Evaluating the Impact of Social Enterprises in Africa

Written by on May 29, 2012 in Africa, Entrepreneurship, Measure Impact - No comments

Trickle Out Africa is a research project financed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) of UK. It examines social enterprises in Eastern and Southern Africa to study their impact on poverty alleviation and the environment.

Trickle Out Africa evaluates the role of social enterprises in poverty reduction and sustainable development, as well as their future potential that remains to be exploited. The project is based in Queen’s University Management School in the U.K.

The project includes the compilation of a directory of social and environmental organizations that manufacture, retail or offer services in 19 African countries. The project was launched a few months back, and it has already registered more than 3,000 social enterprises on its directory, apart from logging an impressive 30,000 visitors till now.

Dr. Diane Holt, lead researcher of the project and a lecturer at Queen’s University, says: “Trickle out Africa is also unique in the scope of the Directory as this is the first searchable Directory of these type of organisations drawn from 19 countries in Southern and Eastern Africa. It is also available in English, French, Afrikaans, Swahili and Portuguese.” Holt goes on to add that the project is one of its kind because it combines both social and environmental enterprises that are critical to the development of a green economy in Africa.

Holt continues: “Our scope is to compile a directory of social or environmental enterprises that produce, retail, manufacture or offer services within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Eastern Africa Community (EAC) regions, as well as the donor agencies, voluntary associations and assurance schemes.”

The key benefit of Trickle Out Africa directory is that it not only identifies the social enterprises working on the ground, but also promotes their networking. The project also involves collection of useful information on the nature of the enterprises, business models, and business and funding history. The data is maintained confidentially, and is a valuable tool to guide future social initiatives such as trade links, training and enterprise development programs.

Vikas is a staff writer for the Sustainable Development news and editorial section on Justmeans. He is an MBA with 20 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience and global travel. He is the author of “The Power of Money” (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas is also the official writer for an international social project for developing nations “Decisions for Life” run in collaboration between the ILO, the University of Amsterdam and the Indian Institute of Management.

Image source: PlanetObserver

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