For 15 years the World Bank Group’s Development Marketplace (DM) has identified innovative social entrepreneurs who tackle service delivery bottlenecks that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest populations. Originally a competitive grants program, the DM has grown over the years into a multi-faceted program that identifies these entrepreneurs, analyzes their specific needs, and maps out the problems they face and the solutions they offer. Through this approach, the DM is able to assist these organizations in breaking down service delivery barriers so that other social entrepreneurs and the public sector can follow their lead: eventually helping to create a world free of extreme poverty and raising incomes so that we all share in the world’s prosperity.
In September 2012 and as part of its Brown Bag Lunch (BBL) series, the Development Marketplace (DM) team hosted a discussion entitled “Social Entrepreneurship Opportunities & Challenges in MENA: Presentations from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine” where we invited Synergos Social Innovators to share their experiences from the region.
Much like the kinds of social enterprises the DM hopes to support in Egypt, Synergos also supports social innovators in the region to fulfill unmet needs for the poor and marginalized. Synergos is a non-profit that mobilizes resources and bridges social and economic divides to reduce poverty and increase equity around the world.
The Synergos Arab World Social Innovators (AWSI) program was launched in 2008 with leadership and funding from the US Agency for International Development. AWSI supports nearly 40 civil society leaders serving poor and marginalized communities in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and the United Arab Emirates. Social innovators are pioneers of change in their communities and offer original approaches, methods, and solutions to address social and economic problems.
For more information on the event you can access the full report here.
النسخة العربية من المقالة متوفرة على هذا الرابط.
Ranya Abdel-Baki is the former Executive Director of Sanabel, The Microfinance Network of Arab countries. Ranya spoke with the World Bank Development Marketplace about the state of the Microfinance sector and Microfinance Institutions (MFI) in the region. Based on her several years leading Sanabel, she also explains why MFIs have been seen by many as the only sustainable and financially viable inclusive business or social enterprise1 model in the region.
Jill Richmond: Can you talk about the impacts of Arab Spring on MFI’s in the region, if any, and its direct impact (both sustaining and non-sustaining) on your clients?
Ranya Abdel-Baki: We ran a successful workshop last November where practitioners from Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Syria gathered and shared their experiences, lessons learned and future challenges. Naturally, the crisis impacts vary from country to country, and also within each country impacts sometimes varied amongst MFIs depending on their geographical locations (especially the case for Egypt).
While we have not yet completed the data collection for December 2011, we believe that total outreach for the region is going to stagnate or drop for 2011. From the workshop we made some interesting discoveries. You would think that MFIs would only be focused on institutional survival, but they have been putting their clients’ needs ahead of their own. We've seen Enda in Tunisia, for example, providing support - not only to its own clients but also to refugees from neighboring Libya. In Egypt, the First Microfinance Foundation (FMF) organized exhibitions for clients during the revolution to help them market and sell their products during these difficult times. Abyan Program, one of the hardest hit MFIs in Yemen, continued disbursements and collections even under circumstances that have forced most of the staff and clients to flee Abyan Governorate.
Jill Richmond: In many interviews you talk extensively about the importance of contingency plans. What other lessons can be taken from the experience of MFIs during the Arab Spring?
Find out more about the social enterprise movement in Egypt. This timely piece from BBC that features some exciting social enterprises ranging from roof-top gardening to paper made from recycled agriculture waste.
Development Marketplace partners, Iman Bibars from Ashoka and Magdi Amin from the International Finance Corporation (a co-sponsor of the upcoming Egypt DM) highlight important barriers blocking the movement's growth and hindering its ability to keep pace with demand for improved goods and services to the poor.
Before the Arab Spring, numerous Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries appeared to be performing well on several developmental fronts, showing impressive growth rates and improving business climate indicators. However, many of those who took to the streets believed that this growth only benefited a privileged minority. In that context, the Development Marketplace (DM) team is publishing a series of blog posts that aim to stir a debate and discussion to explore how the MENA region can adopt a new development model for competitive economies to create decent jobs while promoting sustainable development, social justice and equity.
The purpose of the blog series will be to help us all gain better understanding of the potential, opportunities and challenges facing inclusive business, inclusive finance and social entrepreneurship in the region. The blog posts will be released periodically leading to the launch of the Egypt DM Competition. The Call for Proposals is scheduled to be released and circulated the first week of November 2012.
The India DM is focused on identifying Inclusive Business Models that can scale impact in the States of Bihar, Rajasthan and Orissa. Inclusive business models are those offering goods/ services and contributing to income generation of the poor in financially sustainable and scalable ways. They productively integrate those living at the base of the economic pyramid into their value chains as consumers, producers and/or distributors.
"All people want to do is live their lives." Dr. Suneeta Singh made that simple yet powerful statement during a panel discussion on “Empowering Gender Minorities in South Asia” on March 14, 2012 at the World Bank. Singh, a former Bank staffer and CEO of consulting firm Amaltas, spoke via videoconference from Delhi, India, while Nepal’s first openly gay elected official, Sunil Babu Pant, dialed in from Kathmandu.
Pant told the story of how he built a grassroots movement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people in Nepal, beginning in 2001. A turning point was in 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled that gay and transgendered people “are natural” and mandated certain benefits and an end to discriminatory laws. Today, the country is drafting a new constitution, and Pant said that if passed, it will be one of the most progressive in the world with regard to the rights of sexual and gender minorities.
We begin 2012 with an overview of key developments in social entrepreneurship in 2011. As we scan the landscape we note four key findings of 2011 as the field continues to mature. The underlying trends continue to point to the idea that everyone can be responsible for advancing change and impact. This is manifested in the way we are seeing a continued democratization of the movement, a growing emergence of a new demographic of changemakers and discovery that collaboration and peer-to-peer networks continues to be on the rise.
1. An Uptick in Blended Funding Solutions for Social Entrepreneurs
Fact: Social enterprises (SEs) simply cannot be carried by a single source of funding. They need to look at different ways of blending capital to create the largest social impact. SEs are becoming more resourceful in the way they seek funding, and some of the most successful enterprises are using a range of capital sources: seed funding and impact investments, to government grants and CSR funds.
This is the first of many multi-lingual blog post to come. It will appear in both English and Arabic.
High rates of youth unemployment across the Middle East and North Africa were a major catalyst for the Arab Spring revolutions. To help address this pressing issue, the Development Marketplace is preparing for a country-level competition in Egypt early next year. The proposed DM competition will focus on social entrepreneurs with projects that have a strong impact on creating sustainable job opportunities, especially for low-income and marginalized groups. The main focus of the Egypt DM will be on supporting projects in the agricultural supply chain sector.
In order to understand the bigger picture of social entrepreneurship in Egypt, I spoke with Ehaab Abdou, who recently joined the Development Marketplace team to develop the Egypt DM program. Prior to coming to the Bank Ehaab was an Ashoka Fellow and advisor for the Middle East Youth Initiative at Brookings. For Ehaab, there are three main challenges facing social entrepreneurship in the MENA region and in Egypt in particular:
Villgro, one of the largest incubators and funders of social enterprises in India, is hosting its annual Unconvention from December 1-3. Unlike other platforms, this event attracts people at the intersection of innovation and social enterprise with a clear focus on social impact and generating replicable models. I will be presenting at a panel discussion on December 3rd called Mainstreaming Your Social Business.
At the World Bank, we realize that public goods cannot be provided exclusively by governments acting alone. Private actors have a clear role to play and not just commercial enterprises. In India as elsewhere, we’re seeing the emergence of enterprises that combine the passion of NGO’s with the efficiency of business to address government and market failures. This is an extremely exciting possibility for the Bank and for our client Governments to consider. How do we encourage these actors to complement the State and how do we harness innovations around public goods to better serve the poor? The Development Marketplace is but one of many programs we support to surface, support, and diffuse innovation. The role of the Bank’s Innovation Practice is to pay attention to what’s going on around us and use the convening power and resources of the Bank to shine a light on innovations in development and scale-up what works.
Follow me @AlWalji. I’ll be posting on #devmarket, #Innovation, #alchemix throughout the event.
From more on the Unconvention read the interview of Sucharita Kamath at Vilgro as she describes how the Unconvention will convene different players in the social enterprise ecosystem in India to achieve broad-based social impact.
This article was originally published on http://www.nextbillion.net/. NextBillion is a website and blog bringing together a community in the shared mission of development through enterprise.
Unconvention 2011 Hones in on Landing Top Socent Talent
Since its launch in 2011, Villgro has identified and assisted approximately 2,000 social innovators and positively impacted the lives of more than 360,000 people living in rural India. The organization's strength lies in finding innovators and entrepreneurs, providing skill, development and critical access to networks and other resources necessary to take their innovations to the marketplace. Critical to its continued success is the ability to connect with more homegrown geniuses just waiting to be discovered in every corner of India.