Video: D. Talks – Steve Daniels, Founding Director of Makeshift Magazine, on Design and Global Development

By Cecilia Chen and Hanna Seminario

Below, Steve Daniels, IBM Design Lead and Founding Director of Makeshift magazine, talks hacks, informal economies, and Human-Centered Design with Dalberg Video:

In a recent D. Talk, Steve came to Dalberg’s New York office to discuss the intersection of design and development, and particularly, the nexus of the two in informal economies. He explained that informal economies act as “society’s sandbox” where design solutions develop free from political and institutional constraints. Many of today’s innovative industries first appeared as hacks out of necessity in these informal economies. Long before the creation of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, dollar vans were operating in Brooklyn, NY. CouchSurfing predated the successful room-sharing website Airbnb, and hackers in Accra fused SIM cards so that they operate from multiple providers at least half a decade before phone manufacturers introduced multi-SIM phones.

These innovations also raise attribution questions. The World Intellectual Property Organization asked Makeshift to research applying intellectual property rights to informal economies in Nairobi. He found that a cluster of metalworkers in Kamukunji has informally enforced the opposite for over half a century: encouraging inventors to share their designs and penalizing those discovered to be hiding inventions.

Steve demonstrated that “informal economies push us to test the way we think, work, and govern.” These unlicensed, unregulated businesses may be the world’s biggest design research opportunity, accounting for two-thirds of global employment and an annual $10 trillion in “GDP.”

So how can we incorporate the innovative thinking of informal economies into our own design process? Steve has developed a course, Disruptive Design for Makeshift Cities, for students in the School of Visual Arts’ Design for Social Innovation program to engage with informal economies around them – including dumpster divers, subway performers, illegal goods for sale on Craigslist – as a source of design opportunities. Through Makeshift’s consulting practice, he focuses on Human Systems Design, considering the needs and capabilities of all stakeholders throughout the design process to create an environment that unlocks their potential.

Working in development, we can only hope for our outputs to receive the same uptake as these innovations developed informally by hackers. Perhaps acknowledging the merits of informal innovation and borrowing from their design process – which focuses on present user needs in a resource-constrained situation – could get us closer to the game-changing products Steve has documented on the ground.

Steve Daniels presented at D. Talks, a forum that convenes the development community in cities where Dalberg offices are located. D. Talks aim to drive dialogue and critical thinking on global development issues and create networking opportunities for development professionals.

Posted in Cities, Dalberg Community, Human-Centered Design | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Direct-to-Farmer Finance: Business models for serving the hardest-to-reach smallholders

By Laura Goldman

smallholder farmer Kenya

A smallholder farmer in Kenya. Photo by Elyse Marr.

An estimated 90 percent of smallholder farmers lack strong, consistent relationships with buyers – and the access to finance, inputs, agronomic training and other support that typically accompanies those relationships.

The way these smallholders operate – outside a tight value chain, on a relatively small landholding, and with limited commercial activity – makes it difficult for financial providers to reach them. Direct-to-farmer finance is an important pathway through which these farmers can gain access to credit and other financial services that will help them improve their yields and lives. A new briefing from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance, with research from Dalberg, explores the over 150 finance providers who offer finance directly to smallholder farmers globally.

These “direct-to-farmer finance providers” range from state and agricultural development banks, to informal financial institutions, and everywhere in between. Through our research, we observed that providers’ specific approaches to direct-to-farmer finance cluster around four business model archetypes: Build & Integrate, Build & Partner, Leverage & Network, and Extend & Mobilize.

Understanding the following four archetypes can help funders, investors and finance providers better align models across smallholder farmer segments and identify opportunities to address scaling challenges:

1. Build & Integrate: These financial providers aim to fill a market gap by serving primarily non-commercial smallholders with little to no access to finance and farming-related services. Field-based staff deliver financial products, typically developed specifically to support smallholders’ agricultural needs, as well as agronomic training and other support services. The hands-on and field-based nature of Build & Integrate providers’ approach helps them build strong relationships with smallholders and a deep understanding of their financial and non-financial needs. However, this approach also translates to a low farmer-to-field officer ratio of approximately 100-200 farmers per field officer – the lowest observed across archetypes. One example of a Build & Integrate financial provider is One Acre Fund, which is serving more than 180,000 farmers across Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

2. Build & Partner: These financial providers also aim to fill a market gap by serving rural populations, including both non-commercial smallholders and commercial smallholders in loose value chains. Similar to the Build & Integrate model, these providers operate in close proximity to clients, delivering financial products through field-based staff. However, Build & Partner providers typically outsource the development and delivery of agronomic training and other support services through formal partnerships. As providers’ staff operate in the field but are primarily responsible for financial activities only, Build & Partner providers typically have farmer-to-field officer ratios of approximately 300-500 farmers per field officer – higher than those of Build & Integrate providers. Juhudi Kilimo, a non-bank financial institution offering asset financing to Kenyan smallholders, is an example of a Build & Partner financial provider.

3. Leverage & Network: These financial providers use existing infrastructure to broaden their client base by serving commercial smallholders, including some in loose value chains. To do so, providers typically deploy existing capital sources (including revenue, client savings and investment capital) and staff to deliver a full set of financial products to smallholders. Most Leverage & Network providers serve smallholders from branches and seek out informal partnerships with other organizations who that can provide training and other agronomic support to their clients. Given these factors, Leverage & Network providers typically have the highest farmer-to-field officer ratios: more than 1,000 farmers per field officer. Opportunity International and its network of financial institutions offering smallholder finance across seven African countries are examples of Leverage & Network providers.

4. Extend & Mobilize: These financial providers are typically member-run organizations set up to meet the needs of the rural communities in which they operate. Thousands of these providers exist – including Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) and Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) – and some have extended their financial product offerings to include agricultural-focused products for non-commercial smallholders. Most Extend & Mobilize providers depend on their existing staff and capital base (typically member savings) to support their agricultural finance activities. Agronomic supporting services are typically member driven and provided more informally on a volunteer basis.

Taking direct-to-farmer finance to the next level

While each business model archetype has strengths and merit, each also faces significant limitations to scale, as our briefing explores in greater detail.

ISF direct to farmer finance playbook

The Direct-to-Farmer Finance Innovation Spaces Playbook outlines specific opportunities for finance providers to innovate and better serve smallholders.

To overcome these challenges and close the enormous gap that persists between demand for and supply of smallholder finance, finance providers will need to share knowledge and blend approaches across business model archetypes. Funders and investors can encourage this activity by supporting knowledge-sharing platforms and activities among providers, and working with individual direct-to-farmer finance providers to experiment with practices more commonly observed in other business model archetypes.

Funders and investors also can support ongoing and future innovation to help providers overcome challenges and scale more quickly. The Direct-to-Farmer Finance: Innovation Spaces Playbook, the latest publication from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance and Dalberg’s Design Impact Group, describes these innovation opportunities in greater detail and suggest compelling new directions in which practitioners could build off of current activity.

This article originally appeared on NextBillion.

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On the International Day of the Girl Child, Boosting Young Women’s Education and Employment in Guinea through Targeted Training Centers

By Marieme Diallo

In Guinea, many girls enter adolescence and young adulthood ill-prepared for their future working lives. When they grow up, these women are disproportionately affected by high rates of unemployment and underemployment compared to men, and are unable to realize their full economic and social potential.

Dalberg recently surveyed 711 young women and a range of private sector companies in Guinea on behalf of UNICEF and USAID to better understand what challenges women face in obtaining employment and how organizations can help young women overcome these challenges. Dalberg also surveyed vocational training centers and other types of training centers to assess whether their offerings are aligned with young women’s needs.

Why can’t young women get jobs?

In Guinea, men’s income is 1.5 times higher than that of women. Photo by UNICEF Guinea via Flickr.

In Guinea, men’s income is 1.5 times higher than that of women. Photo by UNICEF Guinea via Flickr.

Many young women in Guinea have difficulty getting jobs because they do not have the educational qualifications they need to enter to the job market.

Our study found that only 54% of Guinean young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are literate, compared with 68% of men. Additionally, 60.7% of adolescent girls are not in school at all. The overall school life expectancy for young women is seven years, while it is ten years for young men. Education attainment for young women most likely lags due to the combined effects of late school entry and early pregnancy – in fact, more than one in four young women in Guinea between ages 15 and 19 already have a child.

Girls’ educational disadvantage at a young age translates to an employment disadvantage when they grow to be women seeking jobs. Women are largely excluded from higher income and employment in both formal and informal sectors; in fact, men’s income is 1.5 times higher than that of women. Young women’s lack of formal educational attainment also affects the type of jobs they can acquire. Our surveys indicated that girls feel forced to work jobs traditionally associated with women, such as sewing, hairdressing, and catering. Because girls are more hesitant to branch into jobs such as mechanic, civil engineering, and transport, their job opportunities are even slimmer.

How can young women overcome these barriers to employment?

Our research found that for young women to obtain employment at a pace on par with young men in Guinea, they must acquire certain key skills – many of which they can gain from programs at targeted training centers. With the help of training centers, women can:

Our study of the labor market found that many of the most promising employment opportunities range from manual to technical jobs in the agriculture, mining, construction, and tourism sectors. To get these jobs, however, young women need to acquire the specific vocational skills important to these employers, such as digital literacy, professional and personal maturity, analysis capabilities, creativity, writing skills, and the ability to work independently.

Skills training, set in an environment that supports women working in many industries, will help Guinea make the most of its young female workforce. Photo by Jean-Michel Volat via Flickr.

Skills training, set in an environment that supports women working in many industries, will help Guinea make the most of its young female workforce. Photo by Jean-Michel Volat via Flickr.

Acquire technical and professional skills. Our study of the labor market found that many of the most promising employment opportunities range from manual to technical jobs in the agriculture, mining, construction, and tourism sectors. To get these jobs, however, young women need to acquire the specific vocational skills important to these employers, such as digital literacy, professional and personal maturity, analysis capabilities, creativity, writing skills, and the ability to work independently.

>> How training centers can help: Training centers need to align their curricula with market needs in order to help women acquire technical and professional skills to become competitive in these job markets.

Gain entrepreneurial skills. Though fewer than 10% of the training centers surveyed offer entrepreneurship courses, the survey respondents (young women and private sector employers) expressed a strong demand for programs to help young women take advantage of market opportunities that require them to be more entrepreneurial.

>> How training centers can help: Training centers can step up to the challenge by promoting entrepreneurship through theoretical and practical modules that teach young women key skills such as knowing how to analyze a problem, formulate and communicate an idea to address that problem, and find the necessary resources to implement that idea. These skills are both core to entrepreneurship and to success in other emerging labor markets.

Improve self-confidence and professionalism. Private sector employers we interviewed reported that the factors most limiting the employability of women are a lack of professionalism – capacity to deliver a task efficiently and effectively – and a lack of confidence in their abilities.

>> How training centers can help: Life skill modules within training centers should focus on improving young women’s self-confidence, decision-making capabilities, and communication skills. Training in life skills can also protect young women against other factors that increase their vulnerability in the labor market. It is important, for example, that women receive training in reproductive health and, for those who are mothers, good childcare practices.

Receive support from their peers. While young women’s skill sets certainly affect their employment prospects, their external environments matter, too. For example, 80% of young women report that their behavior is influenced by religion and tradition. Furthermore, 54% believe that traditionally female-dominated jobs such as trade, hairdressing, sewing, and catering are specifically reserved for them.

>> How training centers can help: Programs that train young women can encourage young women to seek out jobs traditionally reserved for men, such as carpentry and plumbing. This diversification will create more job opportunities for women by normalizing the concept of women working these jobs.

Next steps to improving young women’s education and employment 

Skills training, set in an environment that supports women working in many industries, will help Guinea make the most of its young female workforce. Driven by the results from Dalberg’s research, UNICEF and USAID are developing a new set of training centers to help 1,350 Guinean young women gain the technical, entrepreneurial, and life skills that are crucial for their future employment. We also recommend that UNICEF and USAID organize and conduct events for young women and their parents to explain the importance of vocational training and openly discuss topics such as religion and tradition.

While these programs are still in a test phase, they might eventually extend to serve 10,000 young Guinean women. In the spirit of the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child coming up tomorrow, we hope these programs can become an important model for improving young women’s employment opportunities around the world.

Posted in Education and Youth Development, Gender Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why We Need Innovative Financing: Innovative Financing’s “Bridge” Role in Economic, Social, and Environmental Development

By Sam Lampert and Serena GuarnaschelliInnovative Financing for Development Report

As the development agenda came under the spotlight at last week’s UN General Assembly in New York, one thing became clear: the future we want – a future that meets the needs of people and the planet – will require investments estimated in the trillions of dollars over the next ten years.

Securing and mobilizing that investment will not be an easy task.

But the concept of innovative financing – which focuses on programs that deliver results and supports collaboration between the public and private sector – may present at least part of the solution.

A new report, titled Innovative Financing for Development: Scalable business models that produce economic, social, and environmental outcomes, was released today by Dalberg and the Global Development Incubator. Funded by the Citi Foundation and the Agence Française de Développement, it describes the innovative financing landscape and how expanded use of these mechanisms can promote development outcomes. The report aims to accelerate the growth of innovative financing by creating a common language and vision for leaders in both the public and private sector to use as they explore innovative financing opportunities to drive positive social and environmental impacts.

What is innovative financing?

Innovative financing instruments do not replace, but rather complement, traditional resource flows such as aid, foreign direct investment and remittances. By addressing specific market failures and institutional barriers, innovative financing can mobilize additional resources to eliminate poverty, raise living standards and protect the environment.

Innovative financing encompasses a broad range of financial instruments and assets used for global development. We estimate that innovative financing instruments mobilized nearly $100 billion and grew at 11 percent per year between 2000 and 2013. Innovative financing is unique because it can attract private companies that want to expand into new markets; investors and fund managers who want to create both financial and social returns; and governments that want to achieve more and better development impact in a resource-constrained environment.

Most of these mechanisms combine public and private sector resources and expertise; successful innovative financing creates incen­tives for private companies to invest in projects that benefit people at the base of the pyramid or support the environment.

One example of successful innovative financing is the Pneumococcal Advance Market Commitment (AMC), sponsored by the GAVI Alliance. Pneumococcal vaccines are complex and usually reach low-income countries a decade or more after introduction in industrialized nations. Yet each year pneumococcal disease kills half a million children under the age of five. Through the Advanced Market Commitment, donors, including the Gates Foundation, pledged $1.5 billion to guarantee a low price for two billion doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

A child receives a pneumococcal vaccine in Kenya. Photo by TED Conference via Flickr.

A child receives a pneumococcal vaccine in Kenya. Photo by TED Conference via Flickr.

The Advanced Market Commitment reduced market uncertainty, encouraging manufacturers to speed up the development and availability of vaccines. In exchange for the upfront funds from donors, the manufacturers agreed to sell the PCVs to low-income countries at a price no greater than $3.50 for the next ten years – a price that is 90 percent lower than the price of PCV in high-income markets.

Other examples of innovative financing include the World Bank’s green bonds, the Global Health Investment Fund, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, and development impact bonds.

In defining innovative financing, it also helps to note that it is different from financial innovation. Established financial instruments, such as guarantees and bonds, constitute nearly 65 percent of the innovative financing market. While new products dominate many conversations about innovative financing, most resources mobilized through it use existing products in new markets, or involve new investors. Our definition of the “innovation” aspect of innovative financing includes the introduction of new products, the extension of existing products to new markets, and the presence of new types of investors.

So how does innovative financing create value?

Innovative financing mechanisms address specific market failures and institutional barriers that hinder global development.

Often, innovative financing instruments reallocate risks from investors to institutions better positioned to bear the risk and, in the process, enable participation from mainstream investors. In the case of the AMC for pneumococcal vaccines, pharmaceutical companies were more motivated to conduct vaccine research and produce vaccines for developing countries because they had the advance guarantee from donors that those vaccines would be purchased.

The AMC for pneumococcal vaccines, while promising, is a single instrument sponsored by donor governments and philanthropies that has not yet been widely replicated. In order to achieve scale and attract private capital, innovative financing instruments need relatively simple financial structures and a proven track record that clearly describes the expected financial and social returns. For example, the World Bank’s issuance of green bonds to finance investments in low-carbon infrastructure has grown quickly because they are evaluated using standard risk models, provide a risk-adjusted return that meets investor expectations, and also offer investors the opportunity to be associated with a positive environmental outcome.

What are the next steps in innovative financing?

The focus of innovative financing is shifting from the mobilization of resources through innovative fundraising approaches – an approach commonly associated with traditional development finance – to the delivery of positive social and environmental outcomes through market-based instruments that are more sustainable.

In our report, we anticipate three primary drivers of growth in the innovative financing sector:

  • Increased use of established financial instruments. Established instruments that investors can evaluate through existing risk frameworks, such as green bonds, will attract new participants including pension funds and institutional investors. Channeling the proceeds of these instruments to productive development goals will require new standards that specify how funds can be used most effectively.
  • Expansion into new markets through growth of replicable products. Over the past ten years, the international development community has experimented with new instruments such as performance-based contracts. These instruments do not yet have the track record to attract institutional investors, but offer promising opportunities to improve development outcomes in new sectors.
  • Creation of new innovative financing products. Finally, we have seen the emergence of new products, such as development impact bonds, that are promising, but are still in their early stages. While these products will remain a small portion of the market in the short-term, we encourage donor governments and other funders to continue experimenting with these products so they can mature into the next important asset class.

Meeting global commitments to eradicate poverty and to respond to climate change will require all possible sources of financing. Through its combination of private sector approaches to achieving risk-adjusted returns and a philanthropic orientation to producing social impact, innovative financing is a critical “bridge” to address the most pressing global economic, social and environmental challenges.

If you are interested in joining the conversation or learning more, contact

This article was previously posted on NextBillionBusiness Fights Poverty, and Skoll World Forum.

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INFOGRAPHIC: How Green is the Internet?

By Tania Beard, Libby Bova, and Gill Cassar

In recent years, the media has buzzed with stories applauding the Internet as a driver of economic growth, efficiency, and social change. Dalberg’s own report, The Impact of the Internet in Africa, added to the buzz with its examination of Internet-created opportunities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal.

Less discussed, and perhaps more equivocal, is the impact of the Internet on the environment. We examined this relationship and found that there are dark and bright sides to the Internet’s impact on the environment: the Internet contributes significantly to environmental degradation, yet also drives innovations that reduce humans’ carbon footprints.

Our research, presented in the infographic below, offers answers to the question, “How Green is the Internet?”:

Infographic: How Green is the Internet?

For more information on Internet-enabled innovations that can reduce your carbon footprint, click here.

To read more about how the Internet is enabling economic growth and social inclusion in other sectors, click here.

Posted in Energy and Environment, Mobile for Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

List of September Events around the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, and Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) Annual Conference

By Dean Segell

New York City is set to host a collection of development events this September. With the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting, and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) annual conference all taking place, it’s a unique opportunity for joint thinking and coordination.

We’ve put together the below database of side events to the UNGA, CGI annual meeting, and ANDE annual conference as a resource to help the global development community get together, collaborate, and plan during these key weeks.

Our list is by no means comprehensive, so we encourage you to suggest additional events in the comments section and we will add them to our database.

Side Events Around CGI, UNGA, and the ANDE Annual Conference

Overview   Details
Event name Organizer Description Date & Time Type
HABITAT III: The Role of Design – A Path to Sustainable Urbanization Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, American Institute of Architects, UN-Habitat Event will focus on the role of design at HABITAT III Fri 12 Sep 18:00-20:00 RSVP (free)
Investing in Impact-Driven Leadership with Jacqueline Novogratz NY+Acumen Event to discuss the importance of leadership and building a cohort of impact-driven leaders Mon 15 Sep 17:30-20:30 RSVP ($75)
Thinking Inside Out – How Cities Contribute to Solving Global Problems The New School, Observatory on Latin America, Penn Institute for Urban Research, UN-Habitat Side event to the United Nations’ Preparatory Committee Meeting on Habitat III Tue 16 Sep 14:00-17:00
New York Launch of the New Climate Economy at the United Nations UN, The New Climate Economy Launch of Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report Tue 16 Sep 09:00-10:30 RSVP (free, closed)
Right to the City for All – Building a Global Platform towards Habitat III Habitat International Coalition Event aims to promote cross-sector dialogue to strengthen international coordination and mobilization for the construction of a Global Platform for the Right to the City, to influence the definition of the New Habitat and Urban Agenda in the HABITAT III Conference and the SDGs Tue 16 Sep 15:30-17:30
Inside Energy Summit SolarCity Inside Energy brings together business leaders, thought leaders, and policy leaders for an insider look at the latest trends in energy and sustainability Wed 17 Sep 12:00-18:30 Invite only
Services, Human Rights and Inclusion in an Urbanizing World UNFPA Event will examine service delivery and social protection in the context of rapid urban transitions Wed 17 Sep 08:30-09:30 Invite only
Linking Public Transportation to a New Urban Agenda Institute for Transportation and Development Policy Event will show how to optimize the contribution of mobility policies for the successful delivery of Habitat III’s New Urban Agenda Wed 17 Sep 08:30-09:30 Invite only
Cities that Work for Everyone: Inclusion, participation, and
partnership in the new urban agenda
Huairou Commission Event will facilitate a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the non-negotiables of an urban agenda that works for grassroots women, communities, and local authorities Wed 17 Sep 13:30-14:30 Invite only
Priorities for HABITAT III in the UNECE region UN Economic Commission for Europe – Committee on Housing and Land Management Event will monitor progress on the implementation of the UNECE Strategy on Housing and Land Management in the ECE Region 2014-2020 Wed 17 Sep 13:30-14:30 Invite only
Seizing the opportunity for global partnerships: Exploring outlooks, expectations and opportunities for Habitat III to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable Cities Alliance Event will discuss four key areas of the Cities Alliance in promoting equity in cities: equitable city growth, responding to informality, promoting good governance and city resilience Wed 17 Sep 18:30-19:30 Invite only
Eliminating Constraints to Urban Land and Property Ownership by Women: A Practical Perspective International Housing Coalition Event presents different approaches to eliminating legal, political, social, and customary barriers to women owning land and property Wed 17 Sep 18:30-19:30 Invite only
2nd Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development Practice Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice Programs Event is chance to share and identify practical, evidence-based solutions that can support the SDSN leadership in shaping the post-2015 agenda Wed 17 Sep – Thu 18 Sep 08:00-18:00 RSVP (free, closed)
HABITAT III – First PrepCom Habitat III First session of the Preparatory Committee of the third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development Wed 17 Sep – Thu 18 Sep All day
From MDG to SDG: Towards a New Paradigm at Habitat III Communitas Coalition and the Penn Institute for Urban Research Event will discuss development of an SDG on Cities & Human Settlements Thu 18 Sep 08:30-09:30
Harnessing the Potential of Public Space for Women and the Youth UN-Women Event will discuss how public space can promote gender equality, women and youth empowerment, human rights, inclusiveness, and the elimination of gender-based violence and gender-based stereotypes. Thu 18 Sep 08:30-09:30
Local and regional governments’ contributions to Habitat III: priorities, expectations, and challenges for sustainable cities and territories United Cities and Local Governments Event will provide the opportunity for local authorities to reiterate their commitment to contribute to Habitat III Thu 18 Sep 13:30-14:30
Advancing opportunities for Global Lessons in Creating a Community Resilience
and Urban Livability
Municipal Art Society of New York Event will bring together local practitioners including architects, planners, community business leaders, and activists, to discuss lessons learned from Sandy, and opportunities to share these lessons globally Thu 18 Sep 13:30-14:30
Africa investor CEO Investor Relations Masterclass Africa Investor, FINEO Discussion of Africa’s increased investment attractiveness Fri 19 Sep,
Mon 22 Sep All day
RSVP (no date, investors only, £1,995)
Financing Resilient Cities The Gold Standard Foundation and Climate Action Event will examine how investment can be effectively mobilized to support integrated, and socially responsible, low carbon urban development programs that can be replicated worldwide Sun 21 Sep 18:30-20:30 Invite only
Social Good Summit 2014 Mashable, UN Foundation, 92Y, UNDP, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world Sun 21 Sep – Mon 22 Sep All day RSVP (tickets, price unknown)
Women Leaders Forum 2014 Global Partnerships Forum, Advanced Development for Africa Foundation Connecting Women’s Health and Girl’s Education for Scalable
and Sustainable Development with a special focus on Youth Education, Health and Entrepreneurship
Mon 22 Sep 09:00-12:55 Invite only
African Heads of State and Government Investment Working Lunch Africa Investor, Global Partnerships Forum Dialogue between business and government leaders on practical investment partnerships that support investment in the African continent and facilitate African regional economic integration Mon 22 Sep 12:00-14:00 RSVP (No date, only for investors)
The Global STEM Alliance International Launch New York Academy of the Sciences, Global Partnerships Forum Empowering the next generation of scientific innovators Mon 22 Sep 15:00-18:00 Invite only
Ai CEO Institutional Investment Summit 2014 Africa Investor, New York Stock Exchange Event will profile leading African capital market opportunities to African and global pension fund investors through high-level panel discussions and interactive one-on-one meetings Mon 22 Sep All day RSVP (free, investors only)
Ai Index Series Awards 2014 Africa Investor, New York Stock Exchange Event will profile African capital market success stories Mon 22 Sep All day RSVP (free, investors only)
Women Leading Solutions on the Frontline of Climate Change Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network Event will provide a platform for strengthening the network of women who are at the forefront of the transition to a just and sustainable future Mon 22 Sep 13:00-15:00 RSVP (free)
Action in Climate Change and Health UN Climate Summit and others Engaging thought leaders at the intersection of climate change and health across multiple sectors Mon 22 Sep 08:00-14:00 Invite only
Climate Week NYC Opening Day Climate Week NYC Discussion of how leadership and innovation can converge to drive carbon emissions down and clean economic growth up Mon 22 Sep 10:00-17:45
City Climate Leadership Awards C40 Cities The C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Awards provides global recognition to cities that are demonstrating climate action leadership. Mon 22 Sep
House of Green Opening Event Urban Future Lab, Confederation of Danish Industry Official Opening of the House of Green Exhibition at the Urban Future Lab – New York´s premier center for the cleantech community. Mon 22 Sep 17:00-19:00 Invite only
Leader’s Forum on Women Leading the Way: Raising Ambition for Climate Action UN Women, the Mary Robinson Foundation Event aimed at mobilizing action by governments, business, finance, and civil society in areas that will enable the world to shift towards a low-carbon economy Mon 22 Sep 18:00-22:30 Invite only
OECD and CPI dialogue event: Improving transparency & accountability through improved tracking Climate Policy Initiative, OECD This event aims to help boost transparency and accountability in the tracking of climate-related development finance from public and private sources Mon 22 Sep 17:00-19:00 RSVP (free, 18 Sep)
The Forest and Climate Challenge: Business, Government and Indigenous Leaders call for action Ford Foundation Diverse panel will talk about the actions they are taking to reduce deforestation and associated conflict to the benefit of local communities, the bottom line and the climate Mon 22 Sep 14:30-16:00 Invite only
Sustaining Health: Linking Environment, Nutrition and Health Welcome Trust Event will explore the interface between nutrition, environment and health, and how science and technology can address the challenges we face Mon 22 Sep 14:30-18:00 Invite only
High-Level Expert Workshop: “Food Crops for Agriculture in a Changing Climate: an Expert Communiqué” International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources Workshop to address the challenge of producing more – and more nutritious – food on less land, with less water and less energy, and in an increasingly challenging climate Mon 22 Sep 15:00-18:00
Equator Prize Award Ceremony UNDP Prize is awarded biannually to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities Mon 22 Sep 18:30-22:00 RSVP (free)
World Conference on Indigenous Peoples UN Event for sharing perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples, including pursuing the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Mon 22 Sep – Tue 24 Sep All day RSVP (closed)
Climate Summit 2014 The New Climate Economy The Secretary-General will host a summit as an integral part of his strategy to engage leaders and advance climate action and ambition Tue 23 Sep All day Invite only
Innovating for Impact: The MDGs and Beyond UKaid, USAID Event to showcase the role of innovation in catalyzing progress towards achieving the MDGs and in shaping the future of global development Tue 23 Sep 14:00-17:00 RSVP (free, 12 Sep)
UN Private Sector Forum 2014 UN Event will focus on carbon pricing, specifically to achieve an equitable and fair valuation of carbon through long-term strategies, investments and policies Tue 23 Sep 11:30-15:15 Invite only
Side Event at Climate Change Summit: “Food Crops for a Changing Climate” International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources Tue 23 Sep 13:15-15.30
Innovative Financing Leading Group, UN Event to discuss innovative financing: a solution to diversify the financial toolbox for sustainable development and climate Wed 24 Sep Afternoon
Business Call to Action Fifth Annual Forum UNDP Forum to bring together chief executives from prominent Business Call to Action member companies and senior representatives from governments, bilateral donors, civil society, and the United Nations Wed 24 Sep All day
Ending Poverty: Why Strong, Accountable Institutions Matter UK Government, Transparency International Event will focus on the importance of accountability and transparency in eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development Wed 24 Se 11:30-3:00p Invite only
Creative Power: New models for growing clean energy investment The Climate Group, Bloomberg, Swiss RE Event will explore: How are investors, insurers, governments and financiers working to de-risk clean energy projects? Wed 24 Sep Invite only
Building Innovative and Sustainable Index Insurance Markets IRI, World Bank Discussion of “Building Innovative and Sustainable Index Insurance Markets in Developing Countries” Wed 24 Sep 09:00-13:00 RSVP (free)
Fourth High-Level Round Table on the ITPGR International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources Discussion of how to support agricultural innovation for breeding climate-smart seeds; climate change impacts on food crops; and showcase the value of the Treaty’s Benefit-sharing Fund and its projects Wed 24 Sep 11:00-13:00
Curbing illicit financial flows for domestic resource mobilization in the post-2015 era OECD, Australia, and Mexico With the proposed target by the UN OWG to significantly reduce by 2030 illicit financial flows as background, this Side Event aims to identify concrete international actions needed in key areas for achieving this target, such as international tax evasion and avoidance, money laundering, bribery, and asset recovery. Wed 24 Sep 11:00-13:00
Colloquium on Forests and Climate: New Thinking for Transformational Change Center for International Forestry Research Event to promote discussion on future priorities for research in forest and landscape governance and on the valuation of ecosystem services Wed 24 Sep 14:00-15:00 RSVP (free)
Redesigning Development Finance World Economic Forum Discussion of how to harness development, investor, and philanthropic resources in a strategic, deliberate fashion to achieve exponential social impact through sustainable, investable, scalable enterprises and projects. Wed 24 Sep 15:00-17:30 Invite only
World Summit on Indigenous
International Funders for Indigenous Peoples Event aims to establish the best, most efficient ways to practice indigenous philanthropy, whereby indigenous peoples are our equal partners and not passive receivers Wed 24 Sep – Fri 26 Sep All day RSVP (free if  eligible)
High-level panel debate, “Health Care and Violence: The Need for Effective Protection” International Committee of the Red Cross Event for discussion of health care and violence Thu 25 Sep 9:00-10:30 Invite only
Corporations Leading Climate Resilience Around the World ND-GAIN Event for learning about global adaptation innovation and best practice Thu 25 Sep 17:00-18:30 RSVP (free, Sep 24)
Indoor Air Pollution UN Forum to mobilize partnership and increase awareness of the impact of indoor air pollution among women and low income households in Africa Thu 25 Sep 09:00-17:00 Free
Innovative Strategies for Living with Climate Change The Rockefeller Foundation, BBC Media Action A discussion of creative, context-sensitive solutions for coping with changing weather across Africa and Asia Thu 25 Sep 10:00-12:00 Invite only
CGIAR Development Dialogues CGIAR Discussion of the role that crop and animal agriculture, forestry and fisheries will play in achieving sustainable development and shaping the post-2015 agenda Thu 25 Sep 10:00-18:30 Invite only
Business Forum on Ocean Policy & Planning World Ocean Council Forum to catalyze informed, coordinated and proactive Ocean Business Community engagement in the ocean policy and planning efforts which will significantly impact future ocean economic activity Mon 29 Sep – Tue 30 Sep All day RSVP (Sep 28, $610)
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Dalberg Announces New Leadership

Dear friends,

We are pleased to share several announcements about Dalberg’s evolution and growth.

Over the last week, the entire Dalberg family gathered outside Cape Town in South Africa for a global retreat. For the over 200 team members who made the trip, our retreat was an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come in the 13 years since our founder, Henrik Skovby, led Dalberg’s first client engagement in New York. The gathering was also a chance for us to chart a bold direction for the future as we enter a new phase of our evolution. As we looked out across the faces of our firm, we saw that Dalberg today is a truly global community. With over 70 nationalities represented, our staff collectively speak over 50 languages and work across our 13 offices located in 10 countries on 4 continents.

A platform of mission-driven businesses

The Dalberg family that gathered in Cape Town included Dalberg Global Development Advisors, our strategy consulting business; D. Capital Partners, which mobilizes and deploys investment capital for positive social impact; and Dalberg Research, which provides intelligence and analytics in emerging and frontier markets. Also present were members of the Global Development Incubator, which Dalberg founded then spun off as an independent non-profit organization to launch and support innovative social ventures. With three businesses in the Dalberg Group structure, and an independent non-profit incubator operating separately, we saw clearly that Dalberg now brings a truly unique offering to the global marketplace. Dalberg flexibly provides clients with research, strategy, investment, and incubation services that are tailored to their needs, preferences, and priorities.

New leadership

Yana Kakar and James Mwangi

Yana Kakar and James Mwangi

This exciting growth and evolution presents us with an imperative. We recognize that such a significant and innovative enterprise will require careful stewardship and coordination. First, the core consulting firm of Dalberg Global Development Advisors will need continued strong and dedicated leadership to not only sustain our growth, but to accelerate and deepen our impact. Similarly, the other entities of the Dalberg Group will need a more deliberate structure to support their growth and integrate their contributions seamlessly into the broader vision of Dalberg as a platform for positive social change. To accomplish these complementary objectives, the partnership elected Yana to take the helm as Global Managing Partner of Dalberg Global Development Advisors, bringing new energy and vision to our strategy consulting business. James will now serve as Executive Director of the Dalberg Group, applying his experience to create a unique ecosystem of enterprises. Both of us will also continue to serve clients and engage as full partners within Dalberg Global Development Advisors, continuing the tradition of all of Dalberg’s leaders remaining active practitioners within their chosen discipline.

Continued collaboration for a more inclusive and sustainable world

Last week’s retreat left all of us at Dalberg – and the two of us in particular – tremendously energized and excited about this next phase of Dalberg’s journey. As we assume our respective new roles, we rededicate ourselves to Dalberg’s mission and to its people. We have a remarkable community of young global thinkers and innovators at Dalberg whom we are proud to lead. We invite each and every one of you to reach out to us, and we look forward to continuing our journey with you as we work together towards a more inclusive and sustainable world.

Yana and James signatures



Yana Watson Kakar            James Mwangi

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Metrics 3.0: A New Vision for Shared Metrics

A new series on the Skoll World Forum looks at how to integrate impact, financial, and operational metrics, and to shift towards evaluations that are targeted, actionable, and broadly useful to serve collective learning.

The development community has made great strides in standardizing the measurement of organizations’ impact and holding organizations accountable to their data.

But what is the next level of metrics?

How can actors from NGOs to foundations push for impact metrics that can inform both day-to-day decision making and long-term strategic planning?

Dalberg’s CJ Fonzi explored these issues with Mike McCreless of Root Capital, Genevieve Edens of ANDE, and Saurabh Lall of ANDE in a recent Stanford Social Innovation review piece titled “Metrics 3.0: A New Vision for Shared Metrics.”

The authors argue that within the next three years, the social sector should work towards “metrics 3.0,” a system that goes beyond accountability and standardization to focus on value creation. Within this system, impact metrics will drive business value and impact at the organizational level.

To expand on Dalberg, Root Capital, and ANDE’s “metrics 3.0” thinking, a recent Skoll World Forum series offered responses from leading thinkers across the social sector, including McCreless, Darin Kingston of D.Light, Tom Adams of Acumen, and David Bonbright of Keystone.

They explore topics from the utility of feedback data to why metrics must lead to action, and how to  pool effort and technical capacity to design collaborative research.

You can check out the full series here.

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D. Talk – Addressing ‘Unfinished Business’ with the Sustainable Development Goals

By Monica Dey

The MDGs will expire in 2015. Photo credit: the United Nations Information Center

In 2000, leaders from around the world came to an agreement on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – eight ambitious goals, from halving extreme poverty to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. Since then, the MDGs have spurred cross-disciplinary debate and prompted significant action from the global development community. As 2015 – the MDGs’ expiration date – approaches, everyone from Bono to Bill Gates has weighed in on the goals’ success and provided input on what the next development agenda should include.

In 2012, international leaders convened an Open Working Group at the Rio+20 Conference to start creating a new set of goals, which will be integrated into the United Nations’ overall agenda and slated for achievement by 2030. So far, the Open Working Group has published a “zero draft” of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that would replace the Millennium Development Goals in September 2015.

Dalberg recently hosted former Dalberg Partner Daniella Ballou-Aares, who is now Senior Advisor for Development to the U.S. Secretary of State, for a D. Talk. Speaking to an audience in Dalberg’s Washington, D.C., office, Ballou-Aares offered insight into why the SDGs are being created, who’s involved, and what we can expect between now and September 2015. Below we give some context on the MDGs and SDGs, along with Ballou-Aares’ perspective on the transition.

First of all, why are the Sustainable Development Goals being created?

Global development experts from around the world have offered differing opinions on whether we have made significant progress towards the MDGs. While some are hesitant to attribute the world’s progress to the establishment of these eight goals, others believe that the goals have been a resounding success, we have already met the target of reducing extreme poverty rate by half, for example. Our Dalberg analysis in Devex found the MDGs were associated with significant upticks in progress in some areas.  Regardless of differing opinions on causality, most agree that the world has made true progress in addressing poverty since 2000.

Daniella speaking on the role of the private sector in shaping and achieving the post-2015 global development agenda. Photo credit: CSIS

Daniella Ballou-Aares speaking on the role of the private sector in the post-2015 global development agenda. Photo credit: CSIS

Some advancements are very promising – the economic growth rate in Africa now outpaces other continents – but, as Ballou-Aares noted, the work is not complete. “1.2 billion people still remain in extreme poverty,” said Ballou-Aares. “We have a lot of unfinished business with the Millennium Development Goals.”

The SDGs aim to address this “unfinished business.” Development leaders have reframed the SDGs’ central purpose around pursuit of the “triple bottom line”: social inclusion, economic development, and environmental sustainability. Leaders are taking a deeper look at how issues of extreme poverty, climate change, human rights, and socioeconomic inequality are intertwined— and the SDGs aim to tackle them in a holistic manner.

Who decides what to include in the SDGs?

The SDGs are optimistic and hopeful in nature, so shouldn’t it be easy for world leaders to agree on them? In fact, Ballou-Aares remarked that arriving at a consensus might not be as easy as outside observers might think. The 30-member Open Working Group has convened numerous sessions, each highlighting a different area of development, to come to consensus. Members of this group hail from nations around the world. While this makeup incorporates an important diversity of views on global development issues, it also inspires heated debate and thorough discussion.

The United Nations has made an effort to include opinions from citizens in every country through the My World Survey. In this survey, participants choose six issues – including education, gender equality, Internet access, and better healthcare – that are the most important to them. So far, participants from around the world have cast over three million votes. What’s most striking is the survey’s number of youth respondents: approximately 74% of survey respondents are under the age of 30. Ballou-Aares remarked that the United Nations knows that youth will be a huge force for change in the coming years – and the My World survey allows their voices to contribute to the global development agenda.

So, what comes next?

By the end of 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s high-level panel will prepare a synthesis report that incorporates opinions from many voices to create a unified vision for the next fifteen years of global development.

While the development community is excited to incorporate many voices into the next set of goals, Ballou-Aares noted that setting the agenda is just the beginning. “Yes, it is difficult coming to an agreement,” she commented, “but what’s even more difficult is creating real change.”

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The Companies Act Has Promise, But Will India Inc. Cash In?

By Gaurav Gupta
This post was originally published on NextBillion

There is much excitement here in India around the potential of the year-old CSR component of the 2013 Companies Act to deliver on social impact.

It’s the world’s first nationally-mandated CSR law and stipulates that 2 percent of corporations’ profits must be spent on CSR. However, the surge in CSR spending stemming from the new law will only be successful if execution looks markedly different from how CSR and philanthropic money has been spent in the past.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for increased CSR on sanitation in a recent Independence Day address

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for increased CSR spending on sanitation in a recent address. Photo: Global Panorama, Flickr

Two percent of profits is a sizeable number for any major business. For some of the larger corporations it represents over 100 crore (over $16,000,000 USD) of annual expenditure, and approximately 15,000 crore ($2.4 billion USD) for the economy as a whole, annually.

To put that in context, 15,000 crore is enough to provide clean solar lighting to all the 400 million people currently dependent on unsafe kerosene lanterns or candles, according to calculations from the work we’ve done in the sector. These funds can send 40 million children back to primary school, and keep them there for an entire year, based on Dalberg analysis. Hence, it is imperative that such funds are used wisely.

Sub-scale, Unsustainable, or Both

Most traditional CSR spending has suffered from either being sub-scale, or unsustainable, or both. Some of India’s largest corporations have compliance-based CSR programs that provide an unending drip of funding year-on-year, with no clear sense of what change that is really achieving on the ground. Consequently, instead of creating both social and economic value, many have simply created a culture of dependency between the community, the partner NGO, and the company.

With the new act in play, there will be increased management scrutiny especially given the level of financial outlay. The added accountability itself means that companies need to think about what they are getting from their investment. This is where the opportunity lies. Every company has a set of social issues, conspicuous or not, which play a strong role in its profitability and financial health. A successful CSR strategy can help address these. We see three core principles for the creation of an effective CSR approach.

Successful CSR Should:

About 8,000 Indian companies will fall under the new CSR law.

  • Focus on the company’s core competency
  • Promote the company’s broader strategic objectives
  • Connect CSR activities with the team’s passion

Core Competency

Most social initiatives, government led or not, suffer due to weak implementation. There are massive funds, at both the state and national level, to tackle nearly every major social challenge. Yet hundreds to thousands of crores lie unspent for want of execution capacity.

A recent study by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy revealed implementation gaps in the central government’s flagship social development schemes. In 2012, the unspent balance across these schemes was 24,519 crore (over $4 billion USD). Corporations have strong execution capacity, which is why it is critical that CSR activities be designed according to the core skill sets that a company can bring to bear.

In many cases these skills not only relate to the end product, but also are embedded within the processes of the company. For example, many food and beverage manufacturers are in reality highly efficient logistics and marketing companies. They can tap into existing knowledge and resources to help deliver medicines at minimal costs in hard-to-reach areas or create health awareness campaigns.

Similarly, Ashok Leyland, a truck manufacturing company, runs AIDS awareness and prevention programs in its factories in Hosur (Karnataka), for about 350,000 commercial vehicle drivers. The initiative stems from the company’s access to a high-risk group, existing training facilities, and its long-term stake in the health choices of the driver community. There remains significant opportunity for corporate India to leverage actual execution strengths in its approach to CSR.

Promote the Broader Objectives of the Company

Similarly, it is critical that corporations link CSR tightly to broader strategic aims. Social initiatives often change based on the personal passions of senior management or short-term pressures. Prioritizing issues to target on an abstract sense of need is the wrong place to start—need is everywhere. This limits social and business value creation.

A Starbucks - Carcafe C.A.F.E. Certified Sustainable Farm. Photo: William Murry, Flickr

A Starbucks – Carcafe C.A.F.E. Certified Sustainable Farm. Photo: William Murry, Flickr

Aligning CSR initiatives with broader strategic business objectives maintains long-term focus and effort. Starbucks, in its bid to both secure its supply chain and enhance its brand, launched the C.A.F.E. Movement. This initiative helped coffee farmers become more productive, self-sustaining, and improve skills. Several large-scale NGOs are now partnering with Starbucks to continue expanding this initiative. It’s a clear win-win for the business and farmers.

Novartis’ Arogya Parivar initiative in India, has similarly driven value by combining health education and low-cost sales force models to provide medicine to previously untapped markets. While it began as a social initiative, its success can help position the company to more profitably serve a large market at the base of the pyramid.

Tap Into Employee Passion

Beyond strong execution and a link to strategy, a connection with employee passion is a must. Palpable evidence of change—in even the most well designed and brilliantly executed initiatives—becomes visible only over an extended period of time. Shared passion can help sustain effort and provide an important emotional connection with employees. Many companies have been able to use the internal and external goodwill driven from social initiatives as a way of achieving either cultural change or winning the war for talent.

A 2013 global survey found that Indian employees place a premium on corporate social responsibility, and 51 percent of the employees surveyed believe that is important for them that their employers act responsibly towards the society. Both the Tata and the Mahindra groups continue to enjoy a significant premium in the marketplace with their reputation for ethically minded senior management and for being frontrunners among businesses that contribute to the social fabric of India.

The above are simple principles, yet these are often lost when companies have to either be reactive or respond to an influx of proposals from well-intentioned civil sector organizations. Doling out cash is the easier way out. To create tangible impact requires that company managers think of implementing CSR initiatives like they would think about a new line of business. This means starting with strong leadership alignment and commitment. It is time to move beyond compliance and use CSR to more effectively drive business and social value.

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