"My name is Gwendolene Mugodi and I am a writer and the founder of Paivapo Storytellers, a movement that aims to provide better access to local, good quality literature to the children in Zimbabwe--and eventually beyond. Our work would not be complete without the help of local artists like Abel Zvorufura who I met through the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. As two different artists we spent about a month and a half going back and forth on this book until we got to a place we were both happy with. I look forward to sharing that full book in a few months, but for now here's a little bit about Abel and why he does what he does."
Florian Schalliol ’14.5 is a Starr Fellow living in India working on GOOD/CORPS India.
As a social entrepreneur offering a product or service, there are two types of changes you can bring: a shift in availability and a change in mindsets. The former occurs when a new social innovation increases access to a certain product or ease with which a certain impact is achieved. In the last few decades alone, such changes have given financial credit to millions of the world’s nearly impoverished and provided foodstuffs to hundreds of millions of the truly impoverished.
The latter occurs not when an innovation increases the availability of a certain product or service, but instead when the innovation creates a new type of demand altogether. Such a shift occurs by changing entirely the mindsets of consumers — or really, of people altogether. This type of change is often much more meaningful, but also often much more difficult. Examples such as the civil rights, women’s rights, and LGTB rights movement often come to mind in this category.
I have often thought about this dichotomy in the past few months. This summer, the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian Parliament) voted into law the 2013 Company’s Bill, requiring about 8,000 companies in India to contribute a combined roughly $1.25 billion of their net profits on corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. But having spent months interviewing CSR managers and scouring India for experts in CSR, it became clear that there are few people who are deeply knowledgeable or even passionate about CSR. In CSR in India, the availability shift has occurred, but mindsets remain unchanged.
Changing mindsets is often the opportunity for the first mover, and this is the opportunity I have been working to seize. In the last few months, I have been working to construct a partnership between GOOD/CORPS, a creative shared value consultancy based in LA, and Samhita Social Ventures, an NGO database and CSR consultancy headquartered in Mumbai. With the creative experience and social sector outreach that GOOD/CORPS has through GOOD.is and GOOD magazine, and the deep local non-profit experience of Samhita, our partnership seeks to not only make more available advice on how to strategize, implement, and monitor corporate social impact programs, but also to make CSR an everyday consideration in business—to make people aware of the broader impact of their decisions and leverage this awareness as a tool for generosity, empathy, and development in the US, in India, and across the world.
In short, we seek not to just change products; we aspire to change mindsets—to make CSR not simply a term, an acronym, or a company’s separate department, but to make it an integrated, impactful, and natural way of life.
August 11, 2016
June 13, 2016
Lauren Maunus '19 is starting a bold new venture.
Its goal: To help eliminate food waste and bring healthy, affordable food to "food swamps" in Rhode Island and beyond.
March 15, 2016"If little girls like me were saying Barbie is the pretty one and the brown one is the ugly one, that's a problem."
Yelitsa Jean-Charles studies Illustration at RISD with a a concentration in Gender, Race & Sexuality. She identifies as a visual activist, and believes that artists have a responsibility as society’s image-makers. Her doll company and book series, Healthy Roots, combats internalized racism and colorism by getting to the root of the problem: altering beauty standards and cultviating self-love for young girls through education, diversity, and positive representation.
March 12, 2016An Excerpt
Mina is a Brown-RISD Social Innovation Fellow. She traveled to her home in Iran last summer and brought back a cultural souvenir: the book she wrote, Taste of Culture. She explores Iranian families, streets, stores and the stories and spirit embedded in the recipes of Iranian food. She hopes to start a conversation about the benefit of knowing cuisines of different cultures to connect societies.
This year's class of Brown-RISD Social Innovation Fellows have just begun their yearlong foray into the world of social entrepenuership. Check out their projects here.
December 16, 2015
Ria is a 2015 Social Innovation Fellow and co-founder of No Country for Women (NCFW), an internationally-recognized gender education initiative that aims to combat systemic gender-based discrimination in India. Ria and her co-founder, Shreena Thakore ’16, who grew up in India, were awarded the Projects for Peace fellowship and used this grant to launch the project in May of 2014. NCFW was set up to educate the people in India on gender, rape culture, and misogyny through a series of workshops and initiate informed discussions about social change.
I was inspired by Ria’s story because she was determined to start a conversation about an issue in a country that fights hard to keep such issues silent and hidden. We reflected on Ria’s experiences, her interactions with young people, most of whom had never thought about this obvious form of discrimination before, and her moments of self-doubt and extreme conviction.
October 2, 2015