Today is Dec 1 and therefore, another World Aids Day.
I, of course, understand that sporting a red ribbon is a symbol of solidarity but I’m not a proponent of armchair activism.
Therefore, I’ll refrain from displaying a twibbon on my twitter profile pic. For a Social Entrepreneur like Veronica Khosa, an African, this day might present much graver concerns to address, than simply putting on a red ribbon. Africa amounts for 67% of HIV cases worldwide which is perhaps the reason, she has relentlessly devoted herself to tackling this menace at the grass-roots level. No one in this world would be happier than her, to see that number dwindle.
Come Dec 3 and it will be, World Disability Day. Remember the media frenzy surrounding Stephen Hawking’s visit to India in 2001, when ASI constructed wheelchair ramps at monuments that the scientist was supposed to visit. The ramps have stayed thereafter, thanks to the relentless efforts of Javed Abidi, a campaigner for the rights of the disabled.
He has made tremendous progress on this front since 1995, when the disability bill was first passed.
Both, Khosa and Abidi, were ultimately chosen as Ashoka Fellows but much before that and till date, they have been inventive in bringing about a social change, wherein technology has acted as an enabler in their endeavors.
In case of the Business Entrepreneur, it is the confluence of business and technology where the action lies and economic concerns are primal. Whereas for a Social Entrepreneur, technolo gy is an enabler, more often than not and economic returns are definitely not of prime importance. Technology, however, plays a critical role. It speeds up information dissemination. Today, resources, either money or people, move from one geography to another in quick time.
One might often hear people complain of information overload but the bright side is that it has enabled citizens to become smarter. They are better informed and empathetic to social woes like poverty, health hazards, environmental degradation and so on so forth. And that makes them well equipped to be the change they want to see or in some cases, be change-agents for a cause. As seen from myriad examples abundant in the society, there is no one-fits-all model for the Social Enterprise.
- Some are highly technology centric, that is the inventiveness is more on the technological front. (Amitabha Sadangi, IDE) For some the inventiveness lies in the refining/fine-tuning of an existing process or delivery mechanism. (J B Schramm, College Summit) Yet others, the inventiveness is a t play in creating a blend of returns – social vs economic. (DesiCrew)
Nonetheless, the social change thread is common. None of the social entrepreneurs interviewed at NextBigWhat.com, answered in the affirmative to the question Any personal sacrifices? but it is easy to read between the lines.
So If you’re game for that kind of sweet pain, the world is your playground with competent coaches available to guide and mentor you.
In a lighter vein, while researching for the post I came across this rather nonsensical pic. However, on second thoughts, it does make some sense. And mind you I have the support of none other but Bill Drayton on this. In How to Change the World by David Bornstein, Drayton mentions that Social Entrepreneurs are ‘possessed, really possessed by an idea, that they are going to devote ten or twenty years to it if necessary and it doesn’t cross their minds …’ I reckon it(sex) is not on their mind and therefore, being/becoming a Social Entrepreneur is definitely hotter. :-)