Featured Stories
  • A SHOWCASE OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS DRIVING TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE ACROSS AFRICA Date: 3rd April 2012  In 2011, Nikki and Rob Wilson embarked on a journey of a lifetime from Cape Town to Cairo. No ordinary adventure, the couple travelled through 11 countries with one key mission: to find exceptional social entrepreneurs who are transforming Africa. Having written a popular blog throughout...

    Book Launch Press Release

    A SHOWCASE OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS DRIVING TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE ACROSS AFRICA Date: 3rd April 2012  In 2011, Nikki and Rob Wilson embarked on a journey of a lifetime from Cape Town to Cairo. No ordinary adventure, the couple travelled through 11 countries with one key mission: to find exceptional social entrepreneurs who are transforming Africa. Having written a popular blog throughout…

  • When you arrive at Basata, an eco-resort off the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba in Egypt, it’s a bit like walking into the movie The Beach just without the rainforest. Slap bang in the middle of nowhere, this perfect piece of paradise ticks all the boxes – crystal clear sea, pristine white beaches and sweeping mountain scenes. Over the last 30 years Basata has been a birthplace for change, all driven by its founder, Sherif el Ghamrawy.

    Living on a lettuce leaf in a garbage bin

    When you arrive at Basata, an eco-resort off the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba in Egypt, it’s a bit like walking into the movie The Beach just without the rainforest. Slap bang in the middle of nowhere, this perfect piece of paradise ticks all the boxes – crystal clear sea, pristine white beaches and sweeping mountain scenes. Over the last 30 years Basata has been a birthplace for change, all driven by its founder, Sherif el Ghamrawy.

  • YYoung people can solve society’s problems. And here’s the proof. In 2002 at age 18 Raghda El Ebrashi started a student crusade which has grown into Egypt’s first employment agency for the underprivileged. Alashanek Ya Balady for Sustainable Development (AYB-SD) now works with 1000 students across Egypt to provide training, coaching and employment opportunities to thousands of people a year.

    A student army gets Egypt to work

    YYoung people can solve society’s problems. And here’s the proof. In 2002 at age 18 Raghda El Ebrashi started a student crusade which has grown into Egypt’s first employment agency for the underprivileged. Alashanek Ya Balady for Sustainable Development (AYB-SD) now works with 1000 students across Egypt to provide training, coaching and employment opportunities to thousands of people a year.

  • How does a surviving child soldier from South Sudan come to count Alicia Keys amongst his friends?  No, this isn’t another story of a celebrity ambassador adopting a child in need. This is the story of Emmanuel Jal, an extraordinary international rap star who, unlike his counterparts, uses music for a moral purpose. Against all the odds, Emmanuel survived a traumatic childhood and now uses his talent to put right the wrongs in his own past and to change the future for other young people.

    War child turned international rap super star

    How does a surviving child soldier from South Sudan come to count Alicia Keys amongst his friends? No, this isn’t another story of a celebrity ambassador adopting a child in need. This is the story of Emmanuel Jal, an extraordinary international rap star who, unlike his counterparts, uses music for a moral purpose. Against all the odds, Emmanuel survived a traumatic childhood and now uses his talent to put right the wrongs in his own past and to change the future for other young people.

  • From earthquakes to uprisings, you name it; the last twelve months have been witness to them all. And when a disaster strikes, what one thing does everyone look for? Information. If you’re in the thick of it, you need to know what to do, where to run and how to hide. If you find yourself in such a crisis without the information you need, here’s a top tip. Go online and download Ushahidi.

    Software can save the world

    From earthquakes to uprisings, you name it; the last twelve months have been witness to them all. And when a disaster strikes, what one thing does everyone look for? Information. If you’re in the thick of it, you need to know what to do, where to run and how to hide. If you find yourself in such a crisis without the information you need, here’s a top tip. Go online and download Ushahidi.

  • Many believe that food shortages like those currently faced by the people of Africa’s Eastern Horn are a vision of the years ahead. But imagine a future where Africa, instead of being a case study in suffering, had become a saviour in the frenzied battle for food security. Nick Moon, co-founder of KickStart, adamantly believes that African agriculture is an untapped resource in the fight to feed the world. “All that land, all that water and all that labour… there’s not a problem here, there’s a solution”.

    Africa can feed the world

    Many believe that food shortages like those currently faced by the people of Africa’s Eastern Horn are a vision of the years ahead. But imagine a future where Africa, instead of being a case study in suffering, had become a saviour in the frenzied battle for food security. Nick Moon, co-founder of KickStart, adamantly believes that African agriculture is an untapped resource in the fight to feed the world. “All that land, all that water and all that labour… there’s not a problem here, there’s a solution”.

  • In general going to the toilet whilst you’re travelling in Africa is not an experience you look forward to. To be totally frank, it’s so bad that invariably it makes you gag. But in Kenya, ask anyone for the nearest ‘Ikotoilet’ and all your dreams come true.  For just five shillings (3p) you get to do your business in a spick and span public loo. What’s more, once you’re done you can top up your phone, buy a cold coke or get your shoes shined.  The vision of David Kuria, this simple social business aims to challenge toilet taboos and make sanitation sexy.

    There is a toilet…which is changing the world

    In general going to the toilet whilst you’re travelling in Africa is not an experience you look forward to. To be totally frank, it’s so bad that invariably it makes you gag. But in Kenya, ask anyone for the nearest ‘Ikotoilet’ and all your dreams come true. For just five shillings (3p) you get to do your business in a spick and span public loo. What’s more, once you’re done you can top up your phone, buy a cold coke or get your shoes shined. The vision of David Kuria, this simple social business aims to challenge toilet taboos and make sanitation sexy.

  • What do you get when you cross a rebel attack in northern Uganda with three innocent young Americans carrying a cheap video camera bought off eBay? Three dead innocent young Americans no longer carrying a cheap video camera bought off eBay? Nope. This is not a story which follows normal rhyme and reason. What this sequence of events actually gave birth to was a hugely successful charity that has taken America by storm:  Invisible Children.

    A new war on terror

    What do you get when you cross a rebel attack in northern Uganda with three innocent young Americans carrying a cheap video camera bought off eBay? Three dead innocent young Americans no longer carrying a cheap video camera bought off eBay? Nope. This is not a story which follows normal rhyme and reason. What this sequence of events actually gave birth to was a hugely successful charity that has taken America by storm: Invisible Children.

  • On a gap year with a serious difference, Alexander McLean worked in a Ugandan Prison. Deeply disturbed yet hugely inspired, he went on to found an organisation which is redefining Africa’s approach to imprisonment. African Prisons Project (APP) ventures to where so many will not go. Based in Uganda but also working in Kenya, they are bringing education, healthcare, justice and rehabilitation to thousands of prisoners who would otherwise be ignored.

    Giving prisoners a break

    On a gap year with a serious difference, Alexander McLean worked in a Ugandan Prison. Deeply disturbed yet hugely inspired, he went on to found an organisation which is redefining Africa’s approach to imprisonment. African Prisons Project (APP) ventures to where so many will not go. Based in Uganda but also working in Kenya, they are bringing education, healthcare, justice and rehabilitation to thousands of prisoners who would otherwise be ignored.

  • When Mary Kayitesi Blewitt OBE returned to Rwanda in 1994, weeks after the end of the genocide, she found out that fifty of her family members were dead. “How did it feel?” we asked her. “You can’t explain to anyone. You just survive. You live. You exist. You’re there but there’s no words for it”, was her reply. Despite the enormity of her loss, Mary was able to look beyond her own tragedy and devoted herself to supporting the survivors of genocide.

    “Pain, pain, grief, pain”

    When Mary Kayitesi Blewitt OBE returned to Rwanda in 1994, weeks after the end of the genocide, she found out that fifty of her family members were dead. “How did it feel?” we asked her. “You can’t explain to anyone. You just survive. You live. You exist. You’re there but there’s no words for it”, was her reply. Despite the enormity of her loss, Mary was able to look beyond her own tragedy and devoted herself to supporting the survivors of genocide.

  • Yes, it is possible to make paper out of poo. Elephant poo to be exact. What’s even better is it’s possible to train and employ people living with disabilities to make this paper into crafty gifts, the income from which provides them with a decent wage. In fact, these elephant dung creations are just a fraction of the products and services pumped out by Neema Crafts in Tanzania. This social business has grown into a mini empire where, under one roof, every imaginable spin off project is pursued.

    Paper made out of poo

    Yes, it is possible to make paper out of poo. Elephant poo to be exact. What’s even better is it’s possible to train and employ people living with disabilities to make this paper into crafty gifts, the income from which provides them with a decent wage. In fact, these elephant dung creations are just a fraction of the products and services pumped out by Neema Crafts in Tanzania. This social business has grown into a mini empire where, under one roof, every imaginable spin off project is pursued.

  • If you met Paul Joynson-Hicks (or ‘Hicksy’ as his mates call him), you wouldn’t believe that he’s heir to the title of ‘the Fifth Viscount, Lord Brentford’! But don’t be fooled by this potentially pompous name. Paul lives by the sea in Tanzania, takes photos for a living and is rumored to only wear shirts with a floral design (we can testify to that!). Having founded several fascinating social ventures across Uganda and Tanzania, Paul is also a bit of a legend!

    Not all Viscounts live in Castles

    If you met Paul Joynson-Hicks (or ‘Hicksy’ as his mates call him), you wouldn’t believe that he’s heir to the title of ‘the Fifth Viscount, Lord Brentford’! But don’t be fooled by this potentially pompous name. Paul lives by the sea in Tanzania, takes photos for a living and is rumored to only wear shirts with a floral design (we can testify to that!). Having founded several fascinating social ventures across Uganda and Tanzania, Paul is also a bit of a legend!

  • “We don’t think outside the box in the NGO sector, we just piggyback on what works”, Rakesh told us. A Harvard research fellow, Rakesh Rajani is an intellectual mastermind who openly criticises commonplace approaches to development. “Lots of the official development stuff is crap, it’s not working”, he said candidly. Rakesh believes that real change comes when people stop looking to God, the government or the good-old international development community to solve all their problems, and start looking to themselves.

    Power to the People

    “We don’t think outside the box in the NGO sector, we just piggyback on what works”, Rakesh told us. A Harvard research fellow, Rakesh Rajani is an intellectual mastermind who openly criticises commonplace approaches to development. “Lots of the official development stuff is crap, it’s not working”, he said candidly. Rakesh believes that real change comes when people stop looking to God, the government or the good-old international development community to solve all their problems, and start looking to themselves.

  • At the bottom of the Uluguru mountains in Tanzania, a team of African Giant Pouched Rats are being trained how to sniff out landmines.  If your first thought is, like us, that blowing up rats can’t be right, then panic not. These creatures, fondly known as ‘HeroRATs’, are not being sent on a suicide mission. They just sniff out the explosives and then we humans do the detonation job. Who ever knew rats were that clever?

    Giant rats to the rescue

    At the bottom of the Uluguru mountains in Tanzania, a team of African Giant Pouched Rats are being trained how to sniff out landmines. If your first thought is, like us, that blowing up rats can’t be right, then panic not. These creatures, fondly known as ‘HeroRATs’, are not being sent on a suicide mission. They just sniff out the explosives and then we humans do the detonation job. Who ever knew rats were that clever?

  • Kitwe, a dusty industrial city in a region of North West Zambia known as ‘The Copper Belt’, isn’t much to look at.  At the end of a burnt out corridor in a half empty office block, Peter Sinkamba’s office is in keeping with its charmless surroundings.  If someone told you there was an internationally-acclaimed NGO working inside, you’d laugh out loud. But this set-up epitomised our experience of Peter – as one unlikely scenario unfolded, another would follow.

    Playboy Millionaire Turned Environmental Activist

    Kitwe, a dusty industrial city in a region of North West Zambia known as ‘The Copper Belt’, isn’t much to look at. At the end of a burnt out corridor in a half empty office block, Peter Sinkamba’s office is in keeping with its charmless surroundings. If someone told you there was an internationally-acclaimed NGO working inside, you’d laugh out loud. But this set-up epitomised our experience of Peter – as one unlikely scenario unfolded, another would follow.

  • Just imagine if the line you found yourself humming after every Coca-Cola advert was no longer “Always the real thing” but “Always saving lives”.  Coca-Cola’s shameless marketers might not get away with it, but thanks to the work of Simon and Jane Berry, this strap line is not as farfetched as it might seem. Born out of an idea dreamt up over 25 years ago, ColaLife is delivering medical aid to rural communities in Zambia by utilising the excess space in Coca-Cola’s crates.

    Coca-Cola Saves Lives

    Just imagine if the line you found yourself humming after every Coca-Cola advert was no longer “Always the real thing” but “Always saving lives”. Coca-Cola’s shameless marketers might not get away with it, but thanks to the work of Simon and Jane Berry, this strap line is not as farfetched as it might seem. Born out of an idea dreamt up over 25 years ago, ColaLife is delivering medical aid to rural communities in Zambia by utilising the excess space in Coca-Cola’s crates.

  • Kufunda Village sits on a rocky plot of family farmland just outside Harare, Zimbabwe’s bustling capital city. It could easily be mistaken for a collection of African mud huts, but look a little closer and you’ll see something out of the ordinary… a community of Zimbabweans brewing up herbal tinctures, growing organic veggies off arid land and planting trees in compost toilets. The brainchild of Marianne Knuth, Kufunda Village is a living demonstration of self-reliance. Together the community is learning how, instead of relying on others, they can rely on themselves.

    Much more than a backyard social experiment

    Kufunda Village sits on a rocky plot of family farmland just outside Harare, Zimbabwe’s bustling capital city. It could easily be mistaken for a collection of African mud huts, but look a little closer and you’ll see something out of the ordinary… a community of Zimbabweans brewing up herbal tinctures, growing organic veggies off arid land and planting trees in compost toilets. The brainchild of Marianne Knuth, Kufunda Village is a living demonstration of self-reliance. Together the community is learning how, instead of relying on others, they can rely on themselves.

  • “Betty you know I love what you do, but just get up and go”, said a government sympathiser who admired Betty's work, “They are finding a way to get rid of you”. After numerous arrests, this was the last warning for Betty Makoni from Mugabe's not-so-merry men. Her crime? Empowering a movement of girls across Zimbabwe to stand up for their rights and speak out against the injustice of abuse.

    Exiled for empowering the abused girls of Zimbabwe

    “Betty you know I love what you do, but just get up and go”, said a government sympathiser who admired Betty’s work, “They are finding a way to get rid of you”. After numerous arrests, this was the last warning for Betty Makoni from Mugabe’s not-so-merry men. Her crime? Empowering a movement of girls across Zimbabwe to stand up for their rights and speak out against the injustice of abuse.

  • “I can sell that,” were the first words of Trevor Field when he struck eyes on an ingenious water pump solution which he now uses to bring fresh water to thousands of communities across Africa. Never more animated than when his pitter-patter is in full swing, Trevor is a thoroughbred salesman who has proven that a sales mentality can accelerate social change.

    “I can sell that!”

    “I can sell that,” were the first words of Trevor Field when he struck eyes on an ingenious water pump solution which he now uses to bring fresh water to thousands of communities across Africa. Never more animated than when his pitter-patter is in full swing, Trevor is a thoroughbred salesman who has proven that a sales mentality can accelerate social change.

  • “NGO’s are easy to set up and hard to kill off. That’s the definition of a cockroach. You see so many of them doing the same old thing, it makes me want to vomit! God, would one of you think of a fresh approach for doing something?”. Meet Charles Maisel. As controversial as he is kind hearted, this is one man whose view point shakes up charity thinking.

    “F**k that was innovative!”

    “NGO’s are easy to set up and hard to kill off. That’s the definition of a cockroach. You see so many of them doing the same old thing, it makes me want to vomit! God, would one of you think of a fresh approach for doing something?”. Meet Charles Maisel. As controversial as he is kind hearted, this is one man whose view point shakes up charity thinking.

  • Take a first glance at this gaggle of teenagers stood round in a huddle on one of the most picturesque beaches in Cape Town and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a bunch of mates about to catch some after-school surf. But get closer and you’d see there’s a coach stood among them, raising his voice so he can be heard over the crashing wave break, he says “so tell me, how does it feel to be pushed around?”

    The evolution of HIV education: surf schools and mobile apps

    Take a first glance at this gaggle of teenagers stood round in a huddle on one of the most picturesque beaches in Cape Town and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a bunch of mates about to catch some after-school surf. But get closer and you’d see there’s a coach stood among them, raising his voice so he can be heard over the crashing wave break, he says “so tell me, how does it feel to be pushed around?”