Category Archives: Servant Leaders

iPhone app for Good the Give Work app by Samasource

Samasource and Crowdflower has given you another way to help people come out of poverty.  I downloaded the app a while back and am amazed at the forward thinking of people like Leila.  If you have a minute do simple tasks to give.  How does it work?

Samasource and Crowdflower present Give Work, their new iPhone application. Give Work lets you support refugees in Dadaab, Kenya—the world’s largest refugee site—in minutes by completing short, on-screen tasks. The refugees are training to complete these same tasks and, by volunteering to tag a video or trace a road, you will generate money to support their training as well as valuable data to help focus future training programs.  (

“We are witnessing a tremendous surge in human potential” (Leila Jara).

Hear Leila in her own words at TEDxSV


Leila Chirayath Janah of Samasource brings a fresh vision to outsourcing

Leila is the founder of Samasource a non profit social enterprise that is seeking to identify and promote small to medium outsourcing companies in Uganda, Kenya and India.  The idea is that Samasource utilize due diligence in screening smaller but deserving companies and give them a platform.  Samasource also seeks to work with organizations that can define a social benefit.

Visit the  Samasource web site and view how it works presentation.

Some overlapping information in the following videos but they are short.  I am impressed with Leila’s communication skills and her ability to convey what the organization is trying to accomplish.  Watch the videos and let me know what you think.

Interview with a young Social Entrepreneur Diana Mao of Nomi Network

fireshot-capture-2-nomi-network-www_nominetwork_orgThere are some things in this world that we try to hide from.  We just can’t seem to emotionally cope with certain realities.   Does that make them any less true?  Diana Mao is the type of person who can handle facing a harsh reality and instead of hiding her eyes she embraces those who are suffering.  She is weeping with those who weep.   Diana is seeking to harness the power of market forces to empower those who are survivors of sexual trafficking and slavery.  I know you were going to try to have  a good time today and now your thinking about something sad.  Well, you can be happy when you are a part of solutions.  In our own small part we can be a part of the solution.  I don’t know Diana all that well, but I can say one thing about her – she is joyful.  What’s not to be joyful about knowing that you are giving yourself fully to be a part of the solution to a horrific issue?  So I thank Diana for helping me to see more clearly what it means to be a human being.

The following is  a short interview with Diana Mao the founder of Nomi Network.

S E What would you like to share about your journey in establishing Nomi network.

D M The journey has been a amazing! I have met some of the most amazing people who truly believe that slavery can be eradicated in our generation! I am humbled by their efforts and excited that Nomi Network is a part of the solution. Although the journey has not been easy, my passion for God and the eradication of slavery has fueled my efforts and the late nights I spend working on the Nomi Network dream.

S E How did you decide to start Nomi network?

D M I have always had a heart for this issue but encountered it first hand where I conducted research for FINCA International and interviewed micro-finance clients who make less than $1 a day. During my visit to a remote village a father tried to offer me his daughter because he could not provide for his other children.  Desperation is the breeding ground for human trafficking. When I got back from Cambodia, I decided that I needed to take action. First, I started a “prayer for the nations” meeting, where I and other like-minded individuals prayed for Cambodia as well as other countries. Then, I decided that it was time to take action.  There was already a pool of individuals who were just as passionate as me to start Nomi Network.

S E What kinds of organization and people are you looking to partner with?

DM  1 – people who are passionate about ending human trafficking and who possess skills in marketing, product design, business development, finance and international development. 2 –  companies that aim to produce a line of slave free products – social enterprises that have the capacity and potential to produce high quality products and currently employ survivors or vulnerable women 3- non-profits that have the same vision of a world without slavery

new-picture1S E What would you like to share with other young visionaries considering taking a similar step?

D M Be ready to sacrifice – Try your best and God will do the rest – Do not take “no” for an answer – You might not see immediate results, but be faithful with your efforts and it will make a difference – Collaboration and information is necessary if we want to see systematic change – I read an article from a business school that said, “vision is what drives an organization”. You already have the hard part down: it’s the vision, so now it is just about taking action.

Interview with Drew Harding of Senai

I valued enterprise and organizations that produce valuable products before, but my three week trip to Ethiopia changed the way I look at business forever.  In the United States we talk about how we take things for granted.  Is it even possible for us to be conscious of all that we have?  Many in our country actually despise business owners.  Yes, there is greed and many other negative symptoms, but what do we have?  Going to another country and seeing needs that we are not used to seeing helps us begin to understand what we lack and what we have.  At the same time that there is a great need in Ethiopia there is also a great challenge and a great opportunity.   On returning from Ethiopia, I began looking for ways to connect back.  Through a friend I met Drew Harding ,the founder of Senai.  I was beside myself at how I could connect so quickly with Drew’s vision.  I look forward to you having the chance to learn more about the inspiring work of Senai.

The following is an interview with Drew the founder of Senai

SE  What was your favorite thing about growing up in Ethiopia?

DH  The people and the language:  there isn’t another country I have been to where the people are so radiant and hospitable.  They literally will give you their last meal if you come to visit them.  In America, we tend to  give if we have abundance, rather than giving/sharing as a part of who we are as individuals and families.  Being able to connect to the people in their native language of Amharic instantly creates friendships and breaks down any walls of communication.  This continues to draw me back to help the people of Ethiopia.

SE  Was there anything in particular that set you on the path of building Senai?

DH  Seeing the impact of water on the communities in Ethiopia from the time I was 5 years old had a huge impact on why I started Senai.  But being able to empower indigenous business, and provide safe water for communities really launched Senai, creating a non-profit that uses Social Enterprise to meet the needs of the poor.

SE  Where did the idea for Senai come from?

DH  The name came from the Amharic word “Senai” that means “charitable and blessed”  It also was  one of a few words that could be pronounce in the Western Hemisphere!  Senai was birthed out of a passion to empower people through creating and supporting economic engines to lift people out of poverty.  I have witnessed many forms of “aid”.  Empowering people to help themselves always proved to be the most sustainable, thus Senai focuses on being the impetus to creating sustainable economic growth.

SE  What kind of people and organizations are you looking to partner with?

DH  This is a great question.  One of the other reasons for creating Senai, was to not do things on our own, but through partnerships with other businesses and non-profits.  We are currently wanting to launch a Micro-Finance division of Senai, so I am looking for people interested in MFI’s and also people to help fund the creation of communities banks in developing countries.  I want to engage businessmen and businesses to partner with Senai to empower indigenous businesses in the developing world –  tracking their impact, creating sustainable change.
SE  Is there anything that you would want to share with others who are considering starting an organization or social enterprise?

DH  Start serving or volunteering where you are at, whether in school, work, or retirement.  Then as opportunities come up, connect with existing non-profits that need your expertise and help.  If a niche market develops for your own non-profit, go ahead and incorporate, but be ready for a long road of paperwork and fund raising!

For more information visit

Excerpt from Paul Polak’s book, Out of Poverty.

This book is full of life principles.  It is the best book I have read in a long time.

Out of Poverty teaches us to think simple. Paul Polak brings forward ideas and solutions that bypass government agencies and other leaden institutions. Ideas that work!

Ray Ng

Credit: Ray Ng

In this impassioned and iconoclastic book, entrepreneur, inventor and self-identified “troublemaker” Paul Polak tells why mainstream poverty eradication programs have fallen so sadly short and how he and his organization developed an alternative approach that has already succeeded in lifting 17 million people out of poverty. (Watch video of Paul on his 12 steps to Practical Problem Solving).

Drawing on his 25 years of experience, Polak explodes what he calls the “Three Great Poverty Eradication Myths”: that donations alone will end poverty, that national economic growth will end poverty, and that big business, operating as it does now, will end poverty. Polak shows that programs based on these ideas have utterly failed–in fact, in some areas where these approaches have been tried, such as sub-Saharan Africa, poverty rates have actually gone up.

These failed top-down efforts contrast sharply with the grassroots approach Polak and International Development Enterprises have championed: helping the dollar-a-day poor earn more money through their own efforts. Amazingly enough, unexploited market opportunities do exist for the desperately poor. Polak describes how he and others have identified these opportunities and have developed innovative, low-cost tools that have helped impoverished rural farmers use the market to improve their lives.

In Out of Poverty, Paul Polak shares a practical guide to problem solving that helped him address the root causes of poverty and can help us improve our lives. His book also offers specific advice for everyone who wants to end poverty, including development donors, multinational corporations, universities, agriculture and irrigation research institutions and concerned individuals worldwide who would like to join the movement to support innovative design solutions that enable prosperity.

Throughout Out of Poverty Polak tells fascinating and moving stories about the people he and IDE have helped, especially Krishna Bahadur Thapa, a Nepali farmer who went from barely surviving to earning $4,800 a year&*8211;solidly upper middle class by local standards. Out of Poverty offers a new and promising way to end world poverty, one that honors the entrepreneurial spirit of the poor themselves.
Stories Spawn Solutions

My fifteen-month-old grandson, Ethan, has fallen in love with a neighbor’s driveway. It sits two houses down from where he lives, and it seems to overflow with small, multicolored stones. He stops there when I take him for a walk, and then he refuses to leave. He picks up a handful of stones and inspects each one carefully. He places them one after another in my hand, watching intently, and I give them back to him one by one until his hand is full again.

I don’t know who has given him the job of turning every little stone over and over in his hand until he understands its very essence, but that’s the job he has accepted, and he’s not leaving until it’s done. I think I must have inherited a lot of genes from Ethan, because I operate just like he does. I live to play and to satisfy my curiosity.

For the past twenty-five years, two questions have kept my curiosity aroused: What makes poor people poor? And what can they do about their poverty? Because of these infernal questions, I’ve had thousands of conversations with one-acre farmers with dirt on their hands, and they have offered me more cups of steaming tea than my seventy-three-year-old kidneys can take. I have learned more talking with these poor farmers than from any other thing I have done in my life.

Out of Poverty tells their stories, describe some of the things they have taught me, and shows how what I learned has been put to work in straightforward strategies that millions of other poor people have used to end their poverty forever.

Each of the practical solutions to poverty I describe is obvious and direct. For example, since 800 million of the people whose families survive on less than a dollar a day earn their living from small farms, why not start by looking for ways they can make more money from farming? And since these farmers work for less than a dollar a day, why not look for ways they can take advantage of their remarkably low labor rates by growing high-value, labor-intensive cash crops and selling them at the time of year when these crops will fetch the highest prices?

I hate books about poverty that make you feel guilty, as well as dry, academic ones that put you to sleep. Working to alleviate poverty is a lively, exciting field capable of generating new hope and inspiration, not feelings of gloom and doom. Learning the truth about poverty generates disruptive innovations capable of enriching the lives of rich people even more than those of poor people.

My hope is that you will read Out of Poverty and come away energized and inspired. There is much to be done.

—From Out of Poverty by Paul Polak

Muhammad Yunus comments on current banking crisis

I just read and watched some very interesting and insightful comments from Muhammad Yunus.  I keep getting a couple of themes from what he has to say.  They are that broken system should be fixed and that you need to show people your solutions instead of arguing.  I remember one video I watched where he said that he had an idea and an opinion, but it didn’t help to argue.  It was better for him to show people through the evidence of his successes that his theories were correct.  This is his part of reinventing the system.  So the point he makes for responding to the current problems that we are facing is that we need to look to reinvent our system.  From his perspective that would be to not give into the government taking over and intervention, but rather to solve the problems through the market.  Government bail outs can provide a short term protection for a failed system.  The correction is not wrong it’s the system.  Greed won’t solve our problems.  I will try not to put to many words in his mouth go and watch the video for yourself.

Click the following link to read Business Week Article and watch video.

Some things to think about.  What are the systems that should be changed?  What gives the banks the security to make bad loans?  Who is accountable in our current systems?  Hopefully we will see the answers to these and many more questions in the days to come.

The following is an older video not on the topic of the current banking crisis, but you may find interesting.

60 Minutes – Entreperneur works for the people Mozambique

Gregg Carr is an American and a successful entrepreneur.  After developing voice mail he sold his shares for 200 million dollars.  Gregg then turned his attention to Gorongosa wildlife park in Mozambique, Africa.  Gorongosa is a 1,500 square mile park that is perfect for African wild life.  He is seeking to rebuild the park as a means to generate revenue in order to give the people the kinds of health care and schooling they need.

Watch the following to find out more…