The professor of economics at Yale University, president and founder of Innovations for Poverty Action, and founder of ImpactMatters, Dean Karlan has some great insights over how graduation and education can help bring down poverty across the globe.
He recalls that over the past decade and beyond, questions such as the use and implementation of aid, and how decision making can be understood at household level were big questions for the academia. With the influx of cheap data and research, randomized control trials (RCTs) to test specific policies on the ground with NGOs, the private sector, and governments came into form. It allowed the forming of Microcredit as the best example of such debates on how developments spurs. However, there were two different opinions as microcredit can be a magnet for growth, but can also negative impacts that may involve a falling credit score and an increase in suicide rates that happened in India. But the way microcredit now works, it is best suited for private investors and not for donors and governments. The resources needed to make it work are immense.
Hence, one–way donors can bring change is through investments in graduation programs. The research focusing on six RCTs on graduation programs in six countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Peru), and in Uganda, investments in education and graduation can help ignite productive asset forms increasing household consumption and leaving a positive impact. In India, research helped understand that investment in graduation programs can help bring people out of the nexus of poverty.
The Victorian region is not new to social enterprises in Australia. It is home to Thankyou Group (bottled water and other grocery items), STREAT (homelessness and unemployment) and Green Collect (recycling), who act as businesses to make a positive impact in the societies they operate. The Victorian Government is further strengthening their social enterprise base by investing another $5 million in the idea, developing a network of social enterprises, while also providing training to help new social enterprises thrive.
There are already various initiatives through with many authorities get services and goods via social enterprises or businesses. The Level Crossing Removal Authority uses the “social procurement plan”. While two level crossings at Bayswater were being removed, Yarra View Nursery was asked to provide 90,000 plants, as it employs 100 workers, most of whom are disable. Western Distributor river crossing project will follow the same approach.
The minister for industry and employment, Wade Noonan while contemplating on the initiative said, “They are not large and they don’t have a depth of resources that other businesses might have. Social enterprises are quite happy to compete on price but where they would look for government to provide a level of support is assisting in the networking, in building capacity and providing training.”
Newmont mining, one of the world’s biggest mining companies is trying to put welfare at heart while ensuring residents of Ghana grow with the company, as part of their corporate social responsibility and sustainability reporting.
The company is trying to help communities benefit from its mining operations. Newmont Ghana’s Senior Director for Sustainability and External Relations, Paul Sowley in response to allegations by Ford Foundation and WACAM said, “Protecting and promoting the health and welfare of our employees and local communities is a top priority. We are currently studying the accuracy of the reports and will provide further information once we complete the review. Our review will include following up with the reports’ authors to better understand their data collection, analysis, and assessment methods, which seem to lack the scientific rigor to support their conclusions.”
In recent years, Newmont in Ahafo has tried improving the life of over 10,000 people through their Agricultural Improvement and Land Access Programme, Vulnerable Peoples’ Programme and Skills Development Improvement Programme. The Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation has invested over Gh¢54.2 million to provide over 8,000 scholarships and develop better schools, libraries, and health facilities for the local population. Through the Women Consultative Committee, 40 percent of all scholarships are provided to women, while 98 percent of all microcredit loans go to women too.
The Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO) will provide mentoring and support to entrepreneurs to nine remote First Nations Matawa communities in northern Ontario. Rise Asset Development will be offering micro-loans of upto $1 million and help establish new business domains.
The Chief Executive Officer with Matawa First Nations Management, David Paul Achneepineskum said, “People have never really had the opportunity to learn how to finance a project, do a business plan, do a marketing plan, so those are the capacities we hope to learn in our collaboration with CESO.” There are various businesses such as taxi driving, pizza delivery and baking, DVD rentals and mechanic shops that have been seen by First Nations as part of the funding approach. CESO’s volunteers have over twenty–five years in managing and supporting businesses in both the public and the private sector.
In various other First Nation communities, there have been trading schools set, allowing remote communities to learn trade skills. The province of Ontario provided over $500,000 to help spur and support state-of-the-art manufacturing technology shop for mechanic skills, and kitchens for tourism and hospitality skills.
Sri Lanka based Lanka Orix Leasing Company has bought 50.1 percent equity stake in Pakistan’s Pak Oman Investment Company through a primary issuance of share. Pak Oman Investment Company is a joint venture between the government of Pakistan and the Sultanate of Oman who holds 33 percent stake in the investment business.
Pak Oman through its business that includes Pak Oman Investment Company and Pak Oman Microfinance Bank Limited provides microcredit financing and investing facilities to small and medium enterprises across the country. Lanka Orix Leasing will try to use the current expertise of Pak Oman group in order to extend its reach and business in other South East Asian countries after running successful operations in Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Established in 1982, Lanka Orix specializes in microfinance, factoring, Islamic financing, tailored financial products for the SME sector, foreign currency and local saving and deposit accounts.
The chairman of Pak Oman Investment Company, Yahya Al Jabri said, “I am pleased to welcome Lanka Orix Group as our strategic partner for Pak Oman Microfinance Bank. We appreciate their success in SME and microfinance business in several countries and believe they can add significant value to our business. The investment demonstrates their confidence in the business model and sponsor groups and we look forward to a long–term relationship with them.”
Founded by Ryan Saari in 2013, The Oregon Public House is not like any other pub. However, when you order something, at the end you are also required to tell how do you wish the proceeds or the donations to be spent. Charities in Portland and other regions receive the net profits earned from the pub. Saari has donated over $120,000 to various charities over the past four years.
There are a wide range of charities being conducted through the proceeds. The amount is being spent on planting trees, cleaning streets, helping for home supplies for the poor, paying cancer bills and buying medicines, while also providing small microcredit loans to the underprivileged and underserved communities of Nicaragua. There is a pool of charities that receive the donations every six months, and the list is rotated to have equal shares.
Apart from charities, the Oregon Public House also helps create jobs, while paying modest wages to all of its workers. Saari thinks that everyone can give back and earn some joy, while it is not necessary to be a celebrity to raise funds for the underserved people. As a token of thank you, you can get a free drink every time you enter the pub for a donation of $2,500.
The Gomif Partners’ Socialpreneurship corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, while help provides 500 women in Ghana with microcredit loans to help increase social enterprise and businesses. The initiative is backed by the Malaysian businessman and venture capitalist Tey Por Yee.
One of the key collaborators is Self-Help International, who has strived hard to help teach women both literate and illiterate, business skills so that they can help generate a source of income for their families. While talking about the project and why Por Yee has been providing these loans to women in Ghana, he said, “By funding this project, according to Self-Help, we have witnessed the transformation in families and communities as women are first able to feed their children each day, then pay their school fees to ensure their sons and daughters alike get the education their mothers never had and even build new homes. This project will extend that opportunity to 450 more women living in rural Ghana.”
Apart from Ghana, Por Yee has also recently helped fund for elephant rescue projects in Thailand. The funding also comes from the same project part of the Gomif Partners’ Socialpreneurship corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative. The fund helps Mahouts learn other ways of generating income rather than using elephants as a way of tourist attraction and rides, which in turn can reduce the life expectancy of endangered species. Larry thinks it will be an alternate route to begging and help increase skills and potential, “By offering them the opportunity to bring their elephants back to live in peace, as it was intended, in the forest, means that they can avoid working the elephants in circus shows and street begging.”