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John Maeda wrote, “Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” For staunch self-proclaimed reverse engineer Piyush Agarwalla, subtracting the obvious, redesigning and reinventing is a way of life. The driving force behind his inventing Venus, a washing machine that costs no more than 1500 rupees, is to ‘make products of high utility affordable for the general masses.’ As he puts it, “Are the benefits of technology only for those who can afford them?” Venus is a washing machine in the strictest definition of the word. It is a machine that washes clothes, but it is by no means...

In this week’s roundup we focus on efforts taken by young social entrepreneurs as they aim to make an impact in the energy and employment sectors. One of the key challenges faces over 1.5 billion people in developing countries access to safe and reliable energy supply. Young professionals from Canberra, Australia are heading to India with the aim of improving the lives of the urban poor by providing access to sustainable technologies including solar lights and improved stoves for cooking. 25,000 people in Bangalore have switched to solar LED lighting in their homes. Staying with setting up ventures in India, NRI venture capitalist...

Mahimahiu, Kenya (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Not many women are clean energy entrepreneurs in Kenya. But poisoned chickens turned Lydia Waithera into one. Waithera, a poultry farmer, began looking for ways to keep her birds alive through the cold nights. Charcoal fires, her first choice, resulted in too many birds dying of carbon monoxide poisoning in their closed coop. So, on the advice of other farmers, she turned to briquettes made of compressed waste materials from sugar and molasses production. The long-burning briquettes worked – even relieving her of the middle-of-the-night drudgery of trudging to the chicken house to stock up the...

In this week’s roundup we promote tiger conservation practices, list the trends in social innovation and share news about investments, programs and competitions in the social impact space. We would like to end this week with some excellent news that the tiger population in India has increased by 30 per cent since 2011. With the figure climbing from 1706 to 2226, India is now home to 70% of the world’s tigers. Tiger conservation practices that had proved successful in India is likely to be adopted in other countries. India is also willing to donate tiger cubs to the international community and...