All posts by Lewisam10

Social Enterprise in Haiti: An oxymoron or a reality?

It is no secret that social entrepreneurship is trending. Not just on Twitter (via the hashtag #socent) but in real life, too, with thousands of socially minded innovators pioneering new, market-based solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges.

But this “movement” has hit some roadblocks. In many parts of the world, communities are too poor to qualify as viable customers, leaving little if any revenue to be made. In other places, social enterprises have found success cultivating a market, but haven’t been able to scale up their operations beyond a small region or population. And in particularly vulnerable areas, NGOs have saturated the market such that businesses have no way of contending for customers. After all, how can anyone compete with free?

This last challenge is especially prevalent in Haiti, where the 2010 earthquake devastated hundreds of thousands of people and an ensuing cholera outbreak killed thousands more and remains endemic throughout the country. In light of this, foreign aid has flooded in from all angles, comprising two-thirds of the government’s budget and paving the way for unprecedented NGO activity: There are an estimated 16,000 NGOs in Haiti – more than one per square mile.

Full article on Next Billion 

When Human Rights Protests Cost Lives: How can the world fight Uganda’s anti-gay laws without hurting the health of its citizens? The private sector may be the answer

Just over a month ago, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni famously signed a harsh anti-gay bill into law, effectively outlawing same-sex activity in his country and prompting three Western nations to freeze their foreign aid to Uganda, with several more expected to follow suit.

Joining the majority of African countries – and (too) many others around the world – Uganda’s decision to ban homosexuality presents a critical dilemma for the international community: How can we reconcile the country’s unacceptable human rights violations with its dire need for development assistance? Can we make a diplomatic statement without comprising the health and economic condition of Uganda’s most vulnerable people? As one might expect, this nuanced challenge does not have a black and white solution; rather it falls into what I would call a newly minted “g(r)ay area of global development.”

Coming amid a flurry of recent stories linking LGBT rights and global development – from Russia’s anti-gay law that drew attentionduring the Sochi Olympics to World Vision USA’s decision to continue its discrimination against people in same-sex marriages – this latest anti-gay position reflects a trend among developing countries, especially those in Africa. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 38 African nations criminalize homosexuality, four of which have death penalty punishments built into their laws. Reprehensible in principle as they are inhumane in severity, these laws bring with them far-reaching implications about the continent’s overall development, perhaps most notably in their public health outcomes.

Full article on Next Billion