To harness the energy of social entrepreneurs, we need to listen and find what works.
Fellows Retreat in Nairobi
Cross-posted from the Sanergy blog:
Sanergy co-founders David Auerbach and Ani Vallabhaneni are proud to be Echoing Green Fellows. Last week, thanks to the support of The Bertha Foundation and Echoing Green, nine social enterprises came together for a four-day retreat in Kenya. Since Echoing Green Fellows spend most of their time deep in the trenches of operational execution, this was a great chance to step back, reflect and recharge.
The Echoing Green companies in attendance included Sanergy, Mobius Motors, Shining Hope, Golden Baobab Prize, InVenture Fund, EGG Energy, Global Cycle Solutions, One Acre Fund and re:char. All are united in their work to solve a serious social challenge in Africa, but that’s where the similarities end. We’re all at different stages with different challenges and different successes. Odds are that somebody has gone through the same challenge that you are facing at the moment. Issues ranged from the operational—how to keep track of expenses—to the strategic—how to pitch potential supporters or put your best foot forward at exhausting and overwhelming conferences—to the very personal—how to strike a rewarding work-life balance.
We also found time to see up close the field work of Mobius Motors (taking a spin on the backstreets of Nairobi), Shining Hope School for Girls (hearing an impossibly cute performance of “I Try” by Eileen Fisher by a choir of girls) and Sanergy (joining our Hall of Fame photos of Fresh Life Toilet users).
We had one networking Happy Hour at Nairobi’s craft brewery—Brew Bistro, where our friends from ResponsAbility, Acumen Fund, Dalberg, Invested Development and others joined us to learn about the great work of the out-of-towners. We even made the society page of The Star—Kenya’s best newspaper!
And, finally, we couldn’t have all these folks come to Nairobi without a visit to the Baby Elephant Orphanage, maybe the second cutest place on Earth only behind Shining Hope’s schools!
Learn more about Sanergy's work building sustainable sanitation in urban slums here.
Twelve Echoing Green Fellows and WNYC Radio’s Jami Floyd, host of All Things Considered, discussed the intersection of race and tech, justice, healthcare, and employment.
To mark our 30th anniversary, we’re taking stock of lessons learned, how these insights inform our work, and ways we can contribute to social transformation over the next 30 years.