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Innovations That Change the World
A Special Collection of Classroom Activities

Explore our set of classroom activities that feature creative thinkers called social entrepreneurs whose ideas and organizations leap beyond charity to find systemic solutions to poverty, education, health, and social justice. Be sure to also check out our list of related links.

Teaching Activities

Image from the story Compare Health Issues in Ecuador and the U.S.A.
Watch Ecuador: Country Doctors and discuss grassroots efforts to address health issues in Ecuador. Then, compare health issues in Ecuador and the United States and propose solutions
Image from the story Conduct An Historical Comparison
Watch Nepal: A Girl's Life and compare Room to Read's efforts to establish libraries with those of Andrew Carnegie.
Image from the story Create a Map of Local Social Services for Youth
Watch India: A New Life and discuss strategies for helping troubled youth. Then, create and distribute a map of organizations and social services that address the needs of local young people who need help.
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Develop Innovative Solutions to Local Problems
Watch and discuss Play Pump, then brainstorm innovative solutions to local problems and present them to the class.

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Discover How Music Could Change a Country
Watch Paraguay: Sounds of Hope and explore online resources to create a list of benefits that studying music could bring to the people of Paraguay. Then use this list to make predictions of how Paraguay might be different in 20 years.

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Examine the Global Land Mine Crisis
Find out where land mines are in use throughout the world. Then, learn more about a new way to detect land mines by watching Tanzania: Hero Rats. Conclude by discussing U.S. policy on land mines.

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Explore Microlending
Watch Uganda: A Little Goes a Long Way to pinpoint the roles and incentives for key participants in the microlending loan cycle. Discuss issues related to small business loans in developing countries and then have the class experience microlending first-hand.

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Identify Common Steps Taken by Social Entrepreneurs
Watch Cambodia: The Silk Grandmothers and identify how one man's efforts to address a social problem follows a pattern common among successful social entrepreneurs.

Related Links

Explore the links below to find out about other social entrepreneurs and stay up to date on the latest developments in the field.

Note: PBS and FRONTLINE/World have received funding from the Skoll Foundation to provide educational resources and celebrate the achievements of social entrepreneurs. This list of links includes some of these resources and notes this source of funding where applicable.

Profiles and Principles

How to Be a Successful Social Entrepreneur
This article describes a social entrepreneurial business started by teenaged siblings and provides five tips for how youth can combine their interests in business and public service to have a huge impact on their communities.

The New Heroes
See if your students have what it takes to be a social entrepreneur with the online activity, Build a Socially Conscious Business. Then, take a quiz to find out which social issues most inspire your students to take action. This site also features descriptions of a dozen social entrepreneurs and their projects, as well as details on historical figures who brought about important social changes. (Funded in part by the Skoll Foundation)

NOW: Enterprising Ideas
Read in-depth profiles and watch video featuring social entrepreneurs who use business strategies for humanitarian purposes. In addition, a Tools & Tips section provides resources to help get socially-conscious business ideas off the ground. (Funded by the Skoll Foundation)

The Online NewsHour: Venture Philanthropy
This December 2000 story from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer describes the economic and business principles behind the activities of some social entrepreneurs.

The Past, Present, and Future of Social Entrepreneurship

This scholarly interview from Duke University’s Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship is a useful resource for educators to increase their background knowledge on the development and evolution of social entrepreneurship.

Online Communities for Social Entrepreneurs

Social Edge
This "by social entrepreneurs – for entrepreneurs" site from the Skoll Foundation features inspirational stories, practical advice, networking tools, and other resources designed to connect social entrepreneurs with one another.

Social Innovations Conversations
This podcasting channel from the Stanford Graduate School of Business is an open and collaborative space that captures and shares the ideas of inspiring social entrepreneurs. Optional registration allows you to post reactions to podcasts, receive personalized podcasting recommendations, set up a listening queue, and more.

Organizations That Support Social Entrepreneurs

Acumen Fund
This global venture fund, "seeks to prove that small amounts of philanthropic capital, combined with large doses of business acumen, can build thriving enterprises that serve vast numbers of the poor."

This association helps social entrepreneurs through financial assistance, networking, and other support services.

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
This organization connects social entrepreneurs with leaders from the business, public, academic, and media sectors.

Skoll Foundation
This foundation provides funding for social entrepreneurs, networking services, academic studies, and supports the production of video programs and resources that feature the work of social entrepreneurs (including major funding of FRONTLINE/World’s reporting on social entrepreneurs).

Student Competitions

SAGE: Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship
This non-profit organization has an annual contest for high schoolers worldwide that challenges student teams to create entrepreneurial ventures that make the world a better place.


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