Social entrepreneurship

17 Aug 2010

Social entrepreneurship is pattern breaking work of social importance which is sustainable and scalable.

I am fortunate to be an alumnus of the Catherine B. Reynolds Graduate Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, a two-year programme at New York University which fosters cross-disciplinary skills, experiences and networking opportunities for changemakers:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8u2Ulb7LX-E[/youtube]

At a seminar this weekend for the new scholars and fellows commencing the programme, we heard from Professor Paul Light, who writes in his forthcoming book, Driving Social Change: How to Solve the World’s Toughest Problems, that social breakthrough requires a new kind of social-benefit organization. He quotes The Networked Nonprofit by Jane Wei-Skillern and Sonia Marciano:

Management wisdom says that nonprofits must be large and in charge to do the most good. But some of the world’s most successful organizations instead stay small, sharing their load with like-minded, long-term partners. The success of these networked nonprofits suggests that organizations should focus less on growing themselves and more on cultivating their networks.

As a small organisation, I would hope that Survivors Fund (SURF) fits the profile of the “networked nonprofit” and if that is not yet the case then it is very much something to which we aspire.

We recognise that the priorities we seek to address, and the changes we seek to make, cannot be done so alone. There are many partners that are critical to our work. If we are to realise our vision of a world where the rights and dignity of survivors of the Rwandan genocide are respected – we do not need to grow big, but we do need to grow networked.

To that end our work is focused.