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Found the technology..but do you have insights for its social adoption?

Parvathi Menon's picture
This research was done as a part of the Alchemix Blog Series: Dispatches from the Field

We are, therefore we invent. Technology represents one of the most fundamental applications of human intelligence. Given the gift of conscious thought, human beings are constantly striving to improve, enhance and evolve their lives. Defined as the application of scientific knowledge for specific purposes, technology is the engineered end result of the conscious human thought, harnessing the potential in nature for the purposes of our convenience. Little surprise then that it is at the crux of some of mankind’s greatest achievements through time, providing solutions to many challenges, whether it is the need to land a rover on Mars, light a bulb over a surgeon’s operating table or deliver clean drinking water to massively populated urban centers.

Yet, as we achieve complex technology accomplishments, more than a billion people continue to be disenfranchised, with no direct access to economy, science or development. The critical need is for innovators and entrepreneurs who can work with existing technology and build new ideas from them, to create a range of inexpensive, accessible and effective solutions that can be adopted at large scale. In this edition of Dispatches from the Field, we looked at the work of a host of entrepreneurs who are working at the grass roots, applying technology in ways that directly impact local under served communities.

كيف يمكن للتمويل الأصغر المساهمة فى التنمية الشاملة بالمنطقة؟

Ehaab Abdou's picture

This is the Arabic version of this blog: "How can microfinance support inclusive growth in MENA?" Ranya Abdel-Baki

حتى الأسابيع القليلة الماضية شغلت رانيا عبد الباقي منصب المدير التنفيذي لـ شبكة سنابل ، وهي شبكة التمويل الأصغر للبلدان العربية. بناءا على تجربتها فى قيادة سنابل على مدى السنوات العديدة الماضية، تحدثت رانيا إلى مشروع سوق التنمية الخاص بالبنك الدولي حول حالة التمويل الأصغر في المنطقة. كما تشرح فى هذا الحديث أيضا لماذا يعتبر الكثيرين مؤسسات التمويل الأصغر من ضمن النماذج التنموية القليلة التى تتميز بالقدرة على تحقيق الاستدامة المالية في المنطقة والعالم.

جيل ريتشموند: هل يمكن أن نتحدث عن تأثيرات الربيع العربي على مؤسسات التمويل الأصغر في المنطقة، إن وجدت، وتأثيره المباشر على عملائك؟

رانيا عبد الباقي: عقدنا ورشة عمل ناجحة في نوفمبر الماضي حيث اجتمع الممارسون من تونس ومصر واليمن وسوريا وتبادلوا تجاربهم والدروس المستفادة والتحديات المستقبلية. وبطبيعة الحال، آثار الأزمة تختلف من بلد إلى آخر، وأيضا داخل كل بلد، تتباين الآثار في بعض الأحيان بين مؤسسات التمويل الأصغر استنادا إلى مواقعها الجغرافية (ولا سيما فيما يتعلق بمصر).

لقد توصلنا إلى بعض الاكتشافات المثيرة للاهتمام على أساس ورشة العمل التي عقدناها.  وبالرغم من اعتقاد البعض أن مؤسسات التمويل الأصغر تركز فقط على استمراريتها، لكنها فى واقع الأمر فى كثير من الأحيان تضع احتياجات عملائها قبل احتياجاتها المؤسسية.  لقد شاهدنا
إندا في تونس، على سبيل المثال، تقدم الدعم ليس فقط لعملائها، بل أيضا للاجئين من ليبيا.  وفي مصر، قامت مؤسسة التمويل الأصغر بتنظيم معارض للعملاء خلال الثورة لمساعدتهم في تسويق وبيع منتجاتهم خلال هذه الأوقات العصيبة. واستمر برنامج أبين وهو من مؤسسات التمويل الأصغر الأكثر تضررا في اليمن في تقديم القروض وجمعها حتى في ظل الظروف التي أجبرت معظم الموظفين والعملاء على الفرار من محافظة أبين.

How can microfinance support inclusive growth in MENA?

Jill Richmond's picture

النسخة العربية من المقالة متوفرة على هذا الرابط.

Ranya Abdel-BakiRanya 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?

BBC: Social Minded Business trying to Grow in Egypt

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

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.

Social minded business trying to grow in Egypt 

Expansion for the Development Marketplace

Virginia Ziulu's picture

AVPN Logo - Photo Credit: avpn.asiaMarking the 10 year anniversary of Development Marketplace in 2011, the World Bank launched the Development Marketplace Investment Platform (DMIP) program.

The intent is to seek to help a pilot group of 30 selected social enterprises that have received prize money from DM, and that have been successful in their project, to attain a second or further round of financing from impact investors and foundations, in order to build up or replicate their project success.

A second purpose is to help respond to a familiar complaint of social enterprise funding organizations, that they do not see enough good projects to evaluate. In this context, the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network published the following article on its website highlighting the results achieved so far by DMIP and the prospects for the future of this program.

The 30 selected social enterprises by DMIn 2011 the World Bank Institute marked the 10th anniversary of the Development Marketplace. The programme was set up to provide early-stage funding to innovative social enterprises through a range of annual global and national-level competitions. Over 300 global winners have won US$200,000 each in grant funding.

But what happens to the winners beyond the life of the award? How many go on to the next stage of development? The tenth anniversary furnished an occasion to ask these questions. The answers suggest a significant new direction for the programme.

The main motive for the review was, ‘to move away from the traditional “fund and forget” model,’ as the DM’s Virginia Ziulu explains.

Some of the supported ventures have found subsequent funders, but this was largely outside the programme’s mandate. In 2011, the program shifted its focus to engage with past winners and discover how the World Bank could provide follow-on assistance.

GSBI Business Plans Presentations: Is Targeted Education Part of the Solution?

Virginia Ziulu's picture

GSBI 10th Anniversary logo - Image credit: GSBIOn August 23th, in Santa Clara, California, I attended business plan presentations of 19 competitively selected social entrepreneurs, who delivered their pitches to a panel of experienced professionals plus a general audience. These presentations marked the culmination of the 10th annual Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™) program organized by Santa Clara University. The Development Marketplace has been one of its partners since its beginning. The program includes intensive work by each entrepreneur with two to three designated mentors, and a series of on-campus classes. Its main objective is to strengthen material that each entrepreneur already has available, refine their business models and develop professional organizational documentation that can be presented to attract investors.

إذا لم يكن للمشروع مردود اجتماعي، فهو مشروع سيئ

Ehaab Abdou's picture

This is the Arabic version of our blog: "If it's not Social, It's Bad Business".

            نقدم لكم مقالة أخرى في سلسلة المقالات التي نقوم بنشرها عن الريادة المجتمعية والمؤسسات الاجتماعية التى تساهم فى تقديم حلول مبتكرة وشاملة لقضايا وتحديات تنموية هامة في مصر. لقد تحدثت زميلتنا جيل ريتشمند مع الدكتورة ليلى اسكندر رئيسة مجلس إدارة شركة CID للاستشارات ، والتي حازت على جائزة "رواد العمل الاجتماعي للعام" في عام 2006 ، التي تقدمها مؤسسة شواب من خلال المنتدى الاقتصادي العالمي. كما أنها أيضا عضو في مجلس الأجندة العالمية (GAC) للابتكار الاجتماعي ، وتتمتع بخبرة أكثر من 20 عاما فى مجال حماية البيئة وإدارة النفايات الصلبة وإعادة التدوير، بالإضافة إلى التعليم، وتمكين النوع الاجتماعى، وبناء قدرات المنظمات غير الحكومية، وتوليد الدخل في القطاع غير الرسمي، والدفاع عن حقوق الأطفال العاملين. في هذه المقابلة، تحدثنا الدكتورة ليلى عن مفهومها عن "التعلم والكسب" والعمل فى تنمية المجتمع بشكل عام بما فى ذلك دعم قطاع الحرف اليدوية والذى يعتبر من القطاعات الهامة التى سيدعمها برنامج سوق التنمية المزمع إطلاقه بمصر فى أوائل نوفمبر 2012.

If it’s not social, it’s bad business.

Jill Richmond's picture

Here is another entry in a series of articles we are posting to describe the current outlook for social enterprises working on critical issues in Egypt.

The series is based on interviews with leading figures in the social entrepreneurship sector in Egypt and the MNA region.

For the Arabic translation of this blog, click here.

I spoke with Dr. Laila Iskandar the chairperson of CID Consulting, who was awarded the "Social Entrepreneur of the Year" in 2006 at the World Economic Forum by the Schwab Foundation. She is also member of the foundation’s Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Social Innovation. She has over 20 years of experience in: environmental protection, solid waste management and recycling, education, gender-based empowerment, capacity-building of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), income-generation in the informal sector, and advocating for working children. In this interview, she tells us about her ethos of ‘learning and earning.’

كيف يمكن للريادة الاجتماعية المساهمة في نمو عادل في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا؟

Ehaab Abdou's picture

This is the Arabic translation of the blog "Can Social Enterprise Contribute to Inclusive Growth in the Middle East and North Africa?".  

 بدا أداء العديد من بلدان منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، قبل الربيع العربي، جيدا على جبهات تنموية متعددة حققت معدلات نمو مثيرة للإعجاب وعكست تحسنا في بعض مؤشرات مناخ الأعمال. ومع ذلك، فإن الكثيرين من أولئك الذين خرجوا إلى الشوارع يرون أن هذا النمو لم تستفد منه سوى قلة مميزة. وفي هذاالسياق، ينشر فريق سوق التنمية(Development Marketplace) سلسلة من الآراء على المدونة، تهدف إلى إستثارة النقاش من أجل استكشاف مدى إمكانية إعتماد نموذج جديد خاص بمنطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا لتطوير إقتصاديات تنافسية قادرة على خلق وظائف مناسبة، مع تعزيز التنمية المستدامة والعدالة الاجتماعية والمساواة.

Can Social Enterprise Contribute to Inclusive Growth in Middle East & North Africa?

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

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.