To help promote the creation of new ideas for financial security, nonprofit organization Changemakers devised a contest to encourage innovation for the global financial crisis. The competition is called Banking on Social Change – Seeking Financial Solutions for All.
Changemakers in an initiative of Ashoka, the world's largest association of leading social entrepreneurs. The nonprofit association started Changemakers as an open source community that would provide, collect and create information about social solutions, as well as organize collaborative competitions that would spur social innovation.
Banking on Social Change, their most recent competition, sponsored by Citi, came to a close last week. Nearly 300 contestants from more than 40 countries submitted financial solutions in the form of new products, distribution and credit ideas, including new ways of using things like mobile banking and peer-to-peer lending. According to Changemakers, "the projects ranged from improving access to affordable healthcare in India to an initiative that allows Canadians with disabilities to invest their government income."
These top finalists will each receive US $5,000 to expand their projects:
Fundación Pro Vivienda Social, Argentina: Using a community-modeled financing system, the Fundación Pro Vivienda Social is working with low income rural residents to increase their access to utilities and basic services by lowering costs and extending infrastructure.
Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP), India: Through their Sampoorna Suraksha program, SKDRDP is making health care affordable for the poor by providing them with medical coverage without destroying their savings or force them to borrow at steep rates.
Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP), India: Through their Pragathi Bandhu program, SKDRDP is uniting coalitions of small farmers to share their ideas and aggregate their land and talents to reach better economies of scale.
To learn more about the each recipient or to learn more about other competitions, visit the the Changemakers' website.
Read more about financial solutions in these articles from the Worldchanging archives:
(Disclosure: We felt this was an important contest to cover, despite the fact that Citi, currently receiving a lot of heat from anti-coal activists, was its main sponsor.)
Image credit: Changemakers
ZimpleMoney is another social finance platform for use by non-profits, charities, foundations, people, and other organizations. Zimpley, Steve Rabago, ZEO, ZimpleMoney.com
Shared Interest offers another solution...
Shared Interest is a co-operative lending society that aims to reduce poverty in the world by providing fair and just financial services. They've been part of the fair trade movement for 18 years and work extensively with community-based businesses in Africa and other continents to help them make the most of fair trade.
They work primarily by providing finance to producers to enable them to buy raw materials, tools and the other things they need at the time they need them. They also offer longer term loans and other credit facilities to support the development of fair trade businesses.