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Rob Whiting: 2009-10

Mission Statement

As a 2009-2010 Keegan Traveling Fellow, I will travel to a variety of countries to investigate poverty and poverty alleviation. Specifically, my goals will be to 1) better understand poverty and the poor, and 2) research the impact that for-profit, Bottom of the Pyramid, and social business organizations can have on poverty. I plan to accomplish these goals through several mediums: volunteering, interning, home stays, formal and informal interviews, and even casual chats with strangers. To gain a holistic understanding of my issue, the countries I have chosen represent a broad spectrum, some with stagnant poverty and others with poverty-in-transition; some with a high degree of social entrepreneurship and others with a low degree.

It is my hope that my investigation will make others aware of the variety of tools available to fight poverty outside of traditional models, and inspire others to work toward a peaceful and poverty-free world. Personally, I would like to use the knowledge gained on this trip to join a poverty alleviation organization that matches my conception of the best model, and in the more distant future, possibly start my own.


  • July 1 – August 19: Bangladesh. BRAC: tackles poverty from a holistic viewpoint, transitioning individuals from being aid recipients to becoming empowered citizens; world's largest non-governmental organization by number of staff.
  • August 20 – September 30: China. Volunteered with Ventures in Development's social enterprise Mei Xiang Yak Cheese.
  • October 1 – November 31: India
  • December 1 – March 1: Mozambique
  • March 2 – March 17: South Africa
  • March 18 – June 6: Mozambique and Malawi Nutriset (Plumpy'nut): Plumpy'nut is a peanut-based food for use in famine relief sold by Nutriset.
  • June 8 – July 1: Zimbabwe
  • July 2 – July 9: South Africa
  • July 10 – September 30: Ghana
  • October 1 – October 18: Cote d'Ivoire