Chiara Savage Schwatz, a teenage changemaker, is working to raise money to help families in South Africa obtain Wonderbag slow cookers. These ingenious products require no energy! Families use them by bringing a pot of food up to a high temperature over a fire or stove and then by inserting the pot into the superinsulated bag to finish cooking, reducing the total energy required to cook the food.
This single tool helps reduce fuel consumption and indoor smoke. By reducing fuel, usually charcoal or wood, she is helping to reduce deforestation and to slow climate change. By reducing indoor smoke, she is improving the health of everyone inside the home, especially the women in children who tend to spend the most time there.
By using donations to make the devices free or affordable to low-income families, she is helping to address global poverty. When low-income families can spend less on fuel, more money is available for clean water, food and education.
So, the Wonderbag is one intervention that addresses three key problems: poverty, global health and climate change. Chiara is one powerful teenager!
Interview with Chiara Savage Schwartz, the Wonderbag Ambassador of Wonderbag/Wonderbag.org.
The following is the pre-interview with Chiara Savage Schwartz. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit
Revenue model: I have raised almost all of my funds by doing bake sales, selling all homemade treats at various grocery stores and sports events where I live. When I do bake sales, I generally make three batches of chocolate chip cookies, three batches of brownies and two batches of rice crispy treats per bakesale. My supplies have generally cost about 10% of my profits. By doing bake sales in my local community I have raised awareness about my cause and gotten friends and family involved to start fundraising efforts with me. My past few bake sales have been done with friends at my own high school and others, and I am hoping to expand to more friends and schools to collaborate with other kids who want to make positive change in the world.
Scale: Over the past two years I have sold over 7000 treats and raised over $11,000 by running bake sales and one online fundraiser. Since the beginning, the fundraising has been almost all individual, but it is now beginning to expand and people take interest in the cause, and this is awesome!
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
I work to address issues of inequality in the world. In particular, I am motivated to help girls get their educations. By raising funds to bring Wonderbags to families, especially families that cook over open fires, I am hopefully freeing up time spent gathering wood and cooking, so that girls can go to school, and so women can do money-generating work. This is not an issue with one simple solution, and it will take time, effort, and worldwide attention to work towards equal educational opportunities for everyone.
More about Wonderbag/Wonderbag.org:
Wonderbag works to economically empower women and girls around the world by addressing the critical daily challenges of time poverty, self-worth, and cleaner, healthier cooking. A Wonderbag is a non-electric slow cooker that reduces the amount of energy needed to cook by 30-80% and can save women 1,465 hours each year spent cooking and gathering fuel to cook. It is an eco-friendly and resourceful tool that is being activated in communities worldwide to help free up their time to obtain educations and seek better job opportunities.
Chiara Savage Schwartz’s bio:
Chiara Savage Schwartz has been fundraising to bring Wonderbags to communities in need since she was 11 years old and, with her family, was visiting two school programs in South Africa, the Kliptown Youth Program(KYP) and eSibonisweni Primary School. After consulting with program teachers and successfully testing 5 Wonderbags at KYP, Chiara raised the funds to bring 280 Wonderbags to the Kliptown Youth Program community in 2016 by doing bake sales in her local Marin County community. Returning to South Africa in 2018 after two more years of fundraising, Chiara brought 500 Wonderbags to the eSibonisweni Primary School families and hosted a Wonderfeast for 1200 people, where there was a full demonstration on the benefits of Wonderbag use and a community celebration. Chiara is motivated to help women and girls around the world, and work to make the world a more equitable place. Chiara is currently a high school freshman at Marin Academy, and an avid runner, soccer player, and skier. She adores baking and also loves art, in particular pen and ink drawing and ceramics.
With help from Producer Alicia Gettys, Zach Atherton, the star of the new web-based show Solution Time, hopes to bring comedy to solutions journalism. In other words, you might say he hopes to be a clean and solutions-oriented version of Jon Oliver.
Interview with Alicia Gettys, the Producer of Solution Time.
The following is the pre-interview with Alicia Gettys. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
Revenue model: Currently our funding has come from sponsorships. In the future, we will pursue ad revenue, sales from branded items, and memberships.
Scale: We have produced three episodes on Ending Veteran Homelessness, Food Waste, and the Cliff Effect.
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
Social problems are rampant and overwhelming. For the average citizen, it can be difficult to find good solutions that actually work (scalable, sustainable, impactful, etc.). Solution Time helps viewers better understand a social problem and provides them with tools to assist with solving the social problem.
More about Solution Time:
Our world has a lot of problems—homelessness, education inequality, drug abuse, prison reform, human trafficking, to name a few. Conversely, there are millions of eager and compassionate Americans waiting to provide help that simply don’t know where to start. Solution Time is a web series, hosted by comedian Zach Atherton and produced by Alicia Gettys, where they dive into social problems with vetted, time-tested solutions. Most importantly, they show how viewers can begin putting a real dent into social problems. Join us as we make today’s problems a thing of the past.
Solution Time: It’s Bad News for Bad News!™
Alicia Gettys’s bio:
Working in the non-profit sector for over 18 years, Alicia has observed that “Charities sometimes faileth.” Besides producing Solution Time, she is working as the Communications Director for the one of the leading Social Innovation Centers in the world. As a result, she can spot which charities and social ventures are doing good, better, or best. Alicia is committed to giving a voice to the leading solutions.
You chose Noah Gainsburg, the inspiring teen volunteer at joint-recipient Christi Greene’s St. Francis Neighborhood Center, as the Changemaker of the Month for January 2019.
Noah explained that the challenges of dyslexia helped him develop empathy that both motivates his volunteering and enables him to relate with a wide range of kids from diverse backgrounds.
Christi has led the Center, which supports the community in a variety of ways, for more than six years. She says, “Our mission is committed to ending generational poverty through education, inspiring self-esteem, self-improvement, and strengthening connections to the community. We are mostly known for youth development programs and resources for children and families living below the federal poverty line.”
You can read more about Noah and Christ here.
As the Changemaker of the Month for January, Noah and Christi will receive an autographed copy of Your Mark on the World and ten lifetime, all-access passes to GoodCrowd.school, the online school for changemakers. They also earn a spot in the competition for Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Year.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Social entrepreneurs can learn from the global effort to fight polio. In the first decade of this century, efforts to vanquish the disease once and for all stalled. With an injection of capital and insight from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative or GPEI launched an “end game strategy” near the middle of this decade, driving an acceleration of progress.
Rotary International first organized the global effort to fight polio in the mid-1980s. With help from the U.S. CDC, World Health Organization and UNICEF, the effort has become one of the biggest global public health initiatives in history. (Full disclosure: I have been hired to speak to Rotary audiences about polio eradication.)
The number of cases dropped from about 350,000 per year in the mid-1980s to fewer than 1,000 documented cases in 2001 but little progress was made over next ten years. In 2010, more than 1300 cases were documented. While tremendous ground had been gained from the mid-80s level of 350,000 to 400,000 cases per year, the numbers suggest little progress was made during that span.
Late in the decade, the Gates Foundation joined the GPEI, bringing much needed financial resources and a fresh perspective. By 2014, the GPEI had developed an “End Game Strategy” that implicitly recognized that what had gotten them below 1,000 cases once, wouldn’t get them to zero. More was needed. Since implementation in 2014, the number of cases has fallen more than 90%, from 505 in 2013 to 29 in 2018, bringing complete eradication within grasp.
Social entrepreneurs can take a lesson from this. Whatever impact they might seek, the activities that get them on the path and even to measurable progress may not be what is required to reach the goal.
The polio end game strategy included a significant increase in annual funding, expanded global collaboration and incorporation of new technology–a new vaccine.
Similarly, what is required for a social enterprise to go from one level of success to the next will likely require investment, collaboration and innovation.
Investment: If the profits from the business are sufficient, the investment could be internally generated, but it is more likely that success will require more outside capital.
Collaboration: As an organization grows, opportunities for collaboration will likely improve. As the GPEI gained traction in the fight to end polio globally, governments around the world engaged more thoughtfully. It has become clear that virtually no amount of effort absent the participation of government will allow for polio eradication where it is most deeply rooted. The need for collaboration may grow with the opportunity.
Innovation: The GPEI learned from the experience in India that a bivalent vaccine that protects against only two of the three known types of polio is more effective than the trivalent version that also protects against a strain that is known to be completely eradicated. The new bivalent vaccine is used around the world today. Social entrepreneurs may need to find similarly fundamental innovations to get them to their next level of success.
For the past four years, I have been saying this year will be the last that anyone gets polio—proving I’m not a prophet. Still, the progress has been dramatic and the lessons clear. What got us here won’t necessarily get us where we’re going. If you want to go farther, faster, then invest, collaborate and innovate.
Book Devin Thorpe to speak at your event.
Simo Elalj, based in Paris, wanted to help educate girls in his home country of Morocco. He found a way to have fun and impact at once, selling plastic toy goats to raise money for the nonprofit Education for All Morocco.
Khadija Id Ahmed Ouali, one of the girls educated, in part, by the proceeds from Simo’s program, joined us from Morocco for a conversation about the impact of the program on her life.
Be sure to watch the full interview in the video player at the top of this article.
Interview with Simo Elalj, the Founder of YouGoatMe.
The following is the pre-interview with Simo Elalj. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
For-profit/Nonprofit: Pending incorporation, using a for-profit entity to operate at the moment.
Revenue model: YouGoatMe raise funds for the charity Education for All Morocco by selling goat related merchandises and toys (mainly Gabi the Goat). Each purchase on the website empowers a girl in Morocco and provides her with 3 days of housing and education. We also offer a way to directly donate to the non-profit without having to purchase a product.
Scale: Gabi the Goat is our main product and aim to raise awareness about girls education in emerging countries. She got +2000 followers on the social media since its launch in October 2018. We sold +50 units of the toy in a month and expect to sell our first batch of 3000 units by the end of the year. As for the charity we partnered with (EFA Morocco), they have supported over 350 girls since 2008 (they started very small with only 10 girls). They have seen over 60 girls enrolling at University since 2013.
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
Very few girls from the rural communities of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco get the opportunity to continue their education beyond primary school.
Secondary schools, mostly several miles away in larger towns, are not accessible to these girls because:
– Their parents cannot afford to pay for transport or lodgings
– The journey to the secondary schools can be dangerous
– Their parents do not feel safe sending their daughters away from home to the existing facilities
This means that in these rural areas up to 83% of women are illiterate. So instead of these girls following their dreams of a better future they end up with a life spent at home. A life of domestic chores, early marriage and having children.
YouGoatMe was founded to help give these girls the education they deserve.
I wanted to find a way to drive the attention from the entertainment/silliness to raise awareness (and funds) for girls’ education in rural areas in Morocco. Gabi the Goat is our friendly character that makes funny videos and is on a mission on doing social good. Each purchase of Gabi the Goat and its merchandise provide a girl with 3 days of housing and education.
There are benefits much broader than that, as each girl inspires changing attitudes amongst her sisters, families and the wider communities they come from which will change an entire generation.
Education for All Morocco: efamorocco.org
More about YouGoatMe:
YouGoatMe raise money for (and increase awareness of) the charity Education For All Morocco through goat merchandise and general silliness.
Gabi the Goat is its product hero, and is the ultimate squawking goat toy that offers endless hours of wacky fun and has a positive social impact. Each purchase you make empowers a girl in Morocco and provides her with 3 days of housing and education.
We’ve partnered with the non-profit Education For All Morocco to help build and run high-quality boarding houses near secondary schools. These boarding houses are provided free to girls aged 12-18 who wouldn’t usually be able to afford an education.
Simo Elalj’s bio:
Simo is the founder of YouGoatMe, a project that is helping provide girls in rural Morocco with a better education though goat silliness.
He emigrated from Morocco to France for his undergraduate and masters’ schooling, paid for from the profits of his first two websites. Simo completed his master’s degree in computer science as a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley.
Notably, he developed the website RefurbMe at the age of 16, which provides an easy way to shop and monitor Apple refurbished products (http://www.refurb.me/). RefurbMe is now facilitating +$3M yearly revenues for its merchants, help reduce worldwide electronic waste and provide him income to focus on social good ventures.
Simo is currently based between San Francisco and Paris and can be reached via https://www.linkedin.com/in/elalj/
No one has more fun doing good than Gwen Allen. She is constantly in motion, running her coffee shop and her growing entertainment and media business. In her heart, she’s all about doing good.
Interview with Gwen Allen, the Owner and Philanthropist of Irie Coffee Teas and Bobas.
The following is the pre-interview with Gwen Allen. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
For-profit/Nonprofit: We are working on our own Charity but we have been working with many Charity’s and letting them use our Restaurant and Our Social Media Platforms to help Raise Awareness and Funds.
Revenue model: We Do Our Own Social Media Advertising and Word of Mouth With Excellent Customer Service. We do accept Donations.
Scale: We started with nothing, no loans, no debt, and no help to now having a Recognized Name Brand and went from a 900 square foot Cafe to a full-fledged restaurant with 1,800 square feet in less than one year.
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
Community Isolation. We help bring the Community Together With a Common Purpose of trying to Change The World Through Sharing Information and Love.
More about Irie Coffee Teas and Bobas:
Gwen Allen’s bio:
I and my husband Own and Operate Gorrilla Mafia Entertainment US and International Productions also known as Gorrilla Mafia Media. We run a Production Company Where We Host Music, Charity, and More Events for Over 10 Years. I also have several shows under that called Tea Time With The Emprezz and Psychic Medium for S.T.O.N.E. Spirit Sessions. Me and My husband and family also Own and Operate Irie Coffee Teas and Bobas voted 2nd Best Coffee Shop in The Whole State of Utah. We also have a Cleaning Company Crossroads Cleaning Company. I am also a Ambassador, Presentor, and Journalist for Soul Central Magazine.
You can help choose the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the month for January 2019 right here. We have 9 great candidates for your consideration. You can read more about each candidate–and watch the interview with them–by clicking the link next to each name in the list below.
The winner will receive an autographed copy of my book, Your Mark on the World, along with ten lifetime passes to my GoodCrowd.School worth a total of $2,500. The winner will also be qualified for the 2019 Changemaker of the Year award, which will include a cash prize.
Be sure to scroll within the frame below to see all of the candidates. Voting ends Friday, January 25, at 5:00 PM MDT. Please note that employees of the Your Mark on the World Center and our sponsors, including CaringCrowd and Johnson & Johnson, are not eligible and so are not listed below.
Don’t vote in the comments below. Scroll in the box above or click here.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
While debates rage about what should be done about climate change, some social entrepreneurs are doing something about it. Among other things, they’re making it easy for 2019 to your first carbon neutral year.
Paul Hawken, the author of the 2017 environmental masterwork Drawdown, founded an organization of the same name, to track and monitor the top climate change interventions by effectiveness, cost and ancillary savings.
While Drawdown won’t provide you with a personal, step-by-step guide to personal carbon neutrality, it will give you a clear vision that smart people do have a reasonable plan for preventing the worst effects of climate change. Given that success seems possible, you may feel an even greater responsibility to do your part to go carbon neutral yourself.
One of the great lessons from Drawdown’s work is that many interventions have non-environmental benefits. Educating girls has a huge climate change impact—Drawdown ranks it as the sixth most impactful thing we can do to mitigate climate change—but it is an even more important intervention for the girls.
There are countless carbon footprint calculators available on the internet; here’s one. There seems to be some agreement that the average carbon footprint of a person living in the United States, the highest per capita emitter of carbon, is about 16 or 17 metric tons of carbon each year. (China, with its 1.3 billion people, now emits more carbon than the U.S. in aggregate)
Because I travel extensively on airplanes, my air travel contributes more carbon than my cars and home combined. Still, the calculator suggests my food consumption generates still more. The calculator did not ask about my diet so it does not appear to have considered the fact that I eat a vegan diet, which produces less than half as much carbon as a meat lover’s diet.
Use a calculator to help you see opportunities for reducing your carbon output.
Electric cars, some made by social entrepreneurs, don’t just have zero tailpipe emissions, they are three to four times as efficient as cars powered by gasoline. Even if your electric car is powered in part by coal-fired electricity, it is driving much less carbon than a similar car with an internal combustion engine. With the adoption of renewable energy outpacing the adoption of electric cars in the U.S., one could argue that most of the electricity for automobiles is coming from the increase in renewable energy. Of course, if you put solar panels on the roof of your house to power your car, then 100% of the energy for your car is clean.
My Leaf requires only about 100 kWh per month, about $10 worth of energy from Rocky Mountain Power, for me to drive the 400 or so miles I cover each month. While much has been made of Tesla’s Model 3 being nominally priced around $35,000, the untold story is that used electric cars from Fiat, Nissan and Smart are readily available in the U.S. for well under $10,000. (Full disclosure: I own 60 shares of Tesla.)
Even if you do better than I at reducing your carbon footprint, eliminating air travel, walking more and eating only food grown on organic, regenerative farms, chances are you won’t be able to bring your carbon footprint to zero. “So, how do I get to carbon neutral?” you ask.
The answer is simple and surprisingly affordable. There are lots of ways to buy carbon offsets but my favorite is with the crowdfunding site Cool Effect, founded by Richard and Dee Lawrence. All the projects on the site have a triple-audited carbon reduction impact that you can purchase for prices as low as $5.27 per ton. The average on the site is $9.41 per metric ton.
Virtually all the projects have other social impacts as well. For instance, the $5.27 per ton project provides biogas digestors and clean cookstoves to low-income people in China. This provides economic and health benefits directly to people who need them while reducing carbon output for all.
As the years roll forward, I expect it will quickly become even easier to reduce our personal carbon output but it will never be easier than it is today to be carbon neutral. For just $155.27, that is, $9.41 per ton times 16.5 tons per year, you can do your part.
If you cut your emissions to 50% of average and buy the cheapest offsets at $5.27 per ton, you could conceivably offset your carbon output for just $43.48 per year. You can also subscribe to a monthly purchase, making it feel more affordable.
There are some people on the edge of economic survival for whom $155.27 is an impossible amount. If you are able, consider buying extra offsets for someone who can’t afford to do so.
While the debates continue to rage, you can act. You can do your part. Thanks in part to social entrepreneurs, today and going forward, we have no excuse for not being carbon neutral.
Sara Jones is perhaps the most American-sounding name one can imagine. She is as American as her name sounds. Raised in the United States by her adoptive white family, she admits that because of her Korean heritage she has been accused of being a banana–yellow on the outside but white on the inside.
Last year began, however, with an itch to find her biological family. Knowing little more than that she had been adopted from Korea, she began her search. The one other clue she had was a faint scar from having a tattoo removed from her arm when she came to the U.S. Recreating the tattoo with a marker, she shared photos of her arm with the markings on social media.
Much faster than she anticipated, she connected with her brother, who has the same tattoo on his arm. She learned that her father had given her up for adoption after her mother left. He had tattooed himself and the three children with the same, simple tattoo: cross with four dots underneath the cross, representing a father and three children.
The experience of connecting with her biological family has provided her with a whole new perspective on life, one the recognizes the reality of a completely different path her life might taken.
Be sure to watch the full interview with Sara in the video player above to learn more about how this experience has changed her.
Interview with Sara Jones, the President of InclusionPro.
The following is the pre-interview with Sara Jones. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
We’ll be discussing her experiences as a Korean adoptee, raised in Utah. I met my Korean birth family for the first time in October – after 42 years. with Sara Jones.
It really was miraculous how my Korean family and I found each other. I’m grateful to my birth father for giving me a unique tattoo that I could use later in life to find my family.
What is your take on adoption?
I’ve reflected a lot on what this journey has meant for me personally. It won’t be the same for all Korean adoptees.
Television Report: Miracle of the Yoon Tattoo: https://youtu.be/WVAvDlXAOB4
More about InclusionPro:
InclusionPro™ helps CEOs and companies build and execute diversity and inclusion strategy. With its Inclusion Growth™ Framework, we use best practices for real impact.
Sara Jones’s bio:
Sara Jones is President of InclusionPro™, where she consults executive teams on diversity and inclusion – how to attract, grow and retain diverse and winning teams through her Inclusion Growth™ Framework strategies. As a consultant, she has keynoted or trained over 30 groups on leadership, high performing teams, talent strategies, and career skills. Sara has almost 20 years of experience within companies leading operational, partnership, fundraising and legal strategies. She was CEO of ApplicantPro, an HR SaaS company providing recruiting tools to over 3000 clients, with a strong female workforce. She was VP of Strategic Development at Patent Law Works, an IP firm based in Silicon Valley. She was head of business development at School Improvement Network, an ed tech SaaS company. She started her career as a patent attorney, where she led diversity efforts and became a partner at Workman Nydegger, having worked on over 400 patents, mostly in the software arts. Ms. Jones has a law degree from BYU and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Utah.
In 2007, she co-founded and is COO of Women Tech Council, a non-profit with a community of 10,000 women and men nationwide. Over the past 11 years, Women Tech Council has recognized over 200 women tech leaders, mentored over 2,000 college women in STEM, and activated over 12,000 high school girls through its SheTech program.
Samyr Qureshi, the co-founder and CEO of Knack, is scaling up the tutoring platform to serve more students. Knack helps schools to match students who have recently completed a course successfully with students who are taking the course to get the help they need to learn the material. Both students benefit from the experience and schools find this to be an affordable way to improve student outcomes.
Interview with Samyr Qureshi, the Co-Founder & CEO of Knack.
The following is the pre-interview with Samyr Qureshi. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
Revenue model: License/platform fee charged to universities + service fee on sessions
Scale: 8 full-time employees, 4,000+ tutors on the platform
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
Access and coverage of academic support services on college campuses. We leverage high-achieving students on-campus as peer leaders to fill in the gaps and offer those services on a one-on-one and group basis both on-campus and online.
More about Knack:
Knack’s student and admin-friendly platforms increase coverage and accessibility of academic support services by on-boarding high achieving students to become campus peer leaders and offer appointment-based student support services on-campus (peer tutoring, mentoring, coaching, etc.). What’s really interesting is our focus on up-skilling students to be successful not just in the classroom, but also in the workplace. We do this by marrying the tutoring/mentoring with our Corporate Partners ––companies like PwC will support the Knack program on our partnered campuses by sponsoring student services within certain disciplines (e.g. accounting tutoring), further reducing the cost for the university and its student body.
Samyr Qureshi’s bio:
Samyr Qureshi is the Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Knack, the fastest growing peer learning platform on college campuses. Knack’s mission is to help students discover and deliver their knack – giving them the best platform to build, sharpen, and showcase their skills to their peers and future employers. Previously, Samyr worked as an Account Executive in the Emerging Technology division at Gartner and also formerly served as a Product Advisor at Apple.
Samyr was born in Abu Dhabi, UAE and immigrated to the US with his mother and sister at the age of seven. Landing in Florida, Samyr grew up in the Clearwater area and earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida. He graduated with honors in 2014 with a degree in Law & Criminology. Samyr has been featured on Inc.com as a Top 30 Entrepreneur to Watch in 2017, is apart of the Thiel Network, and is a K50 Fellow through the Kairos Society.
Samyr currently resides in Tampa, Florida where Knack is headquartered. When he’s not traveling, he enjoys playing guitar, listening to live music, and spending time outdoors with his dog Koda.