BY Lisa Lindblad
October 15, 2009
Jacqueline Novogratz’s superb book on her journey towards the creation of the Acumen Fund, her groundbreaking business that helps build social institutions for the poorest of the poor, is a must read. Not only is it well-written but it also provides a clear and thought-provoking template on how to approach development work. Over the course of 25 years, Novogratz has worked in some of the most challenging regions of Africa and India, learning invaluable lessons along the way that speak both to the heart and to the head. The result has been the Acumen Fund which, together with other for-profit and non-profit organizations, invests in businesses that invest in people. One of the most visible successes has been their investment in the development of mosquito repellent impregnated nets which, having been distributed gratis by WHO to mothers and young children, are now being purchased in marketplaces across Africa. Not only do they propose that development can be good business, but they insist that those who need the help also need to be an invested part of the process.