Posts

Social Entrepreneurship in Developing CountriesToday, social entrepreneurship is growing rapidly in size, scope and support. An unprecedented number of organizations are using entrepreneurship as a strategy to address social problems like poverty, at-risk youth and hunger. Social entrepreneurs are developing creative and innovative organizations that give people the tools, education and resources to become an entrepreneur. As entrepreneurs, they can serve their own communities, improving health, decreasing hunger, creating safer environments and accessing clean water. Here are five organizations using social entrepreneurship to help create jobs in developing countries.

5 Examples of Social Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

  1. The Adventure Project
    The Adventure Project works in developing countries seeking out partnerships with organizations creating jobs for their communities. Some organizations include KickStart, LifeLine, Living Goods, Water for People, and WaterAid. The organization chooses partners based on their measurable social impact, a proven track record of success, and readiness to scale. Since its inception, the Adventure Project has empowered 798 people to find a job. This has led to thriving local economies, improved environmental conditions and even reduced mortality rates. In Kenya, cooking over an open fire posed a huge health risk to both people and the environment. Now, stoves are made and sold locally. Masons create stoves and vendors earn commissions for their sales. And because they’re using 50 percent less charcoal, families are saving 20 percent of daily expenses. In other countries, villagers have been trained as health care agents, selling more than 60 products at affordable prices. These health care agents also care for more than 800 people in their communities.
  2. Indego Africa
    Indego Africa is a nonprofit social enterprise that supports women in Rwanda through economic empowerment and education. This enterprise aims to break intergenerational cycles of poverty. To do so, Indego Africa provides female artisans with the tools and support necessary to become independent businesswomen and drive local development.Partnering with 18 cooperatives of female artisans, Indego Africa sells handcrafted products through an e-commerce site, collaborations with designers and brands and at boutiques worldwide. To develop their entrepreneurial skills, Indego Africa provides artisans with training in quality control, design and product management. Indego currently employs over 600 women, 58 percent of whom make over $2 a day. According to the World Bank, $2 a day marks the entry point into Africa’s growing middle class.
  3. Mercardo Global
    Mercardo Global is a social enterprise organization that links indigenous artisans in rural Latin American communities to international sales opportunities. As a result, this organization helps provide sustainable income-earning opportunities, access to business training and community-based education programs. Mercado Global also increases access to microloans for technology, such as sewing machines and floor looms. Mercado Global believes income alone cannot solve long-term problems. Therefore, the organization focuses on both business education and leadership training. In doing so, Mercado Global enables artisans to address systemic problems within their communities. Artisans are given microloans, ideally to purchase equipment that allows them to work more efficiently. They then pay back their loans, allowing another artisan to attain one. Forty-four percent of Mercado Global entrepreneurs held a leadership position within their cooperatives in the last three years. Ninety-six percent participate in the finances of their households. And 77 percent of women voted in their last community election.
  4. Solar Sister
    Everyone should have access to clean energy. And the team behind Solar Sister believes women are a key part of the solution to the clean energy challenge. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 600 million people have no access to electricity. Moreover, more than 700 million must rely on harmful fuels. However, women bear the majority burden of this energy poverty and disproportionately shoulder the harmful effects. In order to address this issue and create more equity around clean energy and economic opportunities, Solar Sister invests in women’s enterprises in off-grid communities. By doing so, the Solar Sister team builds networks of women entrepreneurs. Women are first given access to clean, renewable energy. Then, they participate in a direct sales network to build sustainable businesses. Centering local women in a rapidly growing clean energy sector is essential to eradicating poverty. This allows helps achieve sustainable solutions to climate change and a host of development issues. Evidence shows the income of self-employed rural women with access to energy is more than double the income of those without access to energy. For rural female wage or salary workers, access to energy is correlated with 59 percent higher wages. Solar Sister is currently helping over 1,200 entrepreneurs. The team is also partnering with Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Sustainable Energy for All, U.N. Women and Women in Solar Energy.
  5. United Prosperity
    United Prosperity is a nonprofit organization providing an online lending platform connecting lenders to poor entrepreneurs across the globe. A Kiva-like peer-to-peer loaning system allows anyone with spare cash to guarantee loans to entrepreneurs in need. Lenders select the entrepreneur they want to support and lend any amount they wish. United Prosperity then consolidates the loan amount and passes it on to the entrepreneur through a local bank. For every $1 given by the lender, the bank makes a nearly $2 loan to the entrepreneur through a partner Microfinance Institution (MFI). Once a loan or a loan guarantee has been made, the entrepreneur’s progress is tracked online. When loans are repaid, lenders get their money back. They then have the opportunity to recycle it by lending or guaranteeing the loan to another entrepreneur. These microloans aim to help entrepreneurs, mostly women, grow their small businesses. United Prosperity has transferred more than $280,000 in loans to 1,300 entrepreneurs. Moreover, MFI helps build entrepreneurs’ credit history with local banking systems, thus encouraging more banks to lend to them.

These organizations are wonderful examples of how social enterprises have effectively empowered locals in the social entrepreneurship space. Through innovation, investment in local resources and talent, and measurement practices, these organizations have helped social entrepreneurs around the world to scale and grow. In doing so, they also address social problems like poverty, at-risk youth and hunger in their community. The results have been improved health, increased economic opportunities, safer environments and increased access to clean water and energy.

Leroy Adams
Photo: Flickr

golden women visionFor more than 30 years, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, terrorized the northern region of Uganda and murdering its people. It is estimated that the LRA has abducted more than 67,000 adolescents to use as child soldiers, sex slaves and porters. Organizations like Golden Women Vision are giving hope back to the citizens of Uganda.

The Destruction Left Behind

Golden Women Vision works to improve the social-economic status of the people left vulnerable from the insurgency. Even after the conflict ended, the terror continued for many victims. Women were left battered and lost, some without limbs or living with bullet wounds. Widows were left without husbands and single mothers had their children taken by the LRA. These women were at a disadvantage for even basic survival.

“The real victims are the many who are in dire need of even finding what they need to eat on a daily basis,” said Joyce Freda Apio, a Kampala-based transitional justice expert, regarding how the insurgency left many without a source of income and stability.

Giving Women Hope

Sylvia Acan was one of those women severely affected by the insurgency. She lost her family to the conflict and was sexually assaulted at the age of 17. Acan had to marry her attacker when she learned she was pregnant. In an effort to learn to provide for herself, Acan signed up with a nongovernmental organization called Caritas. Caritas trained women affected by the conflict in catering services to help them recover and reintegrate with society.

By 2008, Acan learned how to bake, gained business skills and realized the importance of financial savings. She also realized her skills could positively impact the lives of women around her. The traditionally patriarchal society of northern Uganda limited the potential of women. Many females affected by the insurgency were stuck in the cycle of poverty and hopelessness.

Golden Women Vision

Sylvia Acan is the founder and director of Global Women Vision. She started the organization to change the futures of these women. The community-based organization trains women and girls with income-generating skills like baking, making soap or creating paper beads. With 84 members since its beginnings in 2011, the Golden Women Vision helps victims regain a sense of control and sufficiency. She states that she will “spend the rest of her life on this earth” creating activities and possibilities for the survivors of that brutal time.

Golden Women Vision works to provide women the skills and knowledge necessary for self-sustenance. By teaching women how to create financial independence and security through their own means, they can be more successful throughout life. By forging a positive future and peace within the community, the organization not only teaches the women how to financially survive but also builds bonds with each other.

“There is no one helping us so we are helping ourselves,” Acan said. “The world should see what women are capable of doing.”

– Jenny S Park

Cuddle+Kind Feeds ChildrenA fast-growing social business, Cuddle+Kind feeds children in need by donating ten meals for every handknit doll sold and empowers female Peruvian artisans through fair-trade jobs.

A Global Need for Food

One in seven people worldwide are hungry, and one in nine do not have enough food to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. A reduced diet causes 45 percent of deaths in children under five, which adds up to 3.1 million children every year.

Cuddle+Kind, founded by Derek and Jennifer Woodgate, was created with the aim of reducing these numbers and feeding hungry children around the world. The couple was inspired by their three young children and how heartbroken they would be if they could not feed and provide for them. The Woodgates have a background in health, so they understood the important role that nutrition plays in a child’s life.

The couple spent a year establishing partnerships with artisans in Peru and designing the dolls. Dolls in all different types of animals are available, including dogs, foxes, cats and bunnies. Each comes with a unique name and personality. Cuddle+Kind officially launched in September 2015 on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.com. In just seven weeks, the company sold enough dolls to donate 163,543 meals.

How Cuddle+Kind Feeds Children

Since its beginning, Cuddle+Kind has moved to its own website but maintains the same mission of providing ten meals for every doll sold. The company aims to provide one million meals to children in need every year. The meals are provided through several partnerships with nonprofits, including the World Food Program, the Children’s Hunger Fund, the Breakfast Club of Canada and several orphanages in Haiti. Through these organizations, Cuddle+Kind feeds children around the world and has donated more than 4,452,292 meals since 2015.

Proper nutrition leads to an increase in school attendance and improved educational performance. Girls have higher school attendance when food is not an issue. Additionally, a child’s psychosocial and emotional development has been linked to proper diet and eating habits. Children who are not fed regularly do not develop the same bonds with a caregiver that is typically established. When a family or community shares a meal there is a social component that a child is exposed to and learns from. As Cuddle+Kind feeds children, it provides them the ability to reach higher academically and grow to be stronger, more capable people.

Empowering Women in Peru

In addition to improving the lives of children, Cuddle+Kind empowers women in Peru by providing them sustainable, fair-trade income for creating the dolls they sell. The business has created over 500 jobs for Peruvian artisans, which is needed in a country where only 39.6 percent of women work in wage or salaried positions as compared to 50.1 percent of men.

Being a socially-minded organization, Cuddle+Kind feeds children with the motive of continually improving the world. As a business that works for the good of children in need and emboldens creative women, Cuddle+Kind is blazing a path of kindness and generosity that will have unending benefits for those they reach.

– Sarah Dean
Photo: Flickr