Updates from the Celo Social Impact Collective

Dear Celo Community,

I am Angelo Kalaw and I am leading the Social Impact Collective at the Celo Foundation. We have begun 2023 with positivity that we will continue to make headway in utilizing blockchain and Web3 towards financial inclusion and shared prosperity. Since the launch of the Social Impact Collective in July 2022 at Celo Connect Paris, we’ve come a long way in supporting the Celo ecosystem in this mission.

As a community, the past year proved to be difficult and turbulent - as the collapse of various crypto projects eroded the trust in the industry and inevitably affected even Web3 builders and projects oriented towards social good. It was not a walk in the park, notwithstanding the escalation of global conflicts, the worsening inflation across economies and the bumpy recovery from the pandemic. Yet this has not stopped us from advancing different use cases in Web3. A more inclusive and regenerative economy really entails patience and hard work. In fact, the down market helped shift the attention away from speculative use cases and towards showcasing the technology’s immense potential to accelerate real world social impact.

Looking Back
2022 was exciting as we pushed the agenda of blockchain for impact. Here is a glimpse of our progress across the five pillars of our work to date:

  • To develop real world use cases, we completed several projects that tested innovative applications of blockchain, including:
    • Access to undercollateralized credit featuring the employer-based lending project with Mercy Corps Ventures, Cinch Markets and KotaniPay in Kenya;
    • Digital microwork where we showcased the utility of Celo payment rails through a project with the UN World Food Programme; and
    • Humanitarian aid where Umoja successfully delivered digital cash assistance and support to local economies in Ecuador (women and children migrants) and Haiti (disaster-affected communities) [results will be out soon!].
  • To enable impact-oriented builders, the Collective also supported the Build With Celo Hackathon, which saw 56 participants proposing social impact oriented ideas.
  • To build the social impact community in Web3, the 2% for Web3 Impact Initiative was launched at the Global Impact Investment Forum 2022 in the Hague, Netherlands, announcing our commitment to help onboard 100+ impact investors to Web3 and make their first investment in the space.
  • To pursue thought leadership, we participated across online platforms and IRL conferences around the world, aiming to deepen the discourse on the intersection between Web3 and social impact. We hosted various Twitter spaces on thematic issues such as withstanding the market downturn for impact projects, impact investing in Web3, and a year-end review. We also participated in various panels such as empowering communities through decentralization at the Financial Inclusion Week, mobilizing social action through impact tokens at ETH Safari Kenya, and funding the revolution for good at the Philippine Web3 Summit.

We are also very proud of the work that our community does. Our members still made significant strides in 2022. For example, impactMarket, a decentralized human empowerment protocol, distributed an equivalent of US$3.02 million among 47,431 beneficiaries globally, while EthicHub, an impact investing platform, extended US$2.4M in credit to more than 600 families of smallholder farmers in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras and Mexico. We are also very humbled and honored when Celo was awarded the Crypties Social Impact Award in 2022.

Marching Forward in 2023
For the momentum to be sustained, we need to work together and closer. Collaboration is essential as we aspire to make a dent in longstanding issues we collectively care about - including poverty, lack of financial access, climate change. In 2023, the Social Impact Collective will continue to support Celo’s mission to be the “Home of ReFi,” and catalyze innovations towards a regenerative economy.

Our efforts will be directed towards the following:

  • Growing the Movement. From our initial launch partners, we aim to bring in more organizations to shape the impact in Web3 space. We are excited to announce our new partners, including GoodDollar, University of California Berkeley, PositiveBlockchain.com and Equity Alliance Fund. They bring deep experience in financial inclusion and impact, and we aim to leverage on their membership to SIC to test and scale use cases, support more social impact builders and deepen the knowledge about Web3 and impact.

This year, we wish to bring more investors, development foundations, academia, non-profit and international organizations to join the Collective and connect them with builders in the space.

We are also cognizant of the need to encourage more investments for social impact in Web3. Through the 2% for Web3 Impact Initiative, we also hope to bring more sources of capital for Celo founders and entrepreneurs to innovate and scale.

  • Nurturing and Scaling Use Cases. Our belief remains the same that robust real world use cases will not only usher sustainable recovery in the crypto market, but also support long term adoption of Web3 as a technology.

We will continue to support the scaling of use cases we explored in 2022, including humanitarian aid, decentralized credit and digital work. Soon, we will be publishing our approach and strategy to each of these use cases. Our collaboration with projects in the Celo ecosystem across DeFi, climate, NFTs, on and offramps, wallets, gaming among others is critical to success.

At the same time, we will launch new use cases on the Celo blockchain. In the first quarter alone, we are executing/have executed the following:

  • A blockchain-powered credit facility for rural community agents with Grameen Foundation to help them improve their delivery of financial services;

  • A measure-to-earn project with Gainforest to support local communities towards mangrove reforestation in the Philippines; and

  • A decentralized insurance project with Etherisc to increase resilience of farmers in East Africa.

    Stay tuned!

  • Tracking and Focusing on Impact. Web3 adoption becomes more meaningful when it directly contributes to the outcomes we aspire for, that is a regenerative economy where every individual and community has an opportunity to prosper. We continue to build a framework to showcase our impact, and help mainstream the idea that real success goes beyond TVL, revenue and capital onchain.

Towards this end, the revision of the Celo’s Theory of Change is ongoing, and we will soon share our latest thinking on tracking and measuring our impact as an L1. We also proactively engage with academics and practitioners on how we could evaluate our work, specifically understanding the additionality of Web3 to outcomes we observe.

We also announced the Real World Impact Award in the last Kuneco call in 2022 - where we aim to award builders that successfully demonstrate scale and real world impact through their projects built on Celo. More details will come soon!

We couldn’t be more grateful to the Celo community for your overwhelming support, and the shared enthusiasm for our vision of a regenerative economy. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us (angelo.kalaw@celo.org or socialimpact@celo.org) for your ideas, suggestions and feedback. We look forward to stronger collaborations this year!


This is incredible to see. Thank you for sharing.

This is awesome work!

Congrats Angelo!