09/25/2012 03:57 pm ET

CGI Commitment: The Kopernik, Social Finance, Inc., Others Bring Technology To Developing Countries

This post is part of HuffPost's partnership with Clinton Global Initiative, which details commitments made at the annual meeting.

Clinton Global Initiative Commitment By: The Kopernik
Estimated Total Value: $40,000 over 2 years
Project Start: 10/1/2010
Geographic Scope: Timor-Leste; Kenya

In 2010, Kopernik, through its enhanced on-line technology marketplace, committed to disseminate appropriate Do-It-Yourself (DIY) technologies that can be constructed by people in developing countries using locally available materials. These technologies include a corn sheller and a biomass charcoal briquette process. In addition to disseminating the instructions for the construction of DIY technologies through the website, Kopernik also provides seed capital to purchase the necessary equipment and materials, and deploys fellows to project sites to train the local partners in the production of the technologies and creation of business opportunities around them.

Progress Updates: April 2012
In support of this commitment, Kopernik has disseminated three Do-It-Yourself technologies: its bio-sand filter, its corn sheller, and DIY charcoal. These DIY projects were crowd-funded through Kopernik's web platform and improved the lives of more than 200 people in Kenya and Timor-Leste.

Additionally, Kopernik, in partnership with Green TL, has installed 20 bio-sand filters and trained 20 local residents on how to construct this simple water filter. These residents then assembled the water filter for their respective households, providing clean water to 100 family members in the Oecusse district of Timor-Leste. Kopernik has also begun to train people in Kenya and Timor-Leste on the Do-It-Yourself charcoal-making method, which was originally developed by MIT's d-lab. Kopernik's local Kenyan partner, Sisari, trained nearly 20 women to develop charcoal using waste sugarcane, which was provided by another local Kenyan company. A Kopernik fellow further localized this method by utilizing locally available materials. Finally, Kopernik's local partner, FEEO, also disseminated a corn sheller making technique, thereby reducing the burden on women to shell corn.


Commitment By: Social Finance, Inc.
Partner(s): David Blood; Ronald M. Cohen; Michael E. Porter; Alexander Friedman; Luther M. Ragin; Sonal Shah; Social Finance Ltd.; The Pershing Square Foundation
Estimated Total Value: $110,000,000 over 2 years
Project Start: 9/1/2011
Geographic Scope: United States of America

In 2011, Social Finance committed to launching Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) in the United States. Social Finance connects the social sector with the capital markets. Its initial work is centered on the SIB, a public-private partnership organized to produce shared economic and social value. SIBs raise private capital to fund nonprofit programs that improve social outcomes and generate government savings, a portion of which is used to finance returns to investors. SIBs represent a new domestic impact investing opportunity, focusing explicitly on the bottom of the pyramid in the U.S. They also signify a new paradigm of public-private partnerships at the wake of the financial crisis, one that privatizes risk and socializes gains (as opposed to the reverse). Over the next two years, Social Finance commits to launch at least $100 million in SIBs to fund solutions at scale to intractable and costly social challenges.

Progress Updates: April 2012
The momentum for developing and launching Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) in the US continues to grow. On January 18, Massachusetts became the first state in the country to formally pursue social innovation financing mechanisms, such as Social Impact Bonds and "pay for success" contracts, as an approach to tackling some of its most challenging and complex social problems. Specifically, the Commonwealth issued two Requests for Response (RFRs) focused on the issues of chronic homelessness and juvenile justice.

In response, Social Finance proposed the development and launch of two Social Impact Bonds that would expand Massachusetts evidence-based prevention programs. Specifically, Social Finance proposed to issue a SIB to raise and manage $25-30 million in private investment capital over five years to alleviate chronic homelessness for approximately 400 adults. Social Finance also proposed to issue a SIB to raise and manage $20-30 million to support programs that reduce recidivism and improve education and employment outcomes for approximately 900 youth "aging-out" of the juvenile corrections and probation systems. On January 25, Governor Patrick submitted legislation as part of his FY2012 supplemental appropriations request to establish a Social Innovation Finance Trust Fund, providing the full faith and credit needed to secure "pay for success" contracts.

In addition to Massachusetts, Social Finance has seen interest among a growing number of government officials, nonprofit leaders, subject-matter experts, investors, and connectors in developing and launching Social Impact Bonds. Social Finance continues to explore opportunities and build initial government and nonprofit collaborations within the various communities. Additional areas for potential Social Impact Bond applications include reentry services for adult offenders, aging-in-place interventions for low-income seniors, and workforce development.


Commitment By: Kai Ricke, Ericsson, Delta Partners Group, Refugees United
Partner(s): MTN Group Limited, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Estimated Total Value: $4,600,000
Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kenya; Somalia; Sudan; Tanzania; Uganda; Egypt

By the end of 2011, Refugees United (RU), Delta Partners, and Ericsson commit to assisting 120,000 refugees in an effort to reconnect families separated by conflict. The success of this program lies in the strength of the partners -- Refugees United provides the content and program, UNHCR provides on-ground expertise and know-how, Delta Partners delivers strategy and operator access, MTN provides access, and Ericsson delivers the needed technology, expertise, operator interface and service integration to ensure that even the most information-deprived refugees have access to the reconnection platform.

As of April 2011, RU has signed up more than 20,000 refugees in search of missing family members and secured $3 million in funding. Building on a successful pilot in Uganda, RU will roll-out a new platform in three to five other countries in East Africa, enabling refugees to search for and connect with lost loved ones through mobile phone devices.

Progress Updates:
August 2012:
RU has signed up more than 150,000 refugees currently using the platform, and many families have been reunited across continents and within national borders. With a new focus of user activity and functionality, RU plans to help 1 million people onto the platform by 2014

April 2011
- The proof of concept pilot in Uganda was successfully finalized
- More than 20,000 refugees have signed up in search of missing family, becoming empowered to participate in the tracing process
- Refugees United has secured $3 million in funding to date
- The project design has been proven and is ready to be scaled. RU expects to see significant expansion in the remainder of 2011, accelerated by experience and by the addition of mobile and NGO partners.