UNIV 2010 Paper

UNIV 2010 Research Paper presented in Final Paper Presentation (Philippines)

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Authentic Human Development and Social Entrepreneurship

Author: Valeroso, Carmina Angelica C.

(St. Scholastica’s College Manila)

INTRODUCTION:

“If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed.”

Poverty is a type of darkness in society which is the root of some social ills. Nevertheless, there is much hope that this darkness can be dispelled.

In relation to this year’s UNIV theme “Can Christianity Inspire a Global Culture?”, this paper entitled “Authentic Human Development in Poverty Alleviation through Social Entrepreneurship”, aims to study the influence of Christianity on the culture of entrepreneurship as well as on poverty alleviation.

Based on a 2006 data of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, poverty afflicts approximately 15 million Filipinos.  The inaccessibility of some areas makes it a daunting task for government, NGOs and large corporations to execute their poverty alleviation programs.  Social entrepreneurship may be one of the means to meet the needs of the poor in unserved areas since it uses sustainable and scalable approaches.

In answering a social problem such as poverty, the Pope cautions against solutions which create a culture that “detaches itself from its life-giving roots, [because] then it will not become more reasonable or purer, but will fall apart and disintegrate.”

Keeping the Pope’s message in mind, the following objectives were formulated (see above).

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK:

The framework illustrates how Christianity teaches that authentic human development concerns the material and spiritual growth of a person, including her transcendent dimension. This Christian idea of authentic human development may influence an entrepreneur to venture into some social enterprise which seeks to alleviate poverty. As depicted in the framework, poverty has multiple indicators and the greater the effort to address each indicator, the greater is the contribution to the development of the person.

METHODOLOGY:

The methodology is as follows:

The Christian definition of authentic human development was extracted from Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Caritas in Veritate”.

Meanwhile, the indicators of a multi-dimensional poverty were based on a research entitled “Missing Dimensions of Poverty Data” (Alkire, 2007).

Indicators of Multidimensional Poverty

Dimension Indicators
Material Well Being income poverty, food shortage, housing quality, access to water and sanitation
Bodily Well being malnutrition, child mortality
Mental well being intelligence, psychological well being (meaning, autonomy, competence, relatedness), subjective well being (happiness and over all comfort)
Productivity employment, quality of work (protection, safety, time use, discouraged unemployment, perceptions)
Security victims of violence and theft, perceptions of violence
Social well being Shame (stigma of poverty and shame proneness), humiliation (respect and fair treatment, discrimination, internal humiliation)
Empowerment freedom of choice and actions, control over personal decisions, autonomy, ability to change life (lifestyle, mentality, mind set, outlook), ability to change others/ community

A case study of two (2) social enterprises:

  • Hapinoy; and
  • Rags2Riches

was conducted. The beneficiaries of these 2 businesses are mothers of families in selected communities in Luzon and are also more familiarly referred to as Nanays (moms).

Motivations of social entrepreneurs were gathered from interviews with two businessmen.

In answer to the first objective: The encyclical describes authentic human development as growth in every single dimension of man, that is, in his material and spiritual dimensions, including his transcendent dimension. Pope Benedict XVI emphasized growth in the transcendent dimension, which entails growth in the spirit.  The Holy Father mentions that this growth occurs when man’s “soul comes to know itself and the truths that God has implanted deep within, when he enters into a dialogue with himself and his Creator”.

In answer to Objective no. 2:  Seven (7) indicators were enumerated by Alkire, namely, poverty in:  Material Well-Being, Bodily Well-Being, Security, Work, Mental Well-Being, Social Well-Being, and Empowerment.

To meet the third objective: The conceptual framework shows that authentic human development involves material and spiritual growth.  Material growth can be seen through material and bodily well-being while spiritual growth may be seen through security, work, mental well-being, social well-being, and empowerment.

Hapinoy and Rags2Riches were examined based on the indicators.

Hapinoy is a program of MicroVentures, Inc. which aims to increase the sales and profits of micro-entrepreneur sari-sari store owners nationwide.

On the other hand, Rags2Riches is a business which creates ethical and eco-friendly high-end designer fashion masterpieces and home accessories.  It aims to solve the two predominant faces of injustice in Payatas:  unfair trade and environmental degradation.

The results regarding how Hapinoy and Rags2Riches addressed the material and spiritual growth of the Nanays (moms) will now be presented.

RESULTS:

Through Hapinoy and Rags2Riches, the material growth can be seen in the increase in income.  (Those in Hapinoy experienced an increase in sales from less than a hundred thousand monthly to half a million;  while those in Rags2Riches – who previously earned 1 to 2 pesos per rug – were enabled to receive at least the minimum wage daily. The Nanays were also able to expand their stores and acquire other equipment and facilities.

Material growth was also seen through the desire to acquire bodily well-being. The Moms used their higher earnings to provide for household needs. Good nutrition also became a conscious consideration for the Moms.

Moving on to how spiritual growth was achieved, the relevant indicators were examined.  Spiritual growth through having a sense of security was manifested especially in expanding the freedoms they value and have reason to value.  Mental well-being is another indicator related to spiritual growth. Hapinoy and Rags2Riches fed the intellect of the Moms through giving them training and support services so that they can acquire more knowledge regarding entrepreneurship and business environments.

The Moms were enabled to set higher goals for themselves and their family as well as to exercise their freedom of choice and action.  Character development may be seen in their practice of the virtues, such as commitment and simplicity.  The Moms have also learned to place more value in life, happiness and their relationship with God.

CONCLUSION:

Christianity teaches that authentic human development involves growth in the individual’s totality as body and soul, in every single dimension of man including the transcendent.

This study sought to show that the idea of authentic human development, through concern for both material and spiritual well-being, should imbue the social entrepreneur when venturing into social entrepreneurship. This study has highlighted specific cases where social entrepreneurship has also helped alleviate poverty, in the process of creating an enabling environment for the marginalized so they can fulfill and develop themselves.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Learning from the experience of social entrepreneurship, some recommendations can be taken up by the different sectors of society.

  • The youth can be encouraged to get involved in different volunteer activities since these provide them the opportunity to give themselves to others.
  • Programs can also be launched to help parents train their children to be more socially responsible.
  • Giving support to schools which offer Christian formation enables these institutions to continue imparting values through their curriculum, outreach programs and other activities. Children who are exposed to these may more often include Christian ideals in their social behaviors.
  • Dialogue with the authorities can also be kept so that they are provided with data to determine the real cause of poverty. There would be a need to invest time in studying the needs of the poor so as to address all dimensions of the person.
  • Opportunities can also be offered for social entrepreneurs to strengthen their spiritual life and deepen their relationship with God since they will be working in a business model which is others-oriented.

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