The ISC Voyager

Patient Capital, Root Capital and Solo Adventuring
24/02/2010, 3:04 am
Filed under: Fortnight Update

International News Highlights:

BOP report published by World Resource Institute:Discussions of base of the economic pyramid (BOP) markets have, until now, relied principally on business case studies and rough estimates of market size. The Next 4 Billion uses previously unreleased data to measure market opportunity at the BOP.”

Jackie Novagritz on a different type of capitalism: Patient Capitalism: “The devastation of the Haiti earthquakes and the lack of infrastructure for responding to the disaster have deepened an ongoing debate over foreign aid, international development, and helping the poorest of the world’s poor. Jacqueline Novogratz, whose Acumen Fund is reinventing that landscape with what it calls ‘patient capitalism,’ is charting a third way between investment for profit and aid for free.”

Smart Projects:

Root Capital: What happens when you have a great idea, are too small for mainstream banks but too large for micro finance and you live in a developing economy? You simply seek out Root Capital, who will finance, advise and catalyze you into the flourishing social enterprise you dream to be.

Zafen: Creole for “It’s our business,” Zafen is a new model for peer-to-project lending that will soon launch with dozens of great sustainable economic development projects to support  in Haiti.


ISC Upcoming Events:

Nicaragua Lunch and Learn, Saturday March 21st, Room 626

Want to learn more about ISC’s recent trip to Nicaragua?  Come join us, Saturday, March 20th at 1pm in Room 626.  We will tell the story of our journey through remote villages in Nicaragua, where we learned about micro-scale solar and hydro-power and the challenges of life in el campo.  A 30 min slide show will be followed with a time for Q&A, a sweet video and discussion around the next service learning trip.  Hope to see you there!

Action Potluck: Design For Developing Economies, March 25, Location TBD

We will focus our energy and action around appropriate design for developing economies. Stories about improved cookstoves, distributed renewable energy and composting toilets will lead our action-oriented discussion. If you’re interested in helping facilitate, please email amanda.ravenhill at

The Latest and Greatest from the ISC:

Giles Hayward (C11), our January speaker, is working on an exciting sustainability project in The Bahamas called SINK.  SINK will be the first underwater art exhibition developed to explicitly explore not only the natural beauty of The Bahamas but also the importance of environmental conservation.  By bringing together the world’s most talented artists partnered with marine biologists, SINK will bring such socially important topics as climate change, pollution and marine conservation through visually stunning works of art to The Bahamas and beyond.  The participants will come from all over the world and will also highlight the brightest local talent.


Presidio Passport:

Every issue we will highlight Presidians travels abroad.
Presidio students, faculty, and alumni are encouraged to e-mail Amanda Ravenhill  and Tessa Rudnick to share your international stories: what you’ve worked on, what you’ve experienced, professional, personal, happy, sad, anything! The most compelling stories will be featured here. Can’t wait to hear about your adventures! This issue:

SOLO ADVENTURES by Tessa Rudnick

I like to travel alone. Put solo international travel on your ‘bucket list’ if you haven’t had the experience already. There’s something so empowering about making your own schedule, meeting new people, and doing whatever you want on your own time. It’s also a wonderful way of getting uninterrupted quality time with yourself. You are allowed the opportunity to self reflect, and gain more insight into your own perspective on life.

Before I did it for the first time, solo travel was never on my radar. I went to Europe by myself for two weeks as an undergrad because of a fluke. When my traveling partner cancelled on me, I decided that I wasn’t going to let anything hold me back. Traveling in Europe by yourself is relatively safe, so I thought I’d be brave and try a solo adventure. On my trip I ate at any restaurant I wanted to without debate, spent hours in cafes reading wonderful books related to where I was (try reading Prague by A. Phillips while in Budapest), and took adventures to off the path museums without a nagging traveling partner wanting to move onto the next destination (I would always find the local military history museums and spend the whole day there). I met interesting characters at hostels along the way, met friends of friends who generously hosted me having never met me before, and felt completely alive and completely in control of my own destiny as I traversed countries I’ve never been to all by myself.

I’ve since traveled to parts of Asia and other parts of Europe alone, and I get better at it each time. It’s an unfortunate reality, but women still face many problems when traveling alone internationally. Ladies, before hitting the open road with your passport, make sure to read different resources online about traveling solo. The last thing you want is to have something bad happen while you’re away from home.

As much as I love the experience of traveling alone, it can get lonely at times. Once in awhile, you’ll look around at the beauty, or experience something amazing, and realize you don’t have anyone to share it with. If this feeling ever sets in, all you need to do is think to yourself, “This moment belongs to only me.”


350 Trees in Haiti
24/02/2010, 2:38 am
Filed under: Fortnight Update

International News Highlights:

From Story to Substance: Notes on a talk from the Social Capital Markets Conference on three innovative infrastructures for tracking social investments

African Continent could generate 1.5 billion a year combating climate change

Yangtze Delta, supporting 400 Million people, already feeling negative impact of Climate Destabilization

20 years after the Berlin Wall, the Ordinary recall the Extraordinary

Denmark invites 191 leaders to the COP15, after Gordon Brown and others make plans to attend what was previously a conference for delegates

ISC Upcoming Events:

Nicaragua Fundraising Kick-Off + Reps :: Thursday Nov. 19th :: 6-9pm :: Sports Basement, Presidio, 610 Old Mason St. SF, 94129
Come fiestajar with and support your fellow Presidio students traveling to Nicaragua in January with Green Empowerment. Help us kick-off our FUNraising, learn about our trip and get 10% of everything in the store (with another 10% of the proceeds going toward the trip). There will be free beer, wine and tasty food a plenty, a raffle, silent auction and a piñata to boot!
The “R” Reps are all excited about their new roles, so they’ll be showing up to this event in force to talk about whatever’s on people’s minds Presidio-wise.Nicaragua Dance Dance Party Party :: Saturday Nov. 21st  :: 9pm- ?? :: Brunos, 2389 Mission St. SF, 94110
Partytime! Excellent!  Come shake your shtuff for sustainable solutions to community development and the Presidio students going to Nicaragua to implement them. Bruno’s, music, dancing, raffle, dancing, silent auction, dancing, need we say more?
Arrive before ten and the door fee goes to us!

The Latest and Greatest:

Presidio Plants 350 trees in Haiti on October 24th.
So you probably took part in the gorgeous photo of our human 350 on the International Day of Climate Action, but did you know that our school also raised enough money to have 350 avocado, mango, lime, grapefruit and coconut trees planted on the island of Ile-a-Vache in Haiti? Here are the pics of the trees being delivered to the school children who will plant and care for the trees.
Trees arriveKids with treesMary Solecki Gets Published in Triple Pundit
Our own Mary (C8) wrote a fantastic piece for 3P about her service learning trip to Nicaragua titled “The Impact of Storytelling on International Development.” Make sure to give it a read and support the next group of Presidians heading down to Nica.

Help Needed:

Nicaragua Service Learning Trip
A group of ten Presidians will be traveling to Nica from January 6-16th with Green Empowerment to support sustainable development projects and explore the prospects of entering the carbon market. We will be fundraising all month, please support us by donating money, goods or services and participate in our raffle, silent auction and various events throughout the month.

Presidio Passport:

Every issue we will highlight Presidians travels abroad.
Presidio students, faculty, and alumni are encouraged to e-mail Amanda Ravenhill ( and Tessa Rudnick ( and share your international stories: what you’ve worked on, what you’ve experienced, professional, personal, happy, sad, anything! The most compelling stories will be featured here. Can’t wait to hear about your adventures!This issue:

Christmas in Haiti
Amanda Ravenhill

My parents live in Haiti and work in the Public Health and Economic Development offices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and so for the last eight years, once a year, I have had the privilege of journeying down to this breathtaking country. My favorite thing about Haiti are its people.  With centuries of political and environmental instability, there remains an optimism and joie de vivre, if you will, that is  reflected in the art and ingenuity that invades every space.  The backs of the taptap trucks (the local public transportation system) are intricately decorated with recycled steel drums and painted to reflect the drivers’ faith and idols from Jesus to Tu Pac. In the village of Labadie, where the Royal Princess Cruise ships ironically stop and tell their passengers that they have landed on Hispanola instead of Haiti, I was taken away by this house. Constructed of repurposed pallets and bamboo, it was worthy of a feature story in Dwell magazine. I look forward to returning this year for Christmas and visiting the school children pictured above that planted trees for us on October 24th. Ill be sure to take pictures and come back with more stories of art and resource efficiency.Pallet House