Please click below and then watch this short video.
So, how has the fund invested in girls?
Women for Women International (WFW) —Economic Opportunity Center in Bosnia: This project is one of six that comprise the fund. Its work is congruent with the chain of ideas presented above in the short "girl effect" video. The organization operates on a simple premise: Female well–being is the barometer of a society. If the girls fare well, the society will fare well. Founder Zainab Salbi has developed an interesting education model that moves conflict-zone women from victim to survivor, and then on to active citizen. Individual capability is built. Sustainable income generation is part of the active citizen goal, and microfinance has proven to be a great way for WFW to extend the education offering so far.
The next step is to create a safe space to convene, and to pursue multiple forms of economic opportunity. (Not everyone is cut out to be an informal economy entrepreneur and microfinance client.) Economic Opportunity Centers will be tried in Bosnia and Kosovo first, and then expanded throughout the nine-country WFW system.
This emphasis on physical space is similar to what Paul Farmer and Jim Kim are piloting in Rwanda with the "innovation center" part of their work…
What about Paul Farmer?
Partners in Health —Global Health Delivery: The comprehensive approach to global health for the sick poor described in Tracy Kidder's book Mountains Beyond Mountains, was the dream of Paul Farmer and Jim Kim. Returning from a successful stint at the United Nation's World Health Organization, Kim has reunited with Farmer (and Harvard Business School's Michael Porter) to mobilize several organizations that share their vision. They are master collaborators. The fund is investing in an effort that will: continue to hone their framework, create and implement a case-based educational curriculum, build a set of field innovation centers, and develop technology that will facilitate even more collaboration. These four categories address a problem that they call the "implementation bottleneck." The problem of simply not doing enough of what we already know how to do.
Paul Farmer and Jim Kim are the intellectual Godfathers of the Human Capabilities Fund. Their thinking on "chwal bataille" remains at the center of our approach. "Chwal bataille" is a Haitian Creole phrase that means battle horse, or Trojan horse. Women For Women's Zainab Salbi enters with a gender angle of approach. Farmer and Kim start with health care delivery. But both groups then turn to help with other problems that the sick-poor face. Problems articulated by their clients and patients. They analyze how the problems are interrelated, and how chains of value link together to help solve them. They integrate solutions into a larger context.
A one–stop shop. A mix of projects, offering broad geographic and thematic diversification. A good place to try out international giving, and learn some things about it.
GlobalGiving, in partnership with a group of experienced international investors and philanthropists, has created a professionally managed donation vehicle that is grounded in capabilities theory.
The Fund is aimed at expanding what international underdogs are actually able to do or be—their capability. And it makes it easy for "overdogs" to get involved.
How does the fund work?
We find projects that focus their work on the interrelated needs of the sick–poor.
We find motivated, collaborative leadership teams with rigorous financial models.
We donate our own money first, and then stay very close to it by setting and measuring progress towards milestones.
We attempt to fuel the projects with various forms of "intellectual capital."
We do the work for free, and are happy to share the fruits of our labor.
Which organizations round out the fund?
Root Capital —Catalyst Program: Root starts with a social investment fund that provides affordable credit and financial education to environmentally sustainable rural businesses. Founder Willy Foote talks about their breakthrough insight, "…small and growing businesses in remote rural outposts do not just create economic opportunities for sustainable production and trade. Rather, they are anchor institutions in the countryside that are often the focal points of local communities and represent an efficient distribution channel for the provision of essential goods and services, both public and private, to remote populations."
Of particular promise is their new "Root Catalyst" segment, that plans to connect additional services in a value chain approach. This maps back to Farmer and Kim once again, and a partnership with Harvard Business School's Michael Porter that emphasizes integrating delivery into context.
American University in Bulgaria —Leadership in the Balkans: The American University in Bulgaria provides an American style education to high potential students in the hope of developing regional leaders (Southeastern Europe and the former Soviet Union). Off–track to on–track to fast–track. President David Huwiler offered the following: "AUBG continues to receive consistently favorable treatment in the local media. By way of example, we had some initial concerns that the Kosovo declaration of independence might create conflict on campus. However, the situation in fact presented us with an opportunity to highlight the diversity of our campus and the bonds that develop here among various ethnic and religious groups. AUBG is a place where young people coming from two countries locked in conflict have learned to overcome and respect differences. The Kosovo students described the celebration of independence held in the residence hall—and attended by AUBG friends from around the world. The student government president, a Serb, described his experience with his Kosovar best friend and roommate. The two of them were featured on ‘Panorama,’ a popular show on Bulgarian National TV…"
Educating leaders is a key task in the building of an infrastructure in any historically troubled region. Regardless of what one thinks about overall U.S. performance during the last stretch, the higher education system remains universally acclaimed. AUBG is uniquely positioned to continue to build on that reputation.
The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative —Capabilities Framework: International development has a checkered past. For the most part, things have not worked out as drawn up on paper. But Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen has developed a framework with some real promise. John Hammock (former executive director of both ACCION and Oxfam) is leading a translation of the framework, from academic to lay language. John suggests that, "…the fundamental insight of the Human Development and Capability Approach is as simple as it is radical. It argues that the goal of human development is not limited to something set in advance by an authority. Individuals should have the freedom to make choices that matter to them. It places emphasis on what people value."
This framework needs to be accessible, understandable, and actionable. If so, then it may provide a sound theoretical underpinning that will help social entrepreneurs like Zainab Salbi and Paul Farmer sharpen their change models.
BCorporation —B Lab: Another infrastructure investment for the Human Capabilities Fund, B Lab aims at influencing the corporate world. Stanford classmates Jay Cohen–Gilbert, Bart Houlahan, and Andrew Kassoy have come together after an entrepreneurial journey as founders of AND 1 to launch B Lab.
Specifically, B Lab encourages for–profit firms to change their articles of incorporation to reflect multiple stakeholders. It then provides an official certification, and helps the firms market their new B Corporation orientation to potential customers that might find this way of doing business appealing. 'B' stands for beneficial (to the business, public and environment).