Showing posts with label NGO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NGO. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Little Social Venture Start-Ups That Could: Day 1

Every day, up to the end of the month, we’ll profile one group that proves that global impact can come in small, energetic packages to help communities around the world.

We’ll kick things off with a veritable engine of developing world research that is igniting scientific exploration among developing world scientists: Seedings Labs.

The Cambridge social enterprise collects laboratory equipment academic and private sector research labs in the U.S., sorts, refurbishes it when necessary, and ships it to scientists who have passed the Seeding Labs selection criteria. Under the leadership of Echoing Green fellow, Nina Dudnick, the group has grown from a student-run outfit at Harvard to an independent technology transfer powerhouse.

Their mission has multiple benefits in different flavors:
  • Greening Science: They are reducing the burden of having to discard surplus laboratory equipment by giving it second tour of duty in labs around the world.

  • Democratizing Research: They are creating a generation of scientists that are home-grown, spurring local and unique research pathways, and opening the science education for students.

  • Reversing the Brain Drain: It’s empowering scientists who would otherwise not go back to their countries after receiving advanced training in the West.

  • Sustaining Discovery and the Next Great Minds Behind Them: This is not your weekend lab garage sale. By mapping their database of emerging research with a real-time inventory system, they can optimize shipments to the best candidates for cutting edge research in far corners of the earth.

How YOU can HELP!
  • Back them with your checkbook. All our featured start-ups have real expenses behind their fantastic stories. Send Seedings Labs some Holiday cheer and when one of their scientists makes Nature, you’ll feel like your own private Wellcome Trust.

  • Sign up to volunteer: If you want to see the operation first hand, contact Seeding Labs for volunteer opportunities. Packing boxes full of PCR machines and flow cytometers will energize the geek inside you on a Saturday morning

  • Spread the Word: Do you work in a lab that has some extra lab equipment looking for a new home? Talk to your boss and show them how Seeding Labs can find a new home in an exotic location. Your corporate social responsibility committee will be the coolest kids in town.
More at Seedings Labs

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tranforming Global Health Recap Recap

The full notes of the TiE Transforming Global Health are now at LTDC Conferences and Lectures. It's much easier to set up a parallel system for lengthy posts than taking up a bunch of space on this one. So here's what you'll see in the expanded version:
  • Dr. Gerald Keusch, Associate Provost for Global Health, talking about new perspectives in tackling Global Health using innovation and political will.
  • MGH's Thomas Burke, MD sharing the wealth of initiatives housed under MGH's Center for Global Health and Disaster Response. Including a project that repurposes an automobile into an isolette for babies (my favorite).
  • Durable and locally manufacturable microfluidic diagnostic devices by the Klapperich Lab at BU.
  • Need to catch up on your C-section skills? Try a few dry runs on a mother-baby simulator by the SIM Group at CIMIT thanks to advanced tissue engineering and software.
  • Zebra Med: An online telemedical consult service that lets doctors volunteer their time and expertise in far away places in as little as 30 minutes at a time
  • A handful of microclinic business models to cover urban, periurban, and rural patients
  • A global pharma-sponsored set of research and aid programs to combat TB, malaria, and leprosy
  • Insightful discussion on the promise of leapfrogging technologies in global health, and attracting young innovators towards to the field.
The full panel included:
Gerald T Keusch, Associate Dean for Global Health, Boston University
Neil Ryder, PhD, Executive Director of Infectious Diseases, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
Thomas Burke, MD, Director, Center for Global Health and Disaster Response, MGH
Alexis Wallace, Executive Director, Medicine in Need
Vikram Sheel Kumar, MD, co-Founder, President and CEO, Dimagi

They were followed by a number of entrepreneurs active in the intersection of health, technology, and BOP opportunities.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

BusinessWeek features companies that make nice

I meant to write about this earlier. Catch the January 29, 2007 of BusinessWeek. The cover story features socially responsible practices and the companies that embraces them. Among them, Unilever (also featured in in FP here). Their Bangladesh operation sponsors a floating clinic appropriately called the Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital.

It's a great article on corporate social responsibility, doing business in the developing world, and making some money to boot. Read the full text here.

Interesting in the floating hospital? Click here and here.

Bonus points for those who've actually used Lifebuoy soap---very popular in Tegucigalpa. Full disclosure: Unilever is not a sponsor of LTDC. The naming rights to the blog is still open for bids.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Need for Wheelchairs

Recently, a friend emailed me and drew my attention to the pressing need for affordable easy-to-use wheelchairs. I'm including an excerpt of the email and leaving the names out for anonymity:

"One day I was in the office of N, the U.S.-trained engineer who
adapts and fits wheelchairs for the ISIC patients. A woman came in,
pleading with N for a wheelchair for her husband, who was about
to be discharged from the hospital. Her husband had received free
medical care, but there was no money to pay for a wheelchair.
Afterward I discussed the matter with N. Couldn't this man get
one of the very inexpensive wheelchairs that have been developed for
the third world, basically plastic lawn chairs with wheels? No, they
are not suitable, said N; they allow the patients to be pushed
around, but are impossible for a person to push by himself. Besides,
at $40, they are prohibitively expensive. So, I asked, how much would
a good wheelchair cost? Oh it's very expensive, about $120.
Nekram pointed out that the need is very great with thousands of
people in this man's position. But Vicky and I were impressed that so
little money and just a little encouragement could go a long way to
empower these patients."

Needless to say, I started poking around online .. and lo and behold, I discovered the Wheelchair foundation. This organization was started by Ken Behring in June 2000. Wheelchair foundation estimates that there is a need for 100 million wheelchairs, and their near term goal is to get 1 million wheelchairs to people in 5 years. A key observation that I made was that they are able to get a wheelchair that costs $1700 in the US, to someone in a developing country, for about $150. Read more about it here

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Practical Action

Found this on Thinkcycle (who knew people were still using Thinkcycle!?)

The website reads,
Practical Action was founded in 1966, as ITDG (the Intermediate Technology Development Group), by the radical economist Dr EF Schumacher to prove that his philosophy of 'Small is Beautiful' could bring real and sustainable improvements to people's lives.

They have lots of projects and technologies deployed. No medical devices that I can see, nevertheless, some interesting ones:
The most popular downloads last month:
1. Recycling of plastics
2. Dyeing textiles
3. Papermaking
4. Wind for electricity generation
5. Oil extraction
6. Solar distillation
7. Cashew nut processing
8. Packaging materials
9. Yoghurt
10. Hydraulic ram pumps

Check our their Gravity Ropeway (I heard IDEO had something to do with this)

The image

Two linked trolleys, on pulleys, run on separate 10mm diameter steel wires which are suspended from towers: as the full trolley comes down, pulled by the weight of its load, it pulls the empty one up, ready for the next load. The trolleys' progress is controlled by another, 8mm wire, looped over a flywheel. A wooden drum brake, with bearing and bracket, governs their speed.

Books: Rx for Survival and How to Change the World

A must read.

Rx for Survival profiles a series of health initiatives around the world, giving upstart social entrepreneurs and innovators opportunities to make a difference. David Bornstein, who previously wrote the story of Grameen Bank, has an excellent volume in How to Change the World. I particularly liked the story of Brazil's Fabio Rosa who introduced monophase electricity in rural areas, standing up against the powerful and centralized lobby of the national electric company who opposed his project.