April 14th ~ Don’t forget to sign up for our April “Mind Your Body, Mind Your Stress” Workshop in Washington, DC.
Traditional aid is no longer helpful, as once believed, for two big reasons. Aside from the necessity of emergency relief aid for disasters, aid as a tool for poverty alleviation or even political stability, has proven contradictory, if not disastrous. The first reason is presented by best-selling author of Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo. Development economist Moyo reviews how traditional aid overlooks the root causes of poverty. Moreover, giving aid is not even efficient as corruption remains, which is highlighted in White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. No matter how offensive the title, the point remains valid as again described in The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier.
The Middle East & North Africa region (MENA) has not fared that much better with its traditional donor experience either. Egypt and Jordan received a variety of donor assistance packages from Canada and the U.S. The U.S. has provided much of its donor assistance via Egypt’s military sector while Egypt’s the wheat industry still faces challenges as they import American wheat due to conditionalized aid that provides more financial gain for the donor than the recipient.
Poverty Alleviation Strategy Includes Entrepreneurship Style and Rhetoric
Why doesn’t traditional aid work? According to Collier, governments are pretty dysfunctional in poor societies because nonprofit donors tend to “romanticize” poor societies. In his strong tone he triggers controversy with warnings like, “Don’t idealize the poor… which many nonprofits are guilty of doing… it is patronizing… ” in his speech for “Locating Social Entrepreneurship in the Global South innovations in Development Aid” sponsored by the Wilson Center, Siemens, and Zeppelin University. Rather than relying on donor support to alleviate poverty in certain MENA countries, and provide sustainable measures, a new philosophy of funding social entrepreneurship is the recommendation. There are a variety of reasons, including the belief that incorporating entrepreneurship practices leads to innovation, which leads to smarter solutions in poverty alleviation.
On a global scale, the mission of a social enterprise is socially oriented like its nonprofit cousins. In fact, the term social entrepreneur seems ubiquitous in the development and donor communities. Forbes magazine now lists top social entrepreneurs in its Impact 30.
Development Culture Also Changes Among Donor Countries
Donor countries, like the U.S., the UK and Canada have noticed the social entrepreneurship potential. Each are revamping their donor agencies to partner with institutions that focus on working with social entrepreneurs. [Click here to continue.]