Need for Organized Social Enterprises in East Africa

European countries are recognizing that social enterprises are important players of the economy. Hence there are various initiatives by governments to recognize their role in reducing social exclusion.  Laws on social  enterprises under different names have been passed by eleven countries as follow: Italy-law 155/2006, Finland-Act 1351/2003, Lithuania-Law 1/6/2004, Belgium-Company Code Reform 13/4/1995, UK-Community Interest Company Act 2004/2006, France-Law 624/2001, Spain-Law 27/1999, Portugal-Social Solidarity Cooperative Law 22/12/1998, Poland-Social Cooperative Law 27/04/2006, Greece-Law 2716/1999 and Latvia-Social Enterprise Law. East African countries too need to take cognisanze of this new approach to deal with the poverty problem.
The main activities of the social enterprises in Europe are either to provide social services or to initiate work integration activities. European social enterprises are definable on the following nine criteria: a) continuous production/selling of goods and services b) high degree of autonomy c) a significant level of economic risk d) a minimum amount of paid work e) explicit aim to the benefit of the community f) an initiative launched by a group of citizens g) decision power not based on capital ownership h) participatory nature and i) limited profit distribution . This definition popularly known as the EMES definition of 2001 is widely accepted in Europe.
Hence in  this particular post hopes to initiate dialogue, discussions, criticisms, opinions, comments and debates amongst practitioners, researchers and other stakeholders on the following areas in East Africa:
1. The non profit sector/organizations, the social economy, solidarity economy and the third sector
2. Social entrepreneurship, social enterprise and the social entrepreneur
3. The roles of the aforementioned (in 1 and 2) in economic and local development both in the developing and the developed countries
4. Comments on scientific work or working papers, interesting experiences
5. Events, conferences,  on social entrepreneurship within the region

Our aim is hence to contribute to the betterment of both research and practice in recognition that social enterprises are first and foremost about people. On one hand social enterprises help in reducing human suffering caused by exclusion and on the other they do uniquely contribute to economic development.


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