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#GoodNewsDecember: Impact Highlights from Social Entrepreneurs in 2017

December 18, 2017

By Robyn Park - Skoll Foundation

After a year marked by natural disasters, refugee crises, and political turmoil, it can be a challenge to not become discouraged. But take a closer look, and you’ll see the progress being made all around us. As the end of 2017 approaches, we’ve gathered up the good news: the spectacular accomplishments of Skoll social entrepreneurs, always hard at work to solve some of the world’s thorniest problems. These social entrepreneurs and their organizations have managed to extend their reach, deepen their impact, and fundamentally shift society towards health, justice, peace, and prosperity. Here are a few highlights.

Keep an eye out on our Twitter and Facebook to see all of the good news posted each day this month. Know of any achievements from the past year that are driving change toward a more peaceful and prosperous world? Share your accomplishments on Twitter using the hashtag #GoodNewsDecember, and we’ll retweet our favorites!


For some 624 million people worldwide, impaired vision dramatically impacts their ability to earn a living, support their family, plan for the future, and learn. VisionSpring has delivered eyeglasses to 3.9 million people worldwide and is on track to sell 10 million pairs by 2021. In partnership with BRAC, the Reading Glasses for Improved Livelihoods (RGIL) program has sold 1 million pairs of eyeglasses throughout 61 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts. ➤Tweet this!


The Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) has made incredible progress in the past few years. In 2014, the organization set a target for supporting 1 million adolescent girls through secondary school and into secure livelihoods within five years. Camfed has already passed the halfway mark of this target by supporting more than 540,000 girls, with significant support from its 100,000-strong alumni network, CAMA. In Tanzania, literacy test scores among marginalized girls reached by Camfed showed more than double the rate of learning than among girls in comparison schools, and nearly five times the rate in math! ➤Tweet this!


Kiva launched a multi-million dollar World Refugee Fund earlier this year to crowdfund loans for refugees, displaced people, and their host communities, to help them start or expand a business, increase income, and create jobs. The fund helps refugees move beyond emergency aid to regain stability and build for the future. ➤Tweet this!


In part due to Amazon Conservation Team’s support with surveying, data collection, and mobilizing local communities, the Colombian National Land Agency approved the expansion of two indigenous reserves to connect the largest national park in the country (Chiribiquete National Park) with the largest reserve (Predio Putumayo Indigenous Reserve). This creates a vast conservation corridor in the Amazon region, linking nearly 10 million hectares of protected land—nearly the size of Portugal. ➤Tweet this!


An estimated 100 million Indian children remain unable to read or do math at grade level. Pratham aims to address this massive education gap through government partnerships, innovative teaching-learning methods, and careful measurement techniques. During the 2016-2017 school year, 1.1 million children enrolled in Pratham’s literacy and learning programs, and another 4.6 million children were reached through government partnerships. ➤Tweet this!


It’s become clear that the leadership of investors and companies is critical in reducing climate change. That was the idea behind “We Are Still In,” a movement that demonstrates the commitment by states, investors, and companies to tackle climate change. With help from Ceres, more than 1,700 investors and businesses, along with more than 200 cities and 220 colleges and universities have joined together to say, “We are still in” the Paris Agreement and committed to reducing carbon emissions. ➤Tweet this!

goodnews_water-dot-org brings safe water and sanitation to the world through access to small, affordable loans. Their vision: safe water and the dignity of a toilet for all, in our lifetime. To date, has reached nearly 10 million people and disbursed more than $602 million in loans for water and sanitation to families across eleven different countries. ➤Tweet this!



Girls Not Brides works to end child marriage in this generation and to enable girls to fulfill their potential. This year, Girls Not Brides members in Malawi played a key role in influencing the Parliament’s decision to remove a provision from the constitution that allowed children to marry at age 15 with parental consent, thereby rendering all marriages before age 18 illegal. ➤Tweet this!


One Acre Fund supplies smallholder farmers with the tools and financing they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Instead of giving handouts, they invest in farmers to generate permanent gains in farm income. As of 2017, One Acre Fund has served more than 500,000 smallholder farmer families to help them earn an average of 50 percent more income. ➤Tweet this!

Other noteworthy milestones from Skoll awardees this year:

  • Polaris released the first-ever Typology of Modern Slavery in the United States, which breaks down human trafficking into 25 distinct categories and profiles.
  • B Lab sparked a movement that has driven 33 states to pass legislation to allow companies to incorporate as Benefit Corporations.
  • With aid from Landesa, the Indian state of Telangana extended formal land title to more than 1 million small farmers, clearing the way for government recognition of their land rights.
  • Forty percent of all SAT test takers report using Khan Academy’s free Official SAT Practice, making it the number one tool for SAT prep.
  • Namati‘s Global Legal Empowerment Network has grown to more than 1300 organizations working to advance justice across 160 countries.
  • mothers2mothers and its partners enrolled 1.95 million new clients and helped to protect 700,000 infants from HIV infection.
  • Room to Read has reached 11.6 million children through their literacy and girls’ education program, distributed over 20 million books, and partnered with 20,000 schools.

Check out our Twitter Moments feed to see more highlights throughout December, and spread more good news by sharing your achievements online using #GoodNewsDecember!

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