Betsy Teutsch is the author of 100 Under $100, and is passionate about mobilizing resources for the poorest women all over the world. Betsey is currently making the world a better place as a Judaica artist, blogger, columnist, community organizer and eco-activist. She has also served as Communications Director of GreenMicrofinance, promoting affordable paths out of rural poverty.
She is a founding Board Member of the award-winning ,Shining Hope for Communities and the Kibera School for Girls. Teutsch launched three local chapters of Dining For Women, a national network of giving circles supporting women’s grassroots initiatives.
How did you get into your profession?I backed into this work, it is my 3rd or 4th career. I began writing a monthly column for a local newspaper about a dozen years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I started blogging about 10 years ago and liked that even more. I was interested in both women’s entrepreneurship/poverty alleviation/microfinance and environmental issues, but didn’t see a connection. When I began to search for a mid-50s career expansion I learned how solar power could do all three of those things together – helping women out of poverty and shrinking carbon. I picked technology for women in the developing world as the area on which I would focus.
What is the inspiration behind your work?
I had mission envy! Basically anyone who was doing something to help women out of extreme poverty was my role model. The ingenuity behind using solar panels to bring people out of the dark ages is very compelling!
What is your mission?
My mission is to engender hope and optimism. There are so many ways we can help people have healthier, more secure, less difficult lives.
What’s your life motto?
Go through the open door. It is important to keep at things, but sometimes, just look for a way forward. It might not be the opportunity you were working on, but go for it.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by people who use their imaginations to do big things. Most of us are accustomed to thinking small. I recently met Leslie Udwin at Opportunity Collaboration, a conference of people working on poverty alleviation. She has a vision,ThinkEqual, that is advocating and fighting for every country on the planet to initiate a mandatory social intelligence curriculum for children 3-5! Now that’s bold. They are making remarkable progress and her passion is palpable. And formidable!
What is the biggest success story from your book?
I am heartened by junior high and high school teachers using 100 Under $100 to lead students through crafting solutions to global challenges. I like to think of a STEM star rocking it, maybe building on ideas she read about in book, designing a great solution!
About a year ago, Lisa Kitinoja from the Postharvest Education Foundation invited me to write a new version of my book for her organization. It took about a nanno second to say yes, and I am deeply immersed in learning about the terrible losses of crops in the developing world. PEople struggle to grow food using manual tools, in hot climates, without running water or electricity. And those same deficits mean that at least 1/3 of what they harvest rots or spoils before anyone can eat it.
The 100 tools in the book are all affordable solutions to this problem and they will put more food on the table and more money in farmers pockets– and 50% of those farmers are female.
This is thrilling to me, realizing how much impact this new book will have. It will be distributed as an eBook all over the world, to the remotest rural regions imaginable, via Agricultural Extension Workers. Whoopee! Who would have thought I would be writing about tomato crates, metal storage silos, and harvesting mangoes?
I love it!
To learn more: 100under100.org