Social Entreprenuership Pushed to Fight Poverty

With only months remaining before its target date, the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on poverty reduction, gender disparity, education, and maternal mortality have low likelihood of achievement according to government.

Growth in 2014 has been attributed to industry, services and agriculture.

Sectors where the poor belong like agricultural and fishing merely contributed to 4.8 percent or almost less than half of the increase for industry sector.

The number of underemployed and jobless in this sector had also increased by 25.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Employment does not also guarantee decent living. A fifth of employed Filipinos live below the poverty line.

The MDG report showed unchanged levels of poverty in the last two decades. Inequality increased in rural areas and half of the total population of poor families hardly finished primary education for the past years.

Poverty is even aggravated by severe climate changes as the poor lose assets and income.

In a recent forum held as part of the Beyond 2015 Campaign in Dolcelatte Café in Quezon City on the role of legislators in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a successor to the MDGs, participating government representatives and NGOs said there should be great changes in how we deal with development planning.

Michael Provido, MDG coordinator of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) said, “Economic growth has not been inclusive” as one of the reason of poor achievement in crucial goals.

“We need a game changer and we believe social entrepreneurship can contribute to most of the articulated sustainable development goals,” said Jay Bertram Lacsamana, executive director of the Foundation for a Sustainable Society and Co-convenor of the Present Coalition.

Social enterprises are social mission organizations that seek to reduce poverty by engaging the poor in economic activities and making them owners or greater beneficiaries of the wealth creation while considering the needs of future generations.

The Department of Foreign Affairs explained that in building sustainable society, value-adding strategies to generate more wealth from the environment and increase investments in asset reform programs, social services, sustainable energy, and health are needed.

The agency identified social entrepreneurship and green economy as pillars for reducing poverty.

Neda identified different strategies to improve the country’s poverty situation.

These are income diversification through different economic activities, improvement of human capital and infrastructure development, linkage of residents to the value chain, and development of the capability of the poor to withstand calamities and disasters.

“For the poor to benefit from these strategies, we must ensure that there is a conducive environment that supports mechanisms allowing them to participate in the market, allow sustainable production, and own a greater portion of generated wealth so they can reinvest it to society,” Lacsamana added.

The Present Coalition represents social enterprise practitioners and advocates in the country and is pushing for the Present Bill.

Its salient features are subsector development and the integration of social enterprises in the value chain but in consideration of local ecosystems.

It calls to provide proper capacity-building, preferential right on procurement, tax incentives, among others.

The bill now awaits second reading in both houses.

The Coalition says reducing poverty through sustainable economic activities will contribute to all the proposed set of initial goals that will succeed the MDGs.

The United Nations has now 17 goals captured in the Sustainable Development Goals encompassing solutions to the global challenges of inequality, peace, environmental sustainability.


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