a starting point for organizations wishing to start their scale-up journey.
Sound fun? Want to get involved in GDI’s East Asia scaling impact efforts? GDI is currently looking for top talent to join our fast-growing Greater China team that is at the forefront of the Chinese social sector. We work hand-in-hand with partners, bringing our core competencies in strategy consulting, capacity building, design thinking, and implementation, to design and build initiatives that achieve impact at scale. Check out our Job Posts here (Chinese) or here (English).
PHILADELPHIA, PA, December 20, 2018 — As part of the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative (GOYI), the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions—and partners Prudential Financial, YouthBuild International, and the Global Development Incubator(GDI)—hosted the inaugural Global Opportunity Youth convening. The meeting was held December 3 – 7, 2018 at The Hive at Spring Point in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This week-long event brought together 24 young leaders between the ages of 18 and 30 from 12 countries around the world, including El Salvador, Haiti, Colombia,Mexico, Brazil, Canada, United States, Kenya, South Africa, United Kingdom, Jordan, and India. The youth delegates, who are either disconnected from or recently connected to work and education, represented six different languages and came from a mixture of rural, urban, and First Nations low-income backgrounds. These youth delegates had the opportunity to share their experiences of work and leadership in their home countries and inform the design of a new global effort – the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative – that will support pathways for youth into decent work.
“There are over 350 million young people in the world today who are not connected to opportunities for training, school, or formal work. This challenge calls for urgent, organized action that must be informed by the lived experience of this global youth constituency,” said Tim Cross, president of YouthBuild International. “It was insightful hearing the analysis and ideas for action from the youth delegates, and we are excited to have launched a permanent network of global opportunity youth who will guide the work as we carry it forward in 2019.”
“We will go back with a lot of information and bring solutions to whatever problems we are facing in our countries and be the first ones to make a change,” said Mercy Ncumisa Matubatuba, youth delegate from South Africa. “I am excited to go back and make a change in my community.”
The Global Opportunity Youth Initiative will partner with communities around the world committed to advancing systemic efforts to support access to productive employment for opportunity youth. Through this initiative, communities will bring together government, business, education, nonprofit, and youth leaders in a local collaborative and create a shared blueprint for increasing jobs and livelihoods for opportunity youth.
“It was remarkable bringing these young people from across cultures and countries together for the first time,” said Jamie McAuliffe, senior fellow, Aspen Institute. “Their aspirations and ideas will not only inform the design of the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative but will influence the creation of a longer-term global opportunity leadership pillar as a central component to initiative’s work.”
“It’s critical that youth are engaged in shaping the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative because pathways to economic security look different in every country,” said Sarah Keh, vice president, corporate giving at PrudentialFinancial. “This inaugural Global Youth Convening brought together individuals from 12 countries who shared their personal experiences and insights to help create and scale solutions for youth today. Prudential looks forward to continuing to engage youth in this initiative to have a meaningful impact for future generations.”
“This youth convening presented an important opportunity for us to understand the aspirations of young people when it comes to economic opportunities, and gave us a chance to enlist their energy and talents as we generate new commitments to address the global youth unemployment crisis in a more strategic, coordinated manner,” said Alice Gugelev, director at GDI. “Far too often youth employment initiatives are designed without genuine youth input and ownership –we want this initiative to be different, and we feel this input is critical to creating sustainable change for and with youth.”
Learn more about the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative here.
ABOUT THE ASPEN INSTITUTE FORUM FOR COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS
The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions’ mission is to support community collaboration—including collective impact—that enables communities to effectively address their most pressing challenges. TheForum for Community Solutions works to accomplish this mission by pursuing four complementary strategies including: 1) building awareness by documenting and lifting up impactful strategies and stories of success; 2) mobilizing stakeholders through knowledge and network development; 3) removing barriers by advocating for effective policy; and 4) catalyzing investment by encouraging funder partnerships. For more information, please visit www.aspencommunitysolutions.org
ABOUT PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL, INC.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1.4 trillion of assets under management as of September 30, 2018, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.
ABOUT YOUTHBUILD INTERNATIONAL
The mission of YouthBuild International (YBI) is to unleash the intelligence and positive energy of young people to transform their lives and rebuild their communities.YouthBuild International is building a global network of programs dedicated to reaching, inspiring, preparing and connecting unemployed young people to viable livelihood and leadership opportunities. In YouthBuild programs, young people acquire basic education, job readiness, technical training and leadership skills while building permanent community assets such as housing, community centers, schools, playgrounds and green infrastructure. YouthBuild was established in the United States 40 years ago and has expanded to 360 program sites in 44 states in the U.S. and in 22 other countries. For more information, visit www.youthbuild.org.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT INCUBATOR
The Global Development Incubator (GDI) is a non-profit that builds startups and partnerships to address some of the world’s toughest global development challenges. Visit www.globaldevincubator.orgto learn more.
This year’s SOCAP was especially exciting for GDI, as we announced the Refugee Investment Network (RIN), the first impact investing and blended finance collaborative dedicated to creating long-term solutions to global forced migration. John Kluge, founder and managing director of the RIN, told Bloomberg this month, “[We’re] setting out to prove to the broader investment community that refugees and displaced communities are in fact highly investable and that there’s really a business and investment case here beyond just the humanitarian appeal. They’re incredible entrepreneurs.
Along with the announcement, the RIN released its first report, “Paradigm Shift: How Investment Can Unlock the Potential of Refugees,” offering impact investors, grant-makers, and development finance professionals the first landscape of the what, why, who, where, and most importantly, how, of investing in and with displaced people.
At SOCAP, the RIN also announced that it had secured over $200 million in commitments from organizations across the capital and enterprise continuum including Amplio Ventures, Kiva, TerraBlanca Impact Capital, SEAF, Ascend Venture Fund, 17 Asset Management, Post Road Foundation, and 51 Labs.
As the RIN’s incubation partner, GDI will continue to provide strategic, operational, and strategic communications support for the RIN as the initiative moves towards an official launch in 2019.
Investors or partners interested in joining the effort can learn more at RefugeeInvestments.org.
At SOCAP 2018 last month, GDI and a team of partners launched the Collaborative for Frontier Finance (CFF), a multi-stakeholder initiative comprised of investors, funders, and field builders that aim to increase the amount of appropriate capital available for small and growing businesses (SGBs) in frontier and emerging markets.
Alice Gugelev, the lead GDI director behind this initiative, noted on a panel at SOCAP that while SGBs seem to be the solution for so many global development challenges, they lack the finance and infrastructure to fulfill that potential. Through “clusters” – or communities of stakeholders focused on specific themes related to SGB finance – CFF is seeking to overcome those problems by co-designing initiatives that can catalyze new capital for SGBs. So far, clusters focus on areas including mezzanine finance, pre-investment advisory, and very early stage funds.
Alongside the launch, CFF, Omidyar Network, the Dutch Good Growth Fund, and Dalberg Advisors released “Missing Middles: Segmenting Enterprises to Better Understand Their Financial Needs,” a report which offers an innovative segmentation framework with the aim of helping investors, intermediaries, and entrepreneurs better navigate the complex landscape of SGB investment in frontier and emerging markets.
Interested in getting involved? Find out more information about specific initiatives or modes of engagement by signing up to receive periodic updates on the sector including resources and opportunities to participate in events and initiatives. CFF will also be connecting with interested partners through hosting a series of panels and workshops at ANDE’s Annual Conference, GSG Impact Summit, SOCAP, and the GIIN Investor Forum. To learn more about the Collaborative, check out CFF’s website here.
GDI and partners announce new Global Opportunity Youth Initiative to mobilize communities around the world to support youth employment
Last week, GDI and a group of design partners announced the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative (GOYI), a new effort to catalyze and support collaboratives of government, business, education, nonprofit, and youth leaders within a given community, who share a goal of increasing jobs and livelihoods for young people. These collaboratives will focus specifically on creating action plans in support of “opportunity youth”—young people who are out of school, unemployed, or working in informal jobs.
The announcement was made at the 2018 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, which convened more than 550 technical experts from 50+ countries committed to advancing the social and economic well-being of young people globally.
The Global Opportunity Youth Initiative is currently housed at the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and is being co-designed by partners GDI, Prudential Financial, and YouthBuild International. Prudential has also generously committed more than $5 million to seed the initiative. The organizations bring complementary strengths and expertise to the challenge of global youth unemployment and share a deep commitment to supporting pathways for economic opportunity. In addition to the design partners, the initiative has been informed by dozens of expert interviews and thought leaders whose collective input was captured in the recently released report A Global Opportunity: Get Youth Working, which can be accessed here.
“There is now an opportunity for the sector to evolve from a perennial focus on finding the next “silver bullet” single model, innovation, or organization. Instead, community leaders will work collaboratively to identify systemic approaches that draw on the best elements of different youth interventions most relevant to their local economy.”
– Jamie McAuliffe, Senior Fellow, Aspen Forum for Community Solutions
GOYI will support community collaboratives through catalytic funding, a learning community, global advocacy, and a rigorous focus on data and evidence. GOYI will emphasize diagnosing and addressing the current and future impact of technology on economic pathways for youth, particularly young women. By 2023, GOYI will seek to establish collaboratives in five communities experiencing chronic youth unemployment and will aim to show positive, sustained economic impacts for hundreds of thousands of youth. GOYI’s long-term vision, aligned with the 2030 Social Development Goals, is to expand the network to include dozens of communities that are leading the way to achieve results for millions of global opportunity youth.
“Today Prudential furthers our commitment to supporting pathways for opportunity youth in the United States with an anchor investment in the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative. We look forward to collaborating with other private and public sector partners to accelerate economic opportunities for the millions of opportunity youth worldwide.”
– Sarah Keh,Vice President of Corporate Giving, Prudential Financial, Inc.
GOYI is currently validating and refining its approach through meetings with community leaders, youth, and other decision makers in advance of its official launch in 2019. GOYI is exploring opportunities to engage with communities in Kenya, South Africa, Colombia, and India through a series of workshops and site visits. In December 2018, the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative will convene 20 global opportunity youth leaders in Philadelphia. There, participants will provide input into the initiative’s design pre-launch, and will form the initial cohort of a global opportunity youth network that will be a key supporting pillar of the effort.
“Over 40 years of YouthBuild history, we have seen and celebrated the profound ripple effect that the leadership of young people can have on the world – from the favelas of Brazil, to post-conflict Bosnia, to right here in Washington D.C. The Global Opportunity Youth Initiative will ensure youth voice and agency is central to its design and implementation. “
– Tim Cross, President, YouthBuild International
GOYI will work with a range of partners and funders and welcomes the opportunity to speak with others who share the vision and ambition and are interested in partnering. To learn more, please contact Jamie McAuliffe, Senior Fellow at Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. (email@example.com; or, +1-917-282-9353).
“Our experience building social impact initiatives at the Global Development Incubator has taught us that creating systems-level, scaled impact requires working with communities to meet them where they are. Expanding jobs and livelihoods for global opportunity youth is no different – and we’re excited to tap the power of local communities through this new initiative.”
– Alice Gugelev, Director, Global Development Incubator
Read more about the initiative here >>
PRESS RELEASE: GDI taps global development leader Gary Edson as President and CEO
Appointment will elevate GDI’s reach and capabilities as the premier organization building social impact startups and partnerships
WASHINGTON, DC – September 25 – The Global Development Incubator (GDI), a leader in building social impact initiatives to address some of the world’s toughest challenges, announced today the appointment of Gary Edson – a White House veteran, non-profit executive, and business entrepreneur – as President and CEO.
Edson is a recognized leader in global development, whose experience includes conceiving and establishing the ground-breaking Millennium Challenge Corporation to fight global poverty and co-leading the development of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment ever by any nation to combat a single disease.
“Gary is an inspiring leader with a proven track record of turning innovative ideas into real-world results. We are excited to welcome him and confident that his vision and leadership will open new opportunities for GDI to create large-scale, lasting impact globally,” said Elchi Nowrojee, GDI U.S. Board Chair and a Principal at The Carlyle Group.
“Gary has launched some of the world’s most transformative global development initiatives,” said GDI Founder and Executive Director Andrew Stern, who will be transitioning to a new role as Director of Business Development. “His unique combination of public service, private sector experience, and social entrepreneurship is exactly what is needed to take GDI to the next level.”
Under Edson’s leadership, GDI will build on its first five years of designing, launching, and advising cutting-edge social impact initiatives, such as , which is improving the lives of the visually impaired; , which is addressing mental health for young people in cities across the globe; and the , which is tackling one of the greatest humanitarian challenges of our time.
“I’m honored to be joining the talented team at GDI,” Edson said. “Under Andrew’s leadership, GDI has gained a reputation for challenging the conventional, pioneering the unorthodox, and pushing the envelope of global development. I look forward to working with the GDI team to create even bigger and bolder solutions with new and existing partners.”
Prior to joining GDI, Edson was a Principal of Civic Enterprises and Acting CEO of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, where he oversaw the development of a new strategy to end cervical cancer deaths among HIV-positive women in sub-Saharan Africa and the launch of the Partnership to End AIDS and Cervical Cancer.
Previously, Edson served in the George W. Bush White House as Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy National Economic Advisor. In addition to his work on AIDS and global poverty, he served as the president’s chief negotiator for summits of G7/8, Latin American, EU and Asia-Pacific leaders; coordinated the U.S. response to financial crises in Latin America and elsewhere; and oversaw the launch of initiatives on clean water, human trafficking, global peacekeeping, and food security.
Earlier in his non-profit career, Edson served as President of Conservation International and was CEO of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, helping Haiti rebuild after the devastating 2010 earthquake. His private sector experience has centered on private equity and business strategy. He was a Managing Director of Baker & McKenzie Policy and Compliance Consulting LLC and a Managing Director at what is now the Albright Stonebridge Group.
GDI works across multiple sectors and geographies, regularly partnering with governments, foundations, NGOs, and the private sector to develop new and scalable solutions to global challenges. With Edson’s diverse background and breadth of experience, GDI is well-positioned to build on its success and achieve even greater impact worldwide.
MEDIA CONTACT: For media inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT INCUBATOR: The Global Development Incubator (GDI) is a non-profit that builds startups and partnerships to address some of the world’s toughest global development challenges. Since its founding in 2013, GDI has shaped over 35 social impact initiatives – including designing, building, launching, and exiting several entirely new initiatives that now stand as independent organizations including www.globaldevincubator.org., the first investor platform for blended finance; , a philanthropic collaborative pooling funds from ultra-high net worth individuals; and , a challenge for cities to turn the tide on young peoples’ mental health. GDI’s partners come from diverse sectors and include Omidyar Network, Mastercard Foundation, the Gates Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Visa, and the Canadian government. GDI is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has offices in New York City, San Francisco, Nairobi, and Hong Kong. Learn more at
Download the full press release here.
We’re excited to release GDI’s 2017 annual report, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at how we build startups and partnerships to address some of the world’s toughest global development challenges.
- Deep dives on how we’ve collaborated with partners to build the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, Emerging Public Leaders, the Partnership for Economic Inclusion, and other initiatives
- A “Where are they now?” look at exited initiatives Convergence, Co-Impact, and HealthEnabled
- Lessons from both can’t-believe-it-successes and downright failures of 2017
How does GDI design and build social impact startups?
It’s a question we get a lot, so we’ve tried to answer it in a new GDI case study on ISF Advisors (formerly the Initiative for Smallholder Finance).
Starting with a Dalberg state of the sector market sizing report, GDI convened and facilitated a range of partners to design, build, and launch ISF in 2013. ISF initially launched as a research and facilitation platform to close the smallholder farmer finance gap but after two years, the platform pivoted to become an intermediary and advisory group helping to structure rural finance investments and partnerships.
GDI made ISF’s transition from a research platform to an advisory firm possible by helping ISF bring in approximately USD 6 million in flexible funding, providing strategic support, and building out ISF’s core staff of 10+ experienced hires. Today, ISF remains in GDI’s portfolio but continues to discuss exit opportunities as they arise.
To learn more about our partners along the way and understand what we’ve learned from both successes and challenges in building ISF, read the full case study here >
Want to learn more about how GDI builds initiatives? Check out our case study on Convergence.
In Collaboration with GDI, Village Enterprise Closes Investment for First Development Impact Bond for Poverty Alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa
In collaboration with GDI, Village Enterprise has announced the completion of its first round of funding for its Development Impact Bond (DIB), resulting in $3.5 million in capital raised. The DIB will fund Village Enterprise’s poverty alleviation efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. With the DIB’s funding, Village Enterprise will “provide first-time entrepreneurs who live in extreme poverty with seed capital, training and mentoring to start more than 4,600 small sustainable businesses in rural Kenya and Uganda by 2020.”
The Village Enterprise DIB ties funding to impact results that are pre-agreed upon and subsequently verified. Avnish Gungadurdoss, Managing Partner of Instiglio and one of the partners in building the DIB, noted, “This DIB, which pays Village Enterprise for improvements in income levels of extreme poor households, is remarkable because of the ambitious outcomes it incentivizes. By tying funds to such ambitious outcomes and providing full flexibility for Village Enterprise to innovate on its program design and delivery practices, this DIB aims to enable a leap in the program’s cost-effectiveness.”
The DIB model isn’t new, but at GDI, we’re excited to be piloting a new twist on it by adding a “trustee” role to the Village Enterprise DIB, which could ultimately lower the costs and structural complexity that often plague DIBs and limit participation. As Trustee, GDI serves as the central “clearinghouse,” holding all cash inflows from outcome payers in escrow until we disburse funds to service providers, once payments are verified. GDI also contracts individually with all parties involved, minimizing the challenge of connecting organizations of different sizes and capabilities.
The longer-term goal of incorporating this role is to scale a poverty alleviation outcomes fund to increase the pool of capital available for poverty reduction and job creation programs while ensuring that measurable results are achieved. According to Alice Gugelev, who has led GDI’s work on this DIB, “Efforts are underway to scale the outcomes fund in order to address existing challenges with impact bonds such as high processing costs and complex documentation. In the scale-up, the outcomes fund plans to engage additional high caliber service providers like Village Enterprise and increase impact through this innovative and efficient mechanism.”
Learn more about this work on Village Enterprise’s website.
Emerging Public Leaders (EPL), a GDI-incubated initiative, has named President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (the former Liberian head of state) as Co-Chair, positioning Emerging Public Leaders as an influential driver of youth leadership in Africa. Through a two-year, highly competitive fellowship, Emerging Public Leaders is preparing the next generation of competent and ethical public-sector leaders in Africa. GDI is incredibly excited to celebrate this major milestone with Emerging Public Leaders as it continues working towards the “tipping point” for good governance in Africa.
President Sirleaf served as the president of Liberia from 2006 to 2018, becoming the first elected female head of state in Africa. She said of Emerging Public Leaders, “I am delighted to join an organization at the forefront of professionalizing Africa’s civil service. I know firsthand how critical a strong civil service is for any country hoping to drive towards good governance and democracy, deliver quality services to its people, and spur economic and inclusive growth – especially for women – and look forward to helping Emerging Public Leaders expand its partnerships and footprint across Africa to achieve that mission.”
Emerging Public Leaders expands and adapts the model of the President’s Young Professional Program in Liberia, which receives operational and advisory support from GDI. During the past decade, this program has recruited and supported over 140 public service fellows in Liberia; the vast majority of whom continue to work as professionals in Liberia’s civil service. With Liberia’s success and innovation, Emerging Public Leaders has recently expanded its public service fellowship to Ghana and intends to grow a pan-African network of 500 public sector leaders by 2022. President Sirleaf will play a crucial role in the program’s efforts to professionalize leadership in Africa’s civil service, encouraging other partners and governments to join the effort as the organization continues to expand to other African countries.
Read the full press release here.
You’ve probably experienced it before: After months of conducting interviews, research, and analysis for a landmark report, only a small group of people actually read the final product you publish. This situation is not only dispiriting, but also presents a serious impact challenge to many of us working in the global development space. Funders and organizations may spend millions of dollars each year on research that never makes it into the hands of those have the power to drive change on the ground.
But, there is a way to bridge the gap between publishing research and changing behavior.
In a new article published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “If a Report Is Published and No One Reads It, Did It Really Happen?”, GDI’s Malia Bachesta Eley lays out four key tips for ensuring that important research is read and put to use in solving global development challenges:
- People want less talk and more action.
- Shorter is always better.
- Know your audience and tailor the content accordingly.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Throughout the article, Malia draws insights from the experience of one GDI initiative – the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab (RAFLL) – but shows how we can all be champions for intentional, strategic communications to drive greater impact across sectors.