Monday, October 26, 2009


Photo from Fugees Family website

Fugees Family came to my attention because it's founder, Luma Mufleh is receiving an award from Search For Common Ground, another non-profit engaged in making the world a better place. Coach Mufleh and her story - and the story of the Fugees Family can be found on the websites listed below. But here briefly is a short statement from the Fugees Family website that explains what it is doing.

FUGEES FAMILY, INC. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to working with child survivors of war. We build upon the power of soccer to galvanize these kids by giving them the support and structure they need to realize their vast potential. Five years ago, Coach Luma Mufleh started a Fugees team to provide refugee boys with free access to organized soccer. Since then, our programming has grown to include year-round soccer for 86 boys aged 10-18, after-school tutoring, a private academy, and an academic enrichment camp.

The Fugees Family provides a space for the kids to heal and meet others like them, from different countries, who have been through similar experiences. The players might begin by regarding one another with distrust or even hostility. By conducting drills with various players grouped together and enforcing an English-only policy at all times, the kids learn to cooperate. Africans and Asians, Northern and Southern Sudanese, Muslims and Christians, Sunni and Shia Muslims - they all play on the same team, finding their commonalities instead of focusing on their differences. Their bonds make them more secure in their own identity and more capable of acclimating to the mainstream.

The Fugees Family works to afford our kids equal access to the educational opportunities others in their age group have, helping them to acquire the social and academic skills necessary to succeed. Our goal is for the players to work hard and graduate from high school with a plan for college, technical school, or job training. We are committed to an approach that takes the whole individual into account: we are consistently involved in all areas of the kids' lives, we set high expectations on and off the field, we foster a familial atmosphere, and we have fun.




Thursday, October 22, 2009


Image from Play Soccer web site

The PLAY SOCCER grassroots community says that its program aims to make the world a better place for children and youth who master and enjoy playing soccer/football while learning health, physical and social development life skills.

Read More about it here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Photo from BiD Network web site
BiD Network has proudly announced that the Access to Clean Energy Challenge was launched on October 1st of 2009. The Access to Clean Energy Challenge is a business plan competition for entrepreneurs that deliver access to clean energy in developing countries, and is being organized by BiD Network with the support of E&Co, GVEP , Barclays, Jump up and FMO.

On its web site Bid Network gives ground rules for the competition:

“Clean energy comprises: wind, solar, biogas, hydro, liquefied petroleum gas, biomass and energy efficiency. Non-renewable energies are not excluded but the approaches to energy production, usage or financing should focus on established, affordable, reliable technologies that move communities up the energy ladder towards cleaner, more modern forms of energy.

“As with all the Challenges, participants submitting plans will receive feedback and support in the writing of their business plans. Winners will receive an actual investment and their business plans will be presented to more than 100 potential investors.”

In addition to the main competition, there is a “sub” competition which is only open for East African countries called: Access to Clean Energy Challenge East Africa. This Challenge is focused on the following countries: Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania & Uganda.

The BiD Network states that it is an “online marketplace for business in developing countries. It is an online community of thousands of entrepreneurs, experts and investors from all over the world with a common aim: to stimulate business opportunities in developing countries.”

The BiD Network:

1. Makes SME business plans visible

2. Links entrepreneurs to finance and expertise

Ambitions of the BiD Network Foundation:

Establish several decentralised national BiD Challenges in developing countries

Bring more entrepreneurs into the BiD Network (start-up and established businesses)

Engage hundreds of professionals from companies and NGOs as business coaches

Move from a ‘prizes-only format’ to one providing loans and investments

Develop an online investor-to-entrepreneur lending facility

What moves us

The Private sector is the backbone of any economy. It is of key importance for economic development and poverty reduction in developing countries. But two significant problems arise in this context:

The ‘deal- flow’ problem: over large geographical distances it is hard to find, identify and verify good business propositions in developing countries. Quality business plans are ‘hidden’ and so are entrepreneurs to implement them.

The ‘missing middle’ problem. There is a financing gap between $5.000 and $500.000 (where microfinance stops and commercial finance starts) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries.

Our mission is to tackle these two problems. We have created the BiD Network and the BiD Challenge to support SMEs in developing countries.

Our objective

To contribute to sustainable economic development by stimulating entrepreneurship in developing countries

We try to achieve this by

Stimulating small and medium sized entrepreneurship to create jobs and raise income in developing countries.

Engaging professionals, investors and organisations offering them the opportunity to directly contribute to poverty reduction through SME development in developing countries.

Inspiring people that business and poverty reduction can go hand-in hand.

What is the BiD Challenge?

The Business in Development (BiD) Challenge is the first international business plan competition for entrepreneurship and development. The BiD Challenge offers entrepreneurs worldwide the opportunity to develop and execute business plans that improve living standards in developing countries at a profit.

What can the BiD Challenge offer you?

Entrepreneurs: access to a worldwide platform to make your business plan visible; receive professional feedback and assistance from business coaches; get exposure to a network of investors, experts and business partners and a chance to win prize money.

Companies & NGOs: the opportunity to share the competence and expertise network of your organisation with thousands of entrepreneurs in developing countries. Engage your employees, invest in SMEs and get a network, market insight and possible return on investment.

Professionals: the opportunity to make a difference by sharing your business expertise with entrepreneurs as a coach, screener or jury member. Enjoy a wonderful experience, broaden your market insights and possibly get a stake in a change-making business.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

William Kamkwamba: 14 year-old Energy Innovator

William Kamkwamba, a 14 year-old Malawian secondary student won international fame and admiration for having self-built a windmill in Masitala, a small hamlet where he lived with his family. Building the windmill with materials obtained from a local junkyard, bicycle parts and blue gum trees, he was able to power the electrical appliances in his family's house.

William had to drop out of school because his family could not afford the tuition that amounted to about $80.00 U.S. After leaving school, he decided to build the windmill for his family. He taught himself how to
construct the energy device by looking at photographs and reading a book from the nearby library.
Picture frm

There are plenty of stories about William Kamkwamba on line and in the media but this video below from the TED Foundation is a good place to hear him tell his own story.