DSIL Alumni in Action

Get inspired & engaged with our global DSIL community!

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Alejandra Lopez Launches Ideate Solutions

Ideate Solutions, based in the United States, is on a mission to help organizations and individuals around the world build legacies with a social impact. See what DSIL means for Alejandra below:


DSIL was part of an eye opener for me. Being able to work with different social entrepreneurs, who we visited as part of the field immersion, really helped me to confirm that helping others solve their social challenges and create a bigger social impact, was what I wanted to do. Being surrounded by a group of facilitators and participants from everywhere in the world was an amazing opportunity to brainstorm ideas and to learn from others who are trying to do good. Also, being part of the DSIL community is a tremendous opportunity to receive feedback from others and to learn that you are not alone, but that there are others who can support you in this ride to make this a better world.


Ideate Solutions' methodology is based in the power of empathy, which is constantly applied in the DSIL course through iterating with other DSIL participants and social entrepreneurs. Putting ourselves in the shoes of others is what motivates Ideate Solutions to move forward with its work of finding sustainable solutions with a social impact. I always recommend DSIL to friends, colleagues and even strangers who have contacted me. DSIL was a great experience that I will never forget.

Mansi Kakkar Teaching Human Centered Design at Hult Business School

You are invited to experience this fast paced lecture to the Master of Social Entrepreneurship students of Hult Business School based in San Francisco, California. In the session here you will see Mansi cover the basics of Human Centered Design through the example of her community based project, The Parent Well, out of East Oakland.
DSIL Stories III: MANSI

Azahara García Espejo Co-founds and Crowdfunds for Irembo Foundation in Rwanda

Azahara Esepejo recently launched this crowdfunding campaign for an education and economic development based NGO in Rwanda. See how a simple idea has evolved into a big vision reality in her own words:


Bertrand (Irembo Foundation co-founder) and me have been working together for the last two years, but in a very small scale: every Christmas we organized a small campaign to raise money to pay for the school fees for those children whose families couldn't afford their education. However, this was a very temporary solution and we wanted to create something long lasting. So we have developed a model for a vocational training program for the mothers and parents of these children. They will be learning sewing techniques, including shoe making. The idea is that, after a 5 months training program, we will open Irembo Boutique, a shop in the form of a social enterprise. We will rent a place that will serve as workshop and shop, where these women will work and sell their products.


We are also creating a special design for these products (for example, a fashion designer from Barcelona is helping us in the dress design), since our target market is tourists. There is an increasing number of tourists, with a high purchase power (they normally travel to Rwanda for the gorilla tracking, which costs around 1,500 dollars) and also, an increasing interest to have a positive social impact with their visit. This crowdfunding campaign is meant to be an initial investment to start everything, that's why we have always told people that by contributing they are not just donating money, they are becoming social investors. We also have two projects with women (Mama Rwanda Project), a club for single mothers that meet twice per week where they can talk about their problems and give advice to each other, as well as the Youth for Youth project, where we encourage young people to get involve in social activities, for instance, teaching women how to read.


We will also be giving financial education workshops to the women involve in the income generating activities we have created. They are people who have never earn money and who need to know about basic stuff such as saving techniques and priorities in expenses. The women who do not put their children to school will be put out of the project. That's one of the requirements in our project, as soon as they start to make money, one of the priorities has to be the education of their children.

Annie Beaulieu's Freeedom start-up is a finalist for multiple awards!

Freeedom is a global initiative to promote responsible tourism and support social entrepreneurs. Their collective impact vision and approach has been recognised as the future of tourism by the UNWTO and was a UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Research and Technology and Start-up Innovation Award finalist at the World Tourism Forum Lucerne. Connect with Annie.

Yumiko Shinya is promotoed to Design Innovation Officer for UNICEF Sudan's Innovation Unit

As the Design Innovation Officer, Yumiko will drive the development of design solutions to overcome the bottlenecks of each sector within the UNICEF Sudan, and to develop learning spaces from the point of view of children. Connect with Yumiko.

Lea Martín kicks off Kikipa!

Kikipa is a social enterprise project promoting education for gender equality, using the power of digital games. They are currently working with a Berlin based school to facilitate gender workshops for a class of 26 students age 12-16 and will finally co-design a game prototype together with the students. Connect with Lea.

Emma Day launches the International Child Redress Project

The International Child Redress Project aims to give access to justice to child victims of sexual exploitation, by enabling children to bring compensation claims against foreign perpetrators. We are using a HCD approach to work with communities to ensure that compensation funds are effectively managed and distributed. Connect with Emma.

Sarah-Marie Joins Ashoka U as Partnerships Manager

Sarah-Marie joined DSIL as one of the founding designers in 2014. She remains a key program advisor while also contributing her skills and expertise to the Ashoka U Global Team based in the Washington, DC area. Connect with Sarah-Marie.

Monica Sanchez presents at Cambridge University on Urban Emergencies

Monica is a Puerto-Rico based professor at Pontifical Catholic University and and Architect with FEF Group. In March 2015 she presented at Cambridge University on Urban Emergencies: Emergent Urbanism and is currently building a think-tank that will work with the inclusion of the university in the process of gestation of urban projects. Connect with Monica.

Kendra Sharp Builds Out the Humanitarian Engineering Program at Oregin State University

Kendra is OSU's lead faculty on a USAID-funded Partner Center for Advanced Studies in Energy to the Pakistani Center at the National University of Science and Technology in Islamabad and the University of Engineering and Technology in Peshawar and last summer she joined the instructional team at the health-focused International Development Design Summit in Chennai, India to advance gender development, hydropower and climate elements of the curriculum. Connect with Kendra.
GET INVOLVED! CHECK OUT THESE CALLS FOR ACTION

See how you can support these active projects happening now!

Call for Writers! Join Lais Vitoria on the Quest to Lift Others Up!

Check out Ao Rio 2016, an online platform to exchange stories that plant seeds of hope through 2016, inspired by the upcoming Summer Olympic Games. Join Brazil based DSIL participant Lais as she curates and publishes stories to show that everyone can be an 'Olympian' when you live the Olympic values, like respect and equality. For starters: Have you ever helped your community? Have you ever encountered and overcome challenging situations? Then here is the right place for your story. Do you want to write in the project? It doesn't matter what language you write, everything is welcome. Please contact through this blog here to get started.

Meet Andrés Parraguirre- He Crowdfunded His Social Impact Journey

Andrés Parraguirre is on a mission to make change happen in his home country of Mexico. He joined DSIL and was able to craft a successful crowdfunding Campsign. Learn how he did:



I'm Mexican and right know in Hong Kong doing a volunteer program in global citizenship and social entrepreneurship. I want to share with you something important. Designing for Social Innovation and Leadership - DSIL program has accepted me as one of the 2015 participants. This is an unique opportunity to learn how create social impact projects that are innovate and sustainable, as well as best practices to take over development issues as well as joining a important social impact network, and this is the best moment to do it due to the closeness. I'm totally committed to do my best to learn and then go back to Mexico and apply what I learned creating social enterprises to try to solve development issues.

Reflections from the Field- Jack Greig, Teach for Australia, Track to Thailand and the Philippines

Searching through the trashcan of an outer-Bangkok restaurant I remind myself that I came to DSIL seeking a deeper sense of creative confidence. We are at the Zero Baht shop – a former bridge dwelling homeless community turned entrepreneurs co-creating a cashless economy – recycling unwanted items to create value where none previously existed. The people here reclaimed their dignity through imagination and tenacity, and now I’m riding beside one of the happiest ladies I have ever met. How’s that for creative confidence?


DSIL could best be described as community of practice, rather than a course. It’s a natural and inviting space to step out of the grind, define your intentions collectively and iterate towards authenticity and growth. From day one to ten, and continually throughout the Virtual Classroom series, we learned and practiced human-centred design, blended value business models, creative leadership, liberating structures, action storytelling and more with insightful educators. In both Thailand and the Philippines we met and supported local social entrepreneurs to overcome some of their challenges, exchanging feedback and ideas. We also challenged our own group to step out onto the edge, to nurture an environment where we could trust ourselves to take risks and create without inhibition.


For me, DSIL was a uniquely personal experience. I left the field immersion feeling more attuned to my own sense of purpose and with a new network of inspiring friends and collaborators based all over the world. As an educator and new Associate on the Teach for Australia program, I feel absolutely confident in my ability to create a holistic learning environment where social entrepreneurship is valued as a genuine path to fulfilment and wellbeing.

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Reflections from the Virtual Classroom - Rima Jreich, EU Cross Border Programme

My DSIL pitch was about developing a Visualization Application aiming to help patients to visualize their healing through the power of mind. I am personally experiencing the power of mind and the power of believing in an idea. It could be any type of idea; from environment, to social entrepreneurship, agriculture or even medical, the important ingredient is to believe that the idea matter.


See Rima's full story of confronting chemotherapy, healing and discovery here

Rhianna's Reflective Letter of Gratitude to Funders, Track to Thailand and Cambodia

Design Thinking and Human Centered Design have also changed my personal life. My relationships have become deeper, my listening and problem solving skills have increased, and I have become intentional in how I live. Design Thinking opened the floodgates for emotional generosity and empathy in my life. Many people believe we can create peace by separation, but separation creates divides between us and within us.Addressing problems, listening to others, and finding compassion are some things I have been working on and these things have brought clarity and peace for me.


See the daily experience in her own words

How Do You Measure Impact? Meet Alex Schoemann DSIL & MIE Consultant

Alex Schoemann is the founder of Yugo (see project gallery below) and an associate at Deloitte in the United States. He has embarked on a journey of collaboration with the DSIL team this year to develop metrics that matter. See his perspective below!


I was a member of DSIL’s inaugural class. I stumbled upon a tweet about the program and quickly began working on an application. As a recent university graduate I was excited to learn more about the role design thinking and community play in sustainable development. As an Associate at Deloitte and the Founder of Yugo, an impact measurement service for nonprofits, I was seeking an opportunity to explore my ideas for contributing to the social-sector. My time in Southeast Asia played a pivotal role in where I am today. The DSIL program designed an intentional space and community for me to communicate my vision of the importance of evidence in impact measurement. The ability of the DSIL program to help participants connect and lend professional and personal feedback to one another was essential for my fledgling nonprofit. After the program, I’ve embarked on an exciting journey with the DSIL Strategic Team to begin utilizing measurement experiments for DSIL’s programs, messaging, and network. As the second year of cohorts go through the program we are beginning to take note of the impact the different elements of the DSIL course have on participants, while also fine-tuning the measurement techniques DSIL will utilize moving forward. I feel lucky to work on this project each day and cannot wait to share the results with the wider DSIL Community!

The Growing Gallery of Impact Initiatives

See what DSIL Alums have worked through during their accelerator experience

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Freebie Virtual Classroom Sessions - Enjoy Below!

Below are a few of the many sessions that Virtual Classroom Participants enjoyed during the 2015 VC: Story Telling with global trainer Robert Wolfe and #SOCENT with DSIL Alum Courtney Klein- enjoy!

DSIL VC Workshop Session: Storytelling - Moving People to Act
VC 2015 - Session 14 - DSIL #SOCENT Fireside Chat Series with Courtney Klein of Seed Spot
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