on Social Innovation
Join us for events each fall
About the Events
The Duke-UNICEF Virtual Forum on Social Innovation showcases social innovation and entrepreneurship around the world.
Each event harnesses lessons learned from the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator—a unique partnership between Duke University and the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that identifies and strengthens social enterprises tackling the greatest WASH challenges facing children around the world.
Watch EVENTS from our 2022 forum
Social Enterprise Journeys
Meet and learn from extraordinary social entrepreneurs who have chosen the often uneven path of the global changemaker. In this discussion we explore how personal experiences, adversity, and a deep commitment to social change can lead us to embark on journeys to change the world.
Fireside Chat with HappyTap Founder
In this firesidechat with Project Lead of HappyTap, Geoff Revell, hear about his journey to start, build, and scale HappyTap, a social enterprise changing everything about handwashing. The HappyTap is revolutionizing the way we tackle a serious global issue – infectious disease. It’s not a new type of antibiotic or clinical therapy, but a portable plastic sink that brings water and soap together in a convenient and attractive place.
Fireside Chat with Kidogo Founders
In this intimate conversation with co-founders, Sabrina Habib, Chief Exploration Officer, and Afzal Habib, Director, learn about their journey to start, build, and scale Kidogo, a social enterprise dedicated to providing high-quality childcare and livelihoods for vulnerable women across Kenya.
2022 Innovation Showcase
Check out the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator’s Innovator Showcase where you’ll meet 14 social enterprise teams tackling the world’s biggest challenges facing children today across Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.
Women-Led Entrepreneurship, Innovation, & Excellence
Jump into the conversation on female leadership in entrepreneurial spaces! Co-hosted by Duke-UNICEF and Duke Business-Oriented Women, spend an hour with several inspiring female entrepreneurs as they speak about their experience, past and present projects, and advice for aspiring innovators.
Social Innovation Around the World
“What does Social Innovation look like around the world?” – a conversation on social innovation worldwide! Spend an hour with several inspiring entrepreneurs as they speak about their experiences in the water and sanitation industry, past and present projects, and advice for aspiring global innovators.
Thank You To Our Speakers
We are so thankful to have welcomed over 20 social entrepreneurs throughout the week!
Peninah Ndegwa is the founder and managing director of Wow Mom LTD. She is a passionate urban/ transport Planner and sustainability enthusiast keen on the use of new technologies that build resilient, adaptive and sustainable cities that improve quality of life for all. She strongly believes that if children needs are not articulated when designing urban spaces, they are deprived experiences that could positively impact their adult life. She is keen to see inclusion of children in all aspects especially sanitation matters in Kenya and Beyond.
SmartGirls Foundation Uganda
Jamila Mayanja has 8 years’ experience working with profit making companies and Social ventures. As she was taking her bachelor degree at MUBS she was hired to join the marketing team of one of the top SMS companies in Uganda where she gained her expe-rience as a professional marketer, while working at SMSOne (U) Ltd, She also volunteered in a number of Non Profit Organizations like IRI’s Green Light Movement and became a member of the Generation Change US Chapter.
In 2012 she resigned from her job and started a social venture called Smart Girls Uganda a not for profit company that empowers young girls and women through trainings to build their self-esteem. Because of her work, she was chosen to be part of the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African leaders’ initiative for the business track at Dartmouth college, during the fellowship President Obama recognized her for curbing youth unemployment and her Smart Bags 4 Girls idea was selected as one of the top ideas on the Openideo Young People’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Challenge. She is also a Ugandan young achiv-ers award nominee, who has featured in a number of media platforms to talk about the impact of her work on the empowerment Ugandan girls and women.
Chukwuma Nnanna, founder and Executive director of Toiletpride is a social entrepreneur and social inclusion promoter passionate about increasing access to adequate and equitable sanitation for poor households in Africa. Within the last 5 years, Chukwuma has been active working with organizations and individuals to provide innovative solutions for strengthening Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools and communities across Nigeria.
In 2020, Chukwuma launched the Accelerating Access to Rural Sanitation in Nigeria (AATRISAN) project, designed to reduce open defecation and improve access to sanitation and safe hygiene Practices in Nigeria through market-based approaches. Currently, Chukwuma leads an amazing team at Toiletpride where they work to promote disability inclusive approaches to WASH interventions in communities and urban towns. He is a member of the technical working group for the Clean Nigeria campaign and National Task group on Sanitation (NTGS) in Nigeria.
Samir Lakhani is a social entrepreneur dedicated to restoring health and dignity in developing countries. Samir has also founded solar lighting and climate-resilient agricultural social enterprises in Asia and Africa. Samir has received a CNN Heroes Award, Forbes 30 under 30 award, Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award, Rotary International Peacebuilding Award, amongst others. He also recently gave a TEDx Talk. He is an environmental science graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA.
Rung is a period activist, women’s health advocate, and Femtech entrepreneur in Thailand. Rung is pushing for a change in her society by normalising and improving menstrual hygiene: standing up for period rights, removing period poverty and stigma, and making period products safer, healthier and more sustainable.
Rung founded Ira Concept in 2020, which combines her background in Biology and passion for sustainability and gender equality. She designed the most organic and biodegradable sanitary pads in Southeast Asia. Ira means that women in Thailand have a healthy, sustainable, accessible and affordable option for managing their periods. To match ira’s innovative products, they’ve built a flexible and customisable subscription platform, bringing their period products into modern-day e-commerce. Ira has also partnered with hotels and schools to make menstrual welfare the norm, so that pads are available where and when people need them most.
Rung has made sure that ira offers more than just products, but also acts as a movement that provides menstrual education, battles misinformation, and takes action against period poverty. Rung has led multiple “ira for all” initiatives to provide sanitary pads to those in need within Thailand and its neighbouring countries, with over 40,000 pads donated so far. She has worked with both private and public sectors to outline and implement new policies surrounding period products and menstrual education as well as welfare schemes focusing on gender equality. Through ira’s novel products, technology and initiatives, Rung makes her voice heard and takes real action in the fight for period rights throughout Asia.
Te Maeu Projects
Eritai Kateibwi is founder of Te Maeu Projects, which has developed the Island Compact Toilet, with integrated shower and handwashing stations, novel for Kirabiti.
Eritai was named the United Nation Young Champion of the Earth for Asia Pacific in 2017. In 2021, he was awarded the Kiribati National Order (Ana Kamoamoa Kiribati (A.K.K) from the government Head of State President Mamau.
He has been actively involved in his home country with his organization Te Maeu Projects to help solve and address the sanitation and farming problem with innovative ideas since he graduated in 2016
He loves to spend time with his family and friends, and enjoy outdoor activities, especially in the ocean.
Duke Smart Toilet Lab
Thank you to the changemakers impacting the lives of millions of children and people around the world.
Our Previous Events
2021 Virtual Forum Kickoff
The Duke-UNICEF Virtual Forum on Social Innovation, a week-long event exploring Sustainable Development Goal 6, clean water and sanitation for all, through the lens of social innovation and entrepreneurship. This welcome panel will feature experts from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply (JMP), UNICEF WASH, Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator entrepreneurs discussing progress towards SDG 6 and the work that still needs to be done.
Panel Discussion: The Catastrophic Nexus of Climate and Wash
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently reported on the intensifying impacts of climate change globally. Climate changes are happening rapidly and the future will certainly be hotter than ever before. Experts in climate change from Duke and UNICEF will discuss where we are with this catastrophic change and what is being done in the WASH space.
Panel Discussion: WASH Lean Prototyping
Low-cost and low-risk experimentation is the name of the game in lean prototyping in WASH innovation. This panel will explore how novel innovations were created through lean prototyping with the help of strategic partnerships. Speakers include experts from UNICEF and social enterprise teams from the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator.
Panel Discussion: Navigating the Uneven Path
The path to becoming a social entrepreneur is rarely a straight and predictable line. Join serial social entrepreneur and author of the new book The Greater Good: Social Entrepreneurship for Everyday People Who Want to Change the World, Madeleine Shaw, in discussion with four barrier-breaking global social entrepreneurs who will share their personal journeys to creating impact. Join us in this thoughtful conversation about identity, transformation, and navigating the path to creating our vision of the greater good.
Panel Discussion: Innovative Finance in WASH
While SDG 6 aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030, the current level of WASH financing is too low to achieve universal access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation and hygiene. The traditional approach of relying on the public sector isn’t cutting it. We must innovate our financing strategies. Public-private partnerships, impact investing, and other alternatives will be explored in this interactive discussion
Panel Discussion: Careers in Social Innovation
Learn more about building a career in global social innovation from Duke alums and other career vets.
Panel Discussion: Market-Based and Private Sector Engagement
The private sector is central to accelerating progress in sanitation, delivering the products and services that households engage with to build their first toilet, upgrade an existing one, or perhaps to empty their septic tank and treat the waste. Children will benefit when there is a thriving private sector that provides products and services that are more desirable, more convenient, more accessible, and more affordable. Beyond the products and services, we know that public finance and traditional aid alone cannot meet the need for universal and affordable sanitation for all – the financing gap to reach SDG6 remains huge. The private sector can bring new investments and can stimulate, and accelerate, increased household investments in WASH.
Panel Discussion: The Art of Selling WASH
Handwashing stations, latrines, menstrual hygiene products are all products that improve people’s lives, but how do you market and sell quality, affordable products in emerging markets? Join us in a robust discussion about the Art of Selling WASH products and learn from stalwart experts in the field, as well as hear from social enterprises new to the game, trying to create lasting change at scale.
Duke-UNICEF Virtual Forum on Social Innovation Pitch Event
Take a look back at this inspiring morning of pitches from social entrepreneurs solving the world’s biggest challenges facing children today. From solving last-mile distribution of WASH products in Ethiopia, to the Smart Bag, a backpack made from recycled plastics complete a solar panel to light latrines and help girls study after dark, check out this event to hear how these innovators are transforming the lives of girls and women in Africa.