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Martin Burt

Martin Burt is a social entrepreneur and global leader. As founder & CEO of Fundación Paraguaya, an NGO devoted to developing solutions to eliminate poverty, he has become a pioneer in microfinance, youth entrepreneurship, financial literacy and technical vocational methodologies in over 30 countries. He is co-founder of Teach a Man to Fish, an NGO based in London that promotes “education that pays for itself” and is founder and CEO of Poverty Stoplight, a new poverty measurement and coaching tool that uses technology to allow families to self-diagnose and eliminate multidimensional poverty. Dr. Burt is a member of the Board of Directors of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship at the World Economic Forum and of the Global Foodbanking Network. He holds a PhD from Tulane University and is a Visiting Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Distinguished Visiting Professor at University of California, Irvine. As a public servant, he was elected Mayor of Asunción and has served as Vice Minister of Commerce and Chief of Staff to the President of Paraguay.

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Fundación Paraguaya
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Hybrid Social Enterprise
Sustainable Development; Education and Skills
Areas of Impact
Africa, Latin America

Fundación Paraguaya

Fundación Paraguaya (FP) was the first microfinance institution in Paraguay and a founding member of the Acción International microfinance network. In 1995, FP pioneered financial literacy and entrepreneurial education in Paraguay, adapting junior achievement methodologies to underprivileged youths. In 2003, it turned a bankrupt boys’ agricultural school into a financially self-sufficient, co-ed school; its 17 educational enterprises now cover the school’s operating costs.

Fundación Paraguaya is a pioneer in sustainable agricultural education, providing 100% employability to poor rural youths through a market-based curriculum in free, quality, 100% financially self-sufficient schools. This education allows students to find agricultural jobs upon graduation, create small enterprises, or enter university. In 2009, a girl’s school was set up in partnership with the Bertoni Nature Conservancy and Mbaracayu Forest Reserve Foundation; and in 2010-11, two more schools joined the education model. In 2007, FP committed to “education-that-pays-for-itself” under the Clinton Global Initiative, replicating its model in 50 schools globally. There are now more than 50 partner organizations in 30 countries replicating the model. In 2011, Fundación set up offices in Morogoro and Njombe, Tanzania, sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, FP disseminates this model through its London-based partner, TeachAManToFish, which has a network of 2,500 institutions in over 125 countries. Fundación Paraguaya has also developed an inclusive approach to poverty measurement and elimination, with a pilot project addressing 50 tangible and intangible poverty indicators being implemented in five women’s loan groups since June 2010. In 2011, the incomes of 6,000 women rose above the national poverty line; in 2012, the income of 5,050 families rose above the poverty line, while 550 women were lifted out of poverty in all of FP’s 50 poverty indicators.