Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New US Aid program to invest in science based social businesses

President Obama is rolling out some changes and new programs for US development aid. One of the new programs announced last week will invest in science and technology innovations that address the world's problems. The program is a sign that the government is willing to give some development responsibility to social business.

From Just Means, writer Harry Stevens introduces us to the US Aid program called "Development Innovation Ventures."

Last week the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the official launch of "Development Innovation Ventures," a new department devoted exclusively to fostering innovation in the delivery of global aid. The department, to which the acronym "DIV" has been applied, is part of President Barrack Obama's comprehensive scheme to encourage innovative approaches to improve the delivery of social services.

DIV, which will be led by Harvard Economist Michael Kremer, intends to seek out and invest in "high-risk, high-return projects" that offer inventive and scalable solutions to global social challenges. DIV has already chosen eight U.S.-based investees to receive between $99,000 and $230,000 of USAID's $21 billion budget. Among the investees are a mobile reporting platform for Afghanistan, a solar lighting framework for Uganda, and a rapid pregnancy-induced hypertension diagnosis test for Nepal developed at Johns Hopkins.

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