In an ideal collaboration the International Sustainability Club (ISC) at the leading school for sustainable business, Presidio Graduate School, partnered with Zawadisha to analyze and provide insights for Kenyan women’s entrepreneurship in environmentally conscious products.
Zawadisha is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower, entrust and expand opportunities for women through micro-lending, preventative healthcare, and education. They accomplish this through funding micro loans which address the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) – such as water tanks, and solar lamps.
Allyn McAuley, a MBA Candidate at Presidio whose focus area is in the development of software solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social problems, explains the success factors of Zawadisha’s approach:
Zawadisha’s approach differs from many micro-finance organizations because their eco-product ideas come from the women that they serve (their members), not from the organization. In addition, Zawadisha works solely with women’s groups, as opposed to individuals, because groups provide the support and accountability necessary for successful lending and repayment of loans.
The ISC students assessed the financial, social and environmental impacts of the micro-loans, including the Grameen Foundation’s Progress out of Poverty Index. The information collected was used to visualize and identify opportunities within the network. Outcomes included storyboards (individual and organizational), money management training modules, as well as the incredible opportunity to share knowledge on how to address social and environmental issues from one set of business leaders to another.
I cannot help but feel a sense of hope that widespread solutions are within reach, if we continue to share expertise and work together to create worldwide change.
Have you participated in a micro-loan program? Where do you see the largest opportunities for business to solve social and environmental issues today? Are you involved in supporting those who are pursuing positive change? Please share links to other worthwhile projects below!
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