DRK Welcomes 7 New International Organizations to Our Portfolio
DRK is pleased to introduce you to seven incredible organizations that are new to the DRK portfolio. In concert with our many sourcing partners in Europe, Africa, and India, DRK continues to build out our international footprint in order to support leaders from all around the world. We hope you’ll take a moment to learn more about their important work, and to join DRK in supporting them in the months and years to come.
reNature supports farmers & corporates in the transition towards Regenerative Agriculture. The Sustainable Development Goals as well as the 2015 Paris Agreement both highlight that we need to improve the way we do agriculture. Emissions have to be reduced and carbon needs to be stored back in the ground, while biodiversity loss, desertification, and land degradation need to be halted. In light of a growing population that needs to be fed, the agricultural sector is under pressure to find ways of producing more food more sustainably. Many major organizations have committed to regenerative agriculture as a way to build a new supply chain.
reNature ensures that the smallholder farmers who are critical actors in the supply chain are part of the future of regenerative agriculture. reNature takes two approaches, working to train farmers on how to shift their practices, and working with corporations to build demand for food produced using regenerative practices.
So far, reNature is working with 7000 farmers, primarily in Latin America, Asia, and Africa with roughly 99,000 acres under management. Based in Amsterdam, reNature was founded by Marco de Boer and Felipe Villela, entrepreneurs with strong farming and communications backgrounds. We see strong potential for reNature to shape the future of regenerative agriculture equitably, including smallholder farmers, and ensuring it is the default for major corporations. Learn more about reNature.
Be Girl works for a world where all girls can understand, manage, and love their bodies through menstrual education, premium products, and positive messaging for a stigma-free world. Globally, there are two billion women and girls of menstruating age. Yet in many countries, and especially in rural communities, this normal bodily function is met with silence, stigma, and limited access to products that enable women and girls to manage menstruation with dignity. This translates into a market gap: one third of the global market for menstrual products is currently unmet.
Be Girl takes a holistic, design-driven approach to menstrual health and hygiene, working to combat both supply- and demand-side barriers that prohibit millions of underserved women and girls from accessing critical products and information. Be Girl’s line of patented, sustainable, high-quality menstrual products was designed specifically for girls in low-resource settings. To address the education challenge, Be Girl created a hands-on menstrual cycle learning tool with accompanying educational methodology to teach both girls and boys about menstruation through an age-appropriate methodology. Finally, Be Girl combats stigma through transformative messaging campaigns that work with cultural influencers and icons to engage everyone from parents to government to young people.
To date, Be Girl has put over 200,000 premium, sustainable menstrual products in the hands of girls across 35 countries, and educated over 40,000 girls and boys in the SmartCycle® menstrual education methodology. Working in Mozambique, founder Diana Sierra and Audrey Anderson Duckett continue to expand the reach of their products and programs across Africa and beyond. We see strong potential for Be Girl to increase gender parity by reducing the stigma around menstruation. Learn more about Be Girl.
Arpan is India’s largest nonprofit working on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse, envisioning a ‘World Free from Child Sexual Abuse’ through its prevention and intervention strategies. In a country where there is tremendous social & cultural taboo around sexuality, vocabulary and dialogue around sexuality or sexual abuse is almost non-existent. One in two children faces sexual abuse in India, yet there is tremendous silence. A broad variety of societal, cultural, individual & family-related normative frameworks restrict initiating this dialogue and sexual violence against children is often hidden, unseen, or under-reported.
Through established programs, Arpan has demonstrated how to reduce CSA incidence and built an innovative and unique Personal Safety Education program for Indian public schools that enables safe and private disclosures by children, intervening to stop ongoing abuse, promoting healing through therapy, and providing psycho-education to families. Arpan also continuously conducts scientific evaluations that guide and strengthen their program strategy. Arpan provides training directly and trains partners on the PSE model who in turn implement the program in their respective settings; millions of children are reached with messages of personal safety, and adults in their ecosystem are equipped to keep them safe.
To date, Arpan has reached 1.6 million children and adults with evidence-backed programs. Based in Mumbai, Arpan is led by Pooja Taparia, a recognized advocate in the field for the past 15 years. We see strong evidence that Arpan can scale to reach the size of the need, shifting the culture in India, and taking their effective programs global to be free of child sexual abuse. Learn more about Arpan.
Kwangu Kwako Limited is passionate about enhancing the dignity and self esteem of low income families by designing, manufacturing, and delivering truly affordable, dignified, and safe buildings. 1.6 billion people in the world live in inadequate housing. In Nairobi alone, an estimated 2 million people live in metal shacks, with poor or no access to sanitation in their homes. Fires, security, and safety in these structures are a huge problem for families trying to make a way in the world. These communities live with the threat of losing their homes and all of their possessions, creating financial and personal trauma.
Kwangu Kwako Limited (KKL) uses locally-available materials and labor to manufacture reinforced precast concrete panels and fabricate metal components. These modular components are used to rapidly build truly affordable, safe, secure, and dignified housing. Most homes have in-house toilets and showers, drastically improving sanitation for residents. In 2020, KKL adapted this solution to build larger rooms, enabling improvements to other community buildings. KKL completed their first school in 2020. They are now working to build more classrooms to ensure they reach beyond individual homes to impact the whole community.
To date, KKL has built 80 houses providing dignity and security for up to 400 family members, and 9 healthier, cooler, classrooms for over 540 low income pupils which have generated 105k USD for the local economy. Based in Nairobi, founders Winnie Gitau and Simon Dixon have strong backgrounds in property development and leadership in the secure livelihood sectors. We see a strong opportunity for KKL to reshape the trajectory of low-income housing—making it dignified, safe, and truly affordable. Learn more about Kwangu Kwako.
Baobab Circle is a multi-award-winning for-profit digital health company providing personalised healthcare solutions for people living with diabetes and hypertension in Africa. Africa currently is confronting an acute yet often unspoken healthcare crisis: while health systems across the continent continue to be strained under the burden of infectious diseases like HIV, malaria, TB, Ebola and COVID-19, we are seeing a startling rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. By 2030, NCDs will overtake communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases combined as the leading cause of mortality on the continent.
To address this challenge, Baobab Circle has developed Afya Pap, an integrated and patient-centered platform that provides users with localized health information and personalized remote monitoring through a USSD/SMS platform (for feature phones) and a mobile app (for smartphones). The mobile platforms are AI-powered applications used by patients for self-management through daily personalised patient education on diabetes and hypertension, and meal and physical exercise planning.
To date, Baobab Circle has reached 50,000 users across 7 countries and reduced medical expenses for people living with diabetes and hypertension. Based in Nairobi, Baobab Circle is led by Precious Lunga, an epidemiologist with 15 years’ experience in implementing health programmes in 17 African countries, Europe and India. We believe Baobab Circle’s model is a promising approach to manage non-communicable diseases at scale, transforming the health of the region. Learn more about Baobab Circle.
Amani Global Works brings integrated primary healthcare services to the most impoverished populations in Africa. Despite the significant progress of global development over the last two decades, at least half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services. One such community is Idjwi Island, located in Lake Kivu, which straddles the borders of Eastern DRC and Rwanda. Known as “Africa’s Forgotten Island”, many decades of limited government support, poor infrastructure, and deficient health systems have had profound, multi-generational effects on the island’s 300,000 inhabitants.
Starting with basic health infrastructure, Amani Global Works has successfully implemented a systematic set of health system interventions in order to provide access to quality primary and maternal health care to the island’s inhabitants. Amani Global Works operates a replicable model of primary health care through three interconnected services: community health workers, health clinics, and referral hospitals. Amani has trained a cadre of more than 200 community health workers (>80% women) who are paid and supervised by Amani to provide household-level care to mothers and young children.
To date, Amani Global Works has provided 250,000 people with primary health coverage at an average annual cost of less than $10 per person, and treated 114,000 children, creating a significant reduction in child mortality. Amani is led by two health care professionals with roots in Idjwi, Jacques Sebisaho and Mimy Mudekereza. With quality care delivered at a lower cost than the government currently provides, we see tremendous potential in the possibility of bringing Amani’s community health worker model to much of the rest of DRC’s 89M residents, as well as to nearby countries. Learn more about Amani Global Works.
Imagine Worldwide empowers children around the globe to build the literacy and numeracy skills needed to achieve their full potential. More than 250 million children and youth do not have access to school. Hundreds of millions more go to school but never learn to read or write due to overcrowded schools, teacher shortages, absenteeism, lack of and/or poor quality instructional resources, and inadequate services for those with special needs.
Imagine Worldwide is laser-focused on ensuring that the most marginalized children can develop critical foundational literacy and numeracy skills. They work with top partners to provide learning solutions that empower children with engaging, adaptive content that is pre-loaded onto tablets and delivered in a variety of contexts both in and out of school. Imagine’s model does not require connectivity, a power grid, or a trained teacher: learning is delivered autonomously with adults as coaches and mentors.
To date, Imagine has helped nearly 12,000 children develop critical skills, and 84% and 88% of learners persisted in each of their studies to date. These randomized controlled trials consistently show substantively important positive impacts in both literacy and numeracy as well as improvements in attendance, behavior, and attitudes towards learning. Serving Africa, Bangladesh, and the U.S., Imagine is led by Joe Wolf, co-founder of The Learning Accelerator. We believe Imagine can create a learning network that accelerates the pace of innovation, improving learning outcomes for children and decreasing global inequities. Learn more about Imagine Worldwide.
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