Filed under: Africa, Asia, Background, Blog, Cambodia, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Latin America, Malawi, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Rhode Island, Rwanda, Stanford, Thailand, Uganda, Uncategorized
Happy new year! Ten years ago this week the seed for the Barefoot MBA was planted. Though our updates to have been less frequent, our mission continues. As always, we welcome updates on how you’ve used or hope to use our materials.
Filed under: Africa, Asia, Background, Blog, Cambodia, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Latin America, Malawi, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Rhode Island, Rwanda, Thailand, Uganda
Five years ago this week we piloted the Barefoot MBA with villagers near Lamplaimat, Thailand. The world has seen plenty of progress since then: Five Nobel Peace Prize winners. Two new countries. The birth of the world’s seven billionth baby. The Barefoot MBA has seen plenty of progress since then too: eight published adaptations in five languages. Reaching every inhabited continent. A thriving tool, largely without our direct support. We can’t promise to become the next Nobel Laureates or reach all seven billion people in all 195 countries, but five years of progress in basic business education is a pretty good start.
The Barefoot MBA is a tool we created in 2007 to teach basic business to anyone, anywhere through a collection of modular, adaptable lessons. After a successful pilot that summer, we started spreading the Barefoot MBA. We continue to run it as a labor of love.
In five years, we’ve supported adaptations and implementations in nine countries: Cambodia, Guatemala, Kenya, Nicaragua, Philippines, Rwanda, Thailand, Uganda and the United States. In addition, we’ve heard about adaptations and implementations in India, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda. Adaptations are underway in at least three other countries. And that’s just what we know about. We regularly hear anecdotes of others spreading the word about, if not also using, our open-source tool. The nature of our work makes an exact number impossible to pinpoint, but we know we have reached several tens of thousands of people around the world.
We’ve presented to leaders in social entrepreneurship. We’ve been covered by local and national media. The founder of the Thai NGO that incubated our pilot even mentioned us in his TED talk (starting around 10:45).
Our social media efforts on Facebook (become a fan!) and Twitter (become a follower!) continue to expand our reach. Our blog-turned-website continues to get hits from every inhabited continent, and we continue to update it with anecdotes and adaptations.
We look forward to more progress in the next five years.
Filed under: Africa, Asia, Blog, Cambodia, Kenya, Latin America, Malawi, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Rhode Island, Rwanda, Thailand, Uganda
Four years ago this month we first piloted the Barefoot MBA. Since then we’ve expanded from 1 country to 12 (that we know of), 2 creators to countless partners and volunteers. We’ve reached people on every inhabited continent, including thousands of participants. Some of their stories are below; many don’t reach us. And we’re still serious about our lofty-sounding goal to reach anyone, anywhere.
So we begin our fifth year not with another recap of how far we’ve come but with a plea to you, our readers, for two things:
- Website redesign and relaunch: Our blog-turned-website was adequate in the Barefoot MBA’s infancy, but a well-designed, robust site could help expand our reach
- Adaptation and translation assistance: Our curriculum can go only as far as it’s understood, which for now means locations that can leverage existing adaptations. Spending a few days in local markets should generate enough information for a new adaptation, and fluency in local language means translation should take no more than a few hours
If you’d like to help, or know someone who might, please comment on this post or e-mail us at email@example.com.
We look forward to another productive year ahead!
Filed under: Africa, Asia, Blog, Cambodia, India, Kenya, Latin America, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Rhode Island, Thailand
This month marks the third anniversary of our first pilot — and an opportunity to summarize and share our progress in the last year:
- Completed adaptations: We’ve worked with partners in the Philippines and Rhode Island to adapt the Barefoot MBA and develop multi-day workshops. In both places, the Barefoot MBA has extended beyond the original training group: In the Philippines alone, it’s on track to exceed 3,000 recipients
- Adaptations in progress: We’re working with partners in Kenya, Nigeria, Nicaragua and India to adapt the Barefoot MBA to local specifications. In addition, a partner from our Philippines workshop hopes to run a similar training in Cambodia
- Expert advice: We regularly share advice and input for complementary work. This winter, our input was included in a Columbia Business School team’s report on mobile learning for Frogtek
- New partnerships: We are exploring partnerships in China, Rwanda and a U.S.-based organization that works on three continents. We are eager for new partnerships, especially in geographies we have not yet touched
- Press coverage: The Brown Daily Herald covered the Barefoot MBA’s partnership in Rhode Island. Echoing Green and a Brown newsletter profiled Katherine’s Barefoot MBA experience
- Videos: We’ve (finally!) posted videos that the Stanford GSB created when the Barefoot MBA was in its infancy
As always, that’s just what we know. Our social media efforts on Facebook (become a fan!) and Twitter have expanded our reach to new people and places. Our blog-turned-website continues to get hits from every inhabited continent, and we continue to hear second- and third-hand of others adapting the Barefoot MBA to their needs.
We look forward to another year of progress ahead — and, as always, to your continued support and feedback.
We caught up with one of our partners in the Philippines, the Global Initiative to adVance Entrepreneurship (GIVE), which shared progress there and in Cambodia.
In the Philippines, GIVE and the Inner City Development Corporation (ICDC), one of the participating organizations in last year’s train-the-trainers workshop, have set up an entrepreneurship center in Manila that provides, among other things, Barefoot MBA lessons. The center is set up as a co-op, with a membership cost of $20 payable via microloan. Of the borrowers, 40% are single mothers; the co-op provides child care.
Zeny, one of our participants in the Philippines, is leading the charge for ICDC, which so far has trained more than 1,700 borrowers with the Barefoot MBA. She has noticed increased savings rates among participants, and GIVE is helping to collect supporting data. Zeny recently traveled to France, where she met with donors and shared the benefits of the Barefoot MBA.
GIVE sees a need for a similar center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In addition to looking into making that a reality, it hopes to run a training this fall similar to what we ran in the Philippines last summer.
We are encouraged by our partners’ progress in the Philippines and Cambodia and look forward to more to come.
Filed under: Asia, Blog, Cambodia, Guatemala, India, Latin America, Philippines, Rhode Island, Thailand
Three years ago this week, the Barefoot MBA began as but an idea. Since then we’ve come a long way.
2009 in review:
- First U.S. adaptation, by the Capital Good Fund in Rhode Island, whose version is also the first “green” adaptation, supporting the growing concern for and awareness of environmental impact of human activities
- First independent adaptation, by a partner in India
- Adaptations and a train-the-trainers workshop in the Philippines that culminated in teaching villagers and laid groundwork for future Filipino adaptations
- Continued rollout at Thailand’s Population and Community Development Association, our original partner
- Partnership discussions with a range of organizations in the U.S. and abroad, including Frogtek (Latin America), Wokai (China) and the Grassroots Business Fund (Latin America, Africa, India, Southeast Asia)
- Increased awareness, of the Barefoot MBA specifically and social causes and the benefits of financial education broadly. Established organizations like Goldman Sachs and Deloitte recently introduced related initiatives, adding credibility to an emerging field
- Entrance into social media: Facebook (become a fan!) and Twitter
And in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, some for the Barefoot MBA:
- Expand to other countries and continents, notably Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East
- Solidify presence in existing geographies, including the United States
- Update our website (we’re trying! can you help?)
- Measure results of existing adaptations, especially in Thailand and the Philippines
Happy new year!