Rockefeller Foundation Names GKI one of 100 “Next Century Innovators”

April 26, 2013

From GKI Chief Operating Officer, Sara Farley:

Dear Friends,

I write to share the exhilarating news that the Global Knowledge Initiative’s program, Learning and Innovation Networks for Knowledge and Solutions (LINK), which brings people and organizations together around big development goals, was just recognized as one of the world’s top 100 most transformative innovations for the next 100 years

This humbling designation comes courtesy of the Rockefeller Foundation.  While celebrating a century of giving, the Rockefeller Foundation recognizes that communities worldwide face increasingly complex and interconnected challenges.  The Next Century Innovators Award represents one of the Rockefeller Foundation’s first steps into a new century of philanthropy by leveraging the talent and energy of the world’s most innovative organizations.  As one of 100 finalists—chosen from thousands of nominees—we hope to be among the three winners the Rockefeller Foundation selects for $100,000 prizes.  gki1We are honored that the Rockefeller Foundation, while judging nominees on criteria such as catalytic innovation, impact, and spark, has included GKI in its Top 100 list. The Rockefeller Foundation is highlighting these finalists at this dedicated web page, where you can peek at the profiles of all of the inspiring finalists, including GKI.
When the Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI) began, just a short 3.5 years ago, we set out to solve the most pressing global problems (e.g. food insecurity) and their local manifestations (e.g. plant disease).  We believed—and gathered evidence from farmers, researchers, policymakers, and entrepreneurs who validated the idea—that problem solving today requires networks of collaboration across organizational and national boundaries. These networks seldom form spontaneously. Why?  Because key resources—particularly knowledge—remain dispersed over disciplinary silos, disjointed institutions, and distant geographies. Thus, even good intentions translate at best into piecemeal solutions.  Our nominated LINK program seeks to overwrite business as usual, using our collaborative innovation model to do so.
We are particularly honored to appegki2ar alongside such cutting edge organizations as Barefoot College and Safaricom, to
name two impressive examples.  The Barefoot College focuses on transferring practical skills to the impoverished rural poor.  Its Barefoot College Women Solar Engineer Program teaches solar engineering skills to rural women, mostly grandmothers, across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, allowing them to set up shop in their communities.  Helping to spark a financial revolution in East Africa, information technology titan Safaricom, removed a major obstacle preventing Kenyans from unlocking their innovative potential. M-PESA, Safaricom’s mobile money transfer service, grants East Africans access to financial services and opportunities for investment. Being mentioned in the same breath as these organizations is gratifying and humbling.
Andrew Gerard, Amanda Rose, and Sara Farley from GKI, with Rwanda LINK Principle Investigator Dr. Daniel Rukazambuga, Dr. Peter Sallah, and Maraba Washing Station staff members
Andrew Gerard, Amanda Rose, and Sara Farley from GKI, with Rwanda LINK Principle Investigator Dr. Daniel Rukazambuga, Dr. Peter Sallah, and Maraba Washing Station staff members

We credit our success thus far to our supporters—like you—who have spurred us forward, pushing our limits.  Although we are proud to showcase this honor, we also want to express a passionately held belief: this is just the beginning of the impact we will achieve.  With your help, we can go further in sharing knowledge, forging partnerships, and solving the toughest challenges facing developing countries.

With sincerest thanks to you, my incredible team without whom none of this would be possible, and the world’s 7 billion solvers,
Sara Farley