Poverty, social business and development are complex issues and there are many good ideas and initiatives happening around us. 

We will be posting different resources on this page for those interested in learning more and see what has helped us shape our thinking and actions.

Jacqueline Novogratz, of Acumen Fund,  on "patient capital" and the power of business to bring about development and opportunity for everyone.

“I believe that we have a chance to build a world in which all human beings can live with dignity, freedom and choice. It starts with imagining that world and then working together.”
— Jacqueline Novogratz


The two leading causes of death in children under five are diarrhea and pneumonia. While this information is shocking in itself, what’s more surprising is the remedy: hand washing with soap (HWWS). In developed countries we might take this for granted (or ignore it entirely), but washing your hands with soap helps keep you alive. The most recent study on the issue showed that HWWS can reduce diarrhoeal disease by 48% (Cairncross et al., 2010). A study in 2006 found that HWWS reduces the risk of respiratory infections by 23% (Rabie & Curtis, 2006). Furthermore, when mothers and birth attendants wash their hands with soap, there is a 40-44% reduction in neonatal mortality (Rhee et al., 2008).

HWWS also prevents trachoma and ascaris infection (Fung & Cairncross, 2009) and is an effective control measure in pandemics such as SARS (Fung & Cairncross, 2006) and Pandemic Flu (Jefferson et al., 2008). Furthermore, the World Bank recently found that promoting hygiene is the single most cost-effective means of preventing disease (Jamison et al., 2006).

So, if research clearly supports that HWWS is the best way to reduce childhood death and promoting it is cost-effective, why is this simple measure not practiced more? Is there not enough soap? No, there’s plenty of soap, and the people affected most by these health issues know how to use it, it’s just not used for hand washing. In the 90 percent of households in India, 94 percent of households in Kenya, and 50 percent of households in Ethiopia that have soap it is used for bathing, laundry, and washing dishes (Sidibe, 2014).

Because most hygiene behavior is learned at an early age, it’s not easy to change this behavior. That is one of Upward Venture’s goals. In the process of making soap, the women of Las Malvinas will also learn of its importance in health and hygiene maintenance, which they can then pass on to their children.

- Curtis, V. (n.d.). Keynote paper: From Semmelweis to global handwashing day: What’s the latest on hygiene promotion? [PDF document]. Retrieved from here 
- Greenland, K. (2011). Handwashing with soap: Why it works and how to do it [PDF document]. 
- Lifebuoy. (n.d.). Lifebuoy way of life: Towards universal handwashing with soap: Social mission report 2010-2012 [PDF document]. Retrieved from here
- Sidibe, M. (09/2014). The simple power of hand-washing [Video file]. Retrieved from here

- Cairncross, S., Hunt, C., Boisson, S., Bostoen, K., Curtis, V., Fung, I. C.-H., & Schmidt, W.-P.