ACTION RESEARCH ON SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
Tanzania Coalition on Debt and Development (TCDD) had organized and conducted a dialogue between CSOs and Key social Enterprise Actors in Tanzania. The activity took place on 25th November, 2022 at Peacock Hotel, Dar es salaam, attended by 43 SE actors from the Prime Minister Office, Chalinze District Council, Religious institutions, Academia, CSOs and Medias.
ACTION RESEARCH ON SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
The dialogue between the Social Enterprise actors in Tanzania took place following the Action Research on Social Enterprises that took place in Tanzania between July-September 2022. The research was successful conducted under the guidance of CPDE and ISEA.
The action research on social enterprises on social had three main objectives where the research team had to rely on them for data collection.
- To identify the key actors in SE sector in Tanzania who are or could be potentially engaged in development cooperation advocacy
- To determine the challenges and opportunities for SEs in Tanzania
- To explore strategies and recommendations on how CSOs and SE actors in Tanzania could work together to further support and develop the SE sector as a key player in equitable and sustainable development.
ISSUES RAISED DURING THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN CSOs AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISE ACTORS
In an efforts towards understanding the concept of SE, there are three 3 (Ps) that I consider them very important when conceptualize the term Social Enterprise. Those are; 1. P-people, 2. P-planet, 3. P-profit
Social Enterprise do generate the profit, but the profit is not our primary focus. The primary focus is people and preserving the planet that is environmental sustainability.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE AS A CHANGE AGENT
- Social Enterprise is a very essential sector if it is well understood among the community because Social Enterprise is a change agent. And because it is a change agent, it helps to address the social problem at the community level and the country at large.
- As a country we cannot say we are reducing or alleviate poverty if we are not full putting our legs into the social enterprise implementation. Social enterprise can be an alternative solution of resolving our own poverty issues in the community. We cannot say we are now fighting against the climate change if we neglect the role of SE in addressing the emerging challenges-meaning that SE is a very ideal institution in resolving social, economic, and environment problem.
- The World is now implementing 2030 Agenda “Sustainable Development Goals” which consist of 17 goals and 169 targets in order to eradicate poverty and realize a sustainable world. All of these 17 goals are drawn under the following three important areas which are social, economic and environment. Therefore in implementing 2030 Agenda SE remains a fundamental tool in addressing those social, economic and environmental issues.
- Therefore, SE always focused to address social problems at community level, but the other entrepreneurship focused to maximize the individual profit without considering that the community is exploited or not. The first objective of the SE is not the maximization of the profit, but rather is for helping the community.
- If you do a business, and do not address the social problems of the community, it’s like writing numbers in the air, any business that involves the community must benefit the community. And for CSOs, SE remains very important for their sustainability in Tanzania. Though the NGOs Act 2002 its amendments remains quiet about SE and it does not restrict.
FURTHER DISCUSSION ON SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
- Following the presentation of the SE research report which followed by the plenary discussion, participants realized that, Social Enterprise has been there for quiet long time, but it has not known by its subject. CSOs in Tanzania has been implementing activities in the countries that carries the components of Social economic empowerment to the community – which we never realized that as SE.
- Though SE looks like not new by its application, those who have written about SE in Tanzania are very few. Therefore we need to get more informed through the few informed available expertise in Tanzania by incorporating them in most of our intervention.
- The SE action research by TCDD is a very good research, and that is going to be an eye opening tool on the issue of SE in Tanzania, and it shall pave the way for more researches on SE in Tanzania.
- One contributed that, the country like the Republic of Philippines have done a lot of researches on social enterprise in their country. Their extensive work on SE have enabled them understand that SE is a very important tool in addressing poverty issues. Therefore SE in developing countries can be used as a very important tool to address the poverty issues, though more research is needed in this area especially in Tanzania to make the concept well understood and accepted.
DOES THE ACTION RESEARCH MEET ITS OBJECTIVES?
The presenter tabled these questions during the dialogue, to see if the objectives given to research were well met or they hit around the bust. The presentation of the report and discussion truly showed that the objective of the study were 100%, the SE action research intended to meet three 3 objectives listed below and allof them were met as follows;
CHALLENGES FACING SE RAISED AND DISCUSSED DURING THE DIALOGUE MEETING
- Limited knowledge of social enterprise in Tanzania which led to the confusion between the social enterprise and other business enterprise
- Limited write ups and research conducted on Social Enterprise. And even the few available expertise are not well utilized to boost the sector.
- Limited CSOs practice on SE, and those practice lack support from the government.
- The dominance of static character to our CSOs, government leaders, politicians and private sector. Most of our character is not for changing the society but rather is for personal gains.
- Lack of organic relationship between CSOs, government and private sector in strengthening SE sector for poverty alleviation.
THE SUGGESTIONS FROM THE SE ACTORS DURING THE DIALOGUE
- More trainings are needed to change our character. These training will help us focus the change of society first instead of personal gains. For instance if you look at Istanbul principles there are about characters. They demand NGOs use their platform to enhance changes in the community. As CSOs let’s not have a mentality of accumulation only rather than distribution for the welfare of the community.
- People are very scattered, it’s difficult to change them if they remain scattered, therefore they need to form groups, and through groups they be able to trained and enhance them with capital for social gains.
- Let’s utilize the few available expertise to insert SE knowledge to CSOs which is good for CSOs sustainability. We also need to raise awareness to our community about the power of togetherness through groups if we real want to tackle poverty through SE as there are many local problems in the society that needs local solution.
- Advice the government to have a single policy of SE rather than scattered policies.
- TCDD and few other experts have paved the way, but more studies are needed on SE and through those studies it will make SE well understood and well-practiced.
- As we are getting out of this workshop, you should get out with 2 important issues
- SE – philosophy is dominated by the distribution philosophy. That is whatever you get you distribute them. Whatever you have gained from the investment you re-invest again for the development of the society.
- Business entrepreneur. Their philosophy is the accumulation. They are greedy; they are the collectors and don’t distribute or re-invest for the welfare of the community.
The government representatives that are here in the meeting, CSOs, private sector and entrepreneurs, we should be aware that our beneficiaries are the poor. Therefore whatever we do, we do for the poor. If you do a project and that project does not help for the poor, you better abandon that project.
WHY PROMOTING SE NOW
We want the government to start looking social enterprise as very instrumental in resolving social problems in the community. We want better policies and environment for SE practice and existence. We understand that government give huge incentives to huge foreign companies that come to invest in Tanzania, where the large part of profit of those profit are exported out the country. Why don’t we give those incentives to local NGOs that works to alleviate poverty in the community through SE. Poverty cannot be solved by business people but rather our most of local problems need local solution by local people. SE provide that platform.