Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Teach a man to fish

Here's an interesting piece by Nik Kafka, director of the agricultural network Teach a Man to Fish.

In it, he bemoans the lack of engagement of development charities with new social enterprise models:

The direct result of our extraordinary creativity in raising huge volumes of donations at home is that it cramps entrepreneurial flair, and reduces the incentives to find better models for creating social change overseas.

It's not that UK development NGOs are not capable of being entrepreneurial, far from it. When it comes to fundraising no avenue is left unexplored - you can't walk down a street or open a magazine these days without being tapped for direct debits or the occasional goat!

But UK development NGOs seem to have far less appetite for designing new business models for social change and taking them to scale.

The way to develop this appetite is to change the way development agencies are evaluated. Instead of being measured on their inputs (e.g. 'cash raised' or 'projects undertaken') they must be more robustly measured on outputs (e.g. 'increase in beneficiaries' annual income' or 'educational levels added'). Then they will have to seek out new models to reach these goals.

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