How We Work

How we work

We developed tenets, borrowing an approach used by leaders at Amazon, to guide our strategic decision making.  Tenets represent our aspiration as well as help us make tough trade-offs and choices.

OHBD Fund Tenets

  • 1

    Our scope is Ethiopia, K-14, and education

    Although our approach is applicable to other regions with similar challenges, we need to focus our efforts to be successful.  We believe education is broader than formal schooling.  

  • 2

    We run like a business

    Having been a business executive for more than a decade, our founder wanted to take the best of a business approach to drive accountability as well as to generate faster and more impactful results.  We set big, bold goals and hold ourselves accountable to achieve them. We use experiments and pilots to test before making a larger investment.

  • 3

    We identify game changers, reimagine, reinvent and innovate

    We look for efforts that, although they may present uniquely difficult challenges, if solved, will have a disproportionate impact.  We also identify areas where there is no organization currently focused on solving a key challenge.  

  • 4

    Our projects close important gaps

    Our projects search for gaps that have a need for us to design a results oriented solution. For example, our OHBD Ready Set Go Book Project is designed to close the key gap that exists in the lack of sufficient engaging early reader content.  

  • 5

    We design to scale and include measures of success

    We want to take the business approach to building scale into each project over a period of years.  For example, when the Ready Set Go Books project came to us, it was in the experimental (or “development” or “start-up”) stage with a few prototype books and one successful field testing in a rural area of Ethiopia. We redesigned to scale by developing publishing, printing and distribution capacity. 

  • 6

    We collaborate with those who build local capacity

    We know our limitations.  Working in Ethiopia requires unique skills, knowledge and relationships.  Many are already doing great work there.  We want to work with those who are innovating, willing to collaborate, have bold goals and are focused on increasing local capacity. 

  • 7

    Supporters trust us because we measure and disclose our impact

    We know trust is critical if we are asking people to donate their precious time, talents and funds. We honor that trust by measuring and disclosing the impact of our projects and programs as much as possible. We also share impact stories since they show what is possible and have power to inspire people. 

  • 8

    Our results inspire involvement and encourage collaboration

    We want game changers and results that inspire others to get involved.