Project Pyramid 2017

Cotopaxi | Bolivia

“Our team is working to develop a sustainable supply chain of llama hair that would provide Bolivian farmers/herders with additional revenue streams.  To do so, we are working with an outdoor gear and clothing company sourcing from a Bolivian mill.  The mill is highly interested in the project and in helping provide more secure income for llama herders.”

Mariposa Foundation | Dominican Republic

“Our time in country meeting with the executive director and key employees at Mariposa were invaluable to creating a high-quality deliverable. While in the Dominican Republic, we met with key stakeholders in the organization and observed the day to day process of creating the Upcycled bags. This insight has informed the development of the business plan we are creating for Mariposa; this plan will be integral in assisting Mariposa move away from traditional grant funding providing increased autonomy for the direction of their organization.”

Nisolo | Peru

“We worked with Nisolo’s supply chain team to coordinate the tannery visits and a private wastewater management company, but also took the initiative to go out on our own and meet with OEFA, which is the Peruvian equivalent of the EPA. After spending a couple of afternoons at the facilities that convert raw cow skins to finished leather we all gained a new appreciation for leather goods, to say the least.”

Thriive | Nicaragua

“Our project for Thriive is to create an impact evaluation for the pay-it-forward donations. During our trip, we visited several of the companies and beneficiaries of the donations, where we conducted one-on-one and focus group interviews. With what we learned from the interviews, we are working to develop an evaluation instrument that Thriive will be able to use to determine how effectively the loan repayments impact the community.”

Wuku’ Kawoq | Guatemala

“The organization is piloting a for-profit diabetes clinic that will generate funds for Wuqu’ Kawoq to continue its free healthcare model for the Mayan-speaking community in Guatemala. Language and socioeconomic status are huge barriers to receiving quality healthcare in the country, and Wuqu’ Kawoq is the first organization to directly tackle both. Our project will allow their organization to become self-sustaining and branch out to more communities in need.”

Itza Wood | Guatemala

“Drawing from our own past work experiences and our classroom lessons, we created and implemented a weeklong workshop directed at Itza Wood’s specific business needs and goals. This included full market and company analyses, community mapping and impact metrics, local networking and information interviews, and determining action steps and definitions of success for short- and mid-term business goals.”

Sapune | Kosovo

“We partnered with a new social enterprise in Kosovo called Sapune which employs women from the marginalized communities (Roma, Egyptian and Ashkali) in Kosovo… Considering that these communities are among the most discriminated groups in the Balkans, characterized by high unemployment and illiteracy rates, this project provided us with the real experience of change in the community level… Among other things, we talked about the importance of involving the communities affected by a project in the decision-making process.”

Impact Hub Accra + Crowdfrica | Ghana

“Crowdfrica was one of the winners of the Health Innovation Program inaugural health startup hackathon, and determined that helping Crowdfrica on the path towards success would, in turn, benefit the Health Innovation Program’s standing in Accra’s healthcare/social enterprise ecosystem. Currently, we’re working with Crowdfrica on short- and long-term strategy, marketing, and financial initiatives to help set them up for future success. We were able to use a lot of our in-country time to really explore the social entrepreneurship landscape in Accra, and to meet some of its key players.”

Runa | Ecuador

“With guayusa tea and social entrepreneurship in our sights, our Project Pyramid team traveled to Archidona, Ecuador to work with RUNA, a two-pronged socially-minded business and foundation, which simultaneously sells guayusa and supports the farmers and communities who grow it. Our task is to work with not only RUNA, but also the 24 de mayo guayasa growers community, to create a marketing and business plan, which will enable them to begin their journey of sustainability within guayusa production.”

Moringa Madres

“For our Project Pyramid trip, we went to Jalisco, Mexico. Compared to the other Project Pyramid groups, we were in a relatively close and somewhat familiar place. Close, since it was only 1,500 miles away as the crow flies, and familiar because it was fairly developed and had a large American and Canadian expat population. Nonetheless, there was rampant poverty in the area. Our project concentrated on the small town of San Juan Cosala.”


“To get a better idea of what a successful essential oil business in Senegal looks like, we paid a visit to Bioessence, a local company specializing in products from the Baobab tree.  This visit gave us insight into the manufacture, marketing, and sales of essential oil.  Since Baobab is similar the Desert Date, many of the methods employed by Bioessence can be used by AYWA in this new venture.  All of us were impressed by the level of professionalism exhibited by Bioessence, and extremely optimistic about the market opportunities for the Desert Date project, both in Senegal and abroad.”

Un Mundo

“We spent our last day in Honduras in the city of La Ceiba, roughly 30 minutes from El Pital to identify potential market opportunities. We walked through the open-air marketplace where many Hondurans sold goods ranging from soccer jerseys to “I Love Honduras” t-shirts to fruits and other local produce. It was a noisy, bustling market with a range of customers. We also met with several local businesses, including a well-known souvenir store and coffee shop. Both meetings provided valuable insight into the types of products that sell well in the city, and what kinds of goods tourists look for to take home to their families.”


“With the goal of buying local peanuts in mind, our team traveled to Guatemala City to meet the Mani+ team and see their operation. The people at NutriPlus are committed to their mission of reducing chronic childhood malnutrition, and their engagement makes NutriPlus an exciting company to partner with. Everyone we worked with was helpful, knowledgeable about their field, and motivated to develop a great product to combat a devastating problem.”

“In addition to long hours spent interviewing staff, we were able to see first-hand some of the projects WK is actively engaged in. On our first day, we broke into teams of three and went with two WK community health workers out to the rural homes of families participating in a nutrition program for 0-1 year-olds. We were able to sit in on prenatal visits, and some of our team went out into the rural communities with the WK team of midwives to meet with local providers. Seeing the impact WK has on local communities inspired us all to work for significant change.”

The Monkey Project

“Monday – We drove back out to Comas. In the morning, we sat in on an entrepreneurial/marketing class attended by several local women who own their own micro-businesses. We were very impressed by these women, their talent, dedication and efforts. We also got to sample the delicious treats of the women who own baking businesses.”

Team Hydrojet

“On the ground, the team toured CAMO and learned about the services provided to the community and throughout the region. The team also learned about INSA, the social enterprise arm of CAMO that generates income through the sale of medical equipment, such as crutches. Additionally, the team toured the CAMO warehouse, where donations from the US are stored and then distributed to hospitals and clinics throughout Honduras as needed. They met with the Chief Operating Officer at CAMO to update the cost analysis data the previous team compiled. The team was also able to complete a needs assessment for future implementation of Hydrojet within the CAMO model.”


“Our time in country was invaluable to achieving high-quality deliverables. While in Ghana we met with peer organizations, institutions, and held strategy sessions with co-founder Dr. Tom Tagoe. The strategy sessions centered on using the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas from Strategyzer to clearly layout the capacity and value proposition opportunities within the organization.”