interview1 Many young people do not have the required skills, awareness and investment to turn their potentials to their advantage. They also lack access to lessons that might help demystify the technicalities of starting a business as well as focusing on achievable or better results. Overcoming these challenges can be very tedious as there are no clear guiding principles to apply.

The social entrepreneurship concept has managed to play a very critical role in the socio-economic transformation of nations. It could therefore be used as a model of initiating new businesses to better the lives of young people in Ghana. While social entrepreneurs often work through nonprofits and citizen groups, their channels of operation typically involves working closely with both the private sector as well as the government.

Social entrepreneurship is therefore not in competition with government and the private sector but is a complimentary institution with the common goal of working for the betterment of the people. Innovation often happens when different disciplines collide and it’s becoming apparent that most values – certainly most social value – is likely to be created at the intersection of government, private and the social sector.

The main distinguishing characteristic is that social entrepreneurship aims at furthering social and environmental goals. Just like their private counterparts, they are people who are ambitious, self-driven, innovative, resourceful and focused on results. They use their skills to identify opportunities and approaches that can be exploited to change society for the better.

Social entrepreneurship has become the so called “Third Pillar” in the development discourse and practice, and integral role in solving the social and economic problems we face in our communities today. At the West Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network (WASEN), we have adopted business-like approaches to solving societal problems and have succeeded in bringing about meaningful socio-economic change in Ghana.

WASEN has initiated the Social Entrepreneurship Guide (tailored learning and training programs) to demonstrate the scale and diversity of social value using business principles – much of which is achieved through harnessing the power of young people’s creativity and innovation. This guide further demonstrates the huge opportunities for social enterprises to harness their talents to generate insights, to drive more effective action and to fuel social change.

This successful guide can be used as a template for young people looking to embrace social entrepreneurship as a means of transforming their societies. By combining the business–like ideals and approaches with their relentless quest, young people can use this guide to radically improve the livelihoods of their communities in a sustainable manner.

However, it is important to recognize that it is not just any non-profit organization that can use this model to address the development challenges that continue to confront us. It is those non-profits and other citizen-driven organizations (social business) who can clearly illustrate a “more-than-profit” motives, uses good business sense and a desire to bring about social change that can benefit from this guide.

It is in this spirit that Isaac Aggrey, the Executive Director of WASEN granted an interview to Kweku Temeng of TV 3 Business Focus to further highlight his love for humanity and commitment to bring about positive change across the world.

knowledge

Through globalization and complex work processes, ICT has become an increasingly crucial success factor for individuals, businesses, other communities and society. It has offered excellent opportunities for success in working life and society.

The creation of knowledge platform for knowledge generation, exchange, and dissemination of technology best practice involves the wise care and development of knowledge, skills and communication based on a desired and shared vision of the future.

Quality education, technological knowledge and skills or even large-scale investments in science and product development cannot open the path to total convergence, unless creativity is allowed to extensively permeate in all human sectors. This will require innovative, responsible leadership in developing new tools and evidence-based approaches, and making them more broadly available.

With advent of a rapidly developing electronic economy, the role of public administration has undergone a significant change. Regardless of the fact that this change will probably continue, we have reason to meticulously analyze some of its characteristics, even at this early stage.

This role has emphasize the promotion of steady economic growth, the creation of adequate preconditions for business activities, and the responsibility for well-functioning administration, infrastructure and high-standard public services. In future, an expert in this type of administration will have an extensive knowledge base combining technical and vocational, science and technology, economic and social sciences resulting in a process of innovation and much more production than ever anticipated.

Learning will not only remain theoretical; people will learn how to convert knowledge into products easily. They will have the ability to apply their learning achievements creatively to their own action environment and do things together with different people in all spheres of life with profound tolerance.

Future expertise will be characterized by the fast regeneration of knowledge, information society development, reform of working organizations, and the diversification of people’s careers and occupations throughout their individual life spans. Results will not be measured by examinations and certificates alone but through open learning attitude as people will learn to appreciate emotional, social and scientific intelligence.

The success of individual activities will be assessed as to whether the performance complied with the given proposed plan, or whether the product in question met the requirements of a perfect specimen. However, mere mastery of specific skills will not be enough.

Competence will not consist of knowledge alone; it will be an active and dynamic step that combines knowledge content and its application thereof. It will play a major role in application and execution of assignments giving rise to knowledge and skill acquisition to practical solutions.

Expertise will be acquired by such competent persons who are able to apply their competence to problem solving situations in new ways. These people will be capable of remodeling existing technical, normative or social rules in the pursuit of solutions.

With that said, it is therefore essential for people to learn how to question existing models and policies constructively on a continual basis to promote new thinking. In practice, this may be best for those in leadership position, plus models of innovators and creative thinkers. Knowledge as power was possessed by a small group of few selected individuals who found it necessary to keep it secret and only used for personal goals as well as for controlling others in the past.

With the advent of new technology, it has become increasingly possible for people to communicate their personal expertise or knowledge to others, their co-workers and partners with so much ease across the globe. The ability for people to communicate their knowledge using various ICT tools with sufficient degree of high-standard has never been more efficient.

Direct transformation from being a student to an expert is been built through long-term education and training, practice and discovery. To preserve this sound self-esteem, we must strive to build it up on a daily basis by undertaking rigorous and in-depth research that could be disseminated as a case study, thinking and reflecting on a goal to open new discoveries and changes for the benefit of everyone.

Leaders of the 21st century must therefore seek to empower the people to change their way of thinking to enable them realize that knowledge sharing is power, and that it is this power, positive thinking and belief in joint possibilities that will create the desired 21st Century.

More often than not, it is with this same energy and power that the people will learn to embrace, create, invent, and share other people’s ideas, instead of thwarting and knocking same people down. Naturally, people may be energetic but self-effacing, intelligent and naive, playful and disciplined, imaginative but realistic, humble and proud, traditional but revolutionary but when given the right opportunity for them to exploit the full use of Technology, knowledge and power are shared.

Please logon to this blog for more of such write-ups by Isaac Aggrey.

Posted by: isaac aggrey | January 9, 2013

3RD PILLAR – A FORCE TO RECKON WITH.

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The global economy has changed substantially over the last fifty years and over. Many countries including those in Africa have experienced rapid and sustained economic growth that has helped to improve the lives of many of its citizens.

These successes have been driven by a combination of sound economic policies implemented by governments as well as the recognition of the private sector as the key driver of the growth and development process.

However, despite the progress made, poverty and inequality remain a major challenge in many countries particularly in Africa where we have the highest concentration of poverty and inequality.

The world is continuously changing and new challenges are emerging such as climate change and those brought about by the global financial economic crisis.

One important lesson we have learned from the growth and development experience over the years is that sound economic policies and market oriented solutions, though important, are not enough to bring about the social and economic transformation required to improve the livelihoods of every one.

There are many socio‐cultural and political constraints that cannot be solved by the government alone, and the private sector is not well placed to address them either. In an effort to address these challenges, we have seen the phenomenal growth through technology to fill this “development gap”.

However, it is important to recognize that it is not just technology that can help to address these development challenges that continue to confront us. It is through partnerships and other citizen‐driven projects that have adopted business‐like approaches to solving the social problems that have succeeded in bringing about meaningful socio‐economic change in society and open government has managed to play a very critical role in the socio-economic transformation of nations.

Citizens especially the youth need encouragement, education, and skills to speak up and speak out, be responsible enough to engage with the government in participatory leadership in order to give a true meaning to democratic governance. They should be provided with an opportunity for involvement in public affairs, a means of political education and a channel for influencing public policy. Almost always, improvement comes through organized pressure from the civil society groups.

The more influence ordinary people have over government policy through democratic channels, the more likely government will reflect their concerns and aspirations, as well as meet their basic needs.

This basic democratic principle demands that government attends to people’s interests equally in its policy and administration, without favour or discrimination.

Public open debate should be established to deepen our democratic values. The democratic emphasis on this open debate assumes not only that there are differences of opinion and interest but that such differences have a right to be expressed and listened to devoid of partisanship.

This will ensure peaceful removal of politicians, policies and scrutinize the work of government by questioning officials, inspecting documents and cross-examining state personnel that have failed or outlived their usefulness.

In addition, public dialogue should aim to provide a source of alternative policies, reforms and a consistent basis for holding government to account.

Five important fields to consider:

The overall target of government development assistance is to ensure that those in poverty have the ability to improve their living conditions.

Five areas to be considered are as follows:

• Democracy, equality and human rights

• Economic development

• Knowledge, health and social development

• Sustainable development

• Human security

Government should also utilize resource persons who are successful in their endeavors such as parliamentarians, entrepreneurs, educationist, journalist, practitioners, scholars, engineers, scientist, bankers and motivational speakers to strengthen and help champion its course.

The Centre for Youth in Policy Reforms (CYPR), an initiative of West Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network exist in its own right to Push for reform in sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on the right of citizens to public information.

Its aim is to provide citizens with a platform to voice their needs, giving them a collective voice to advocate for change and providing them with practical intellectual ICT skills to monitor and expose inefficiencies and corrupt practices in society.

The centre represents the culmination of years of hard work by the West Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network Planning Commission. This much awaited centre detailed the road map on economic prosperity; democracy and delivery; sound infrastructure; population development and security; and technological readiness to achieving our vision for the youth in sub-Saharan Africa.

Clearly a great deal of work is required to achieve this, none the least of which will require: improving public services, increasing public integrity, more effectively managing public resources, creating safer communities, produce openness and transparency as a basis of holding our governments to account.

By bringing together foremost thought youth leaders in Africa, CYPR has become more than just a policy reform centre; it is an action-inspiring centre, creating partnerships, shaping and the sharing of proven best practices.

The youth in Ghana has started creating a path towards a wide-spread policy revolution. And we mean a real revolution reaching across disciplines, across sectors and across borders, sparking the conversation to ensure support for policy reform that surpasses the normal tipping point.

John F Kennedy inspired a nation to greatness with “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’ and with ‘by the end of the decade we will put a man on the moon”.

The same goes for Martin Luther King who inspired a social revolution with “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed”.

There is a shift of power and influence away from the European world, and we in Ghana and people across Africa are starting to take advantage of that shift.

Around the world, people are expecting not only to be heard but to be listened to.

CYPR has become a clarion call to governments and policy makers urging them to support the youth in Africa, primarily to become leaders who will advocate for a more open, just, transparent and accountable governance.

Every generation has the opportunity to engage and change the society they inherited, CYPR will monitor progress, bring pressure to bear and help the nation stay the course whiles pressurising the government to deliver.

Furthermore, CYPR will produce a vision of what our country should look like 20 or 30 years from now. In February, the commission presented the first draft proposal of a set of actions to address the challenges we face in Ghana to all stakeholders involved.

CYPR is aware that the job of effectively meeting these challenges will rest mainly on the shoulders of the young men and women of our dear country.

On that basis, our youth will become empowered to set demands for a government that serves its interests and that is capable of winning and keeping their loyalty.

There is an agreement to create an open platform for continuing dialogue and reviewing of development effectiveness with the government, the shape of which will take form in our next phase of action in the coming months, we therefore encourage all to get involve in steering the change we need to see in our beloved country Ghana.

Please join the conversation on Facebook to get involved.

Posted by: isaac aggrey | December 23, 2011

Beyond Borders

The year 2011 was challenging, yet very successful, in the initial stages of operation, WASEN experienced a number of problems, which adversely affected our performance and operation.

Deficiencies in timing have been the principal issue, but lower than expected co-operation and commitment have also contributed to the shortfall.

The net results was that, the first quarter saw WASEN significantly short of budget expectations and it was not surprising that this led to considerable concern of WASEN Management Board level.

This development led us to implement measures such as inclusive business models – sustainable, market based solutions that are commercially viable.

However, it is now apparent that the management of WASEN is coming to grips with the difficulties and managing the organization towards delivering measurable, impactful and scalable development to achieving expected outcome.

It is even more pleasing to note that the successive organization’s record of expectation is set to exceed for the first time ever.

The nearly indications are encouraging and we appear to have the potential to achieve a very high results and expectations come 2012.

In launching our new program for 2012, “Beyond Borders” we would like to welcome our newest Board of Governor, Dr. Kathleen Dapaah.

We recognize the important role she continues to play in advancing sustainable business models and markets to build long-term solutions to social, economic, and environmental problems societies face.

On behalf of the Management of WASEN and WBC, It is our pleasure to wish you the best of the festive season and actively engage you in policy dialogue and advocate around issues of national and global importance in 2012.

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Posted by: isaac aggrey | September 24, 2011

A NEW GLOBAL SHIFT IS UNDERWAY!

Accra, Ghana; 28 August 2011: Four executives from West Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network (WASEN) Ghana have been accredited to attend the 2011 Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group to participate in the Civil Society Policy Forum.

They are expected in Washington DC for the start of the Civil Society Policy Dialogues scheduled for September 21-24, 2011 during which they will participate and present on series of sessions with senior Bank and Fund officials.

WASEN is developing strategies, expanding networks, and devising cohesive agendas and collective action to bolster their access and impact in securing social, cultural, economic, and political rights on a global scale for Social Entrepreneurs.

The objectives are closely in-line with the Millennium Development Goal– Develop a Global Partnership for Development. West Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network, are in the process of partnering with businesses, CSO and government in order for us to come together to renew and give greater meaning to social entrepreneurship.

More emphasis would be placed on the barriers and challenges that constrain social entrepreneurs from maximizing their full potential and further explore the status of the vital contributions to their respective communities, and in shaping the features of participatory democracy.

For more information on West Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network in Ghana, please contact Eugenia Ross on info@wasenghana.org.

Posted by: isaac aggrey | May 6, 2011

“DOING WELL BY DOING GOOD”

“It’s hard to imagine a brighter future without Social Entrepreneurship”. Despite the challenges faced by Social Entrepreneurs, there is a growing recognition of their important role in developing robust economies in the world.

The West Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network (WASEN) is established to address the critical challenges faced by Social Entrepreneurs in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

The network aims to pair prospective Social Entrepreneurs with experts and investors to create viable Social Enterprises.

As part of the program, new reforms would be developed to further develop the self confidence, motivation and creative skills that are essential part of Social Entrepreneurship.

Another key priority area for WASEN is to launch various developmental programs for Social Entrepreneurs to promote private economic and social development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Addressing a cross section of tertiary students in Accra Ghana, the founder and President of WASEN, Isaac Aggrey (Social Entrepreneur) emphasized the need “to provide Social Entrepreneurs with the right kind of advice, information and mentorship to help build successful Social Enterprises”.

He said the initiative would further create awareness, understanding and appreciation of Social Entrepreneurship in the West Africa region.

In his closing remarks, he encouraged every student and aspiring Social Entrepreneurs to register to become a member and tap into all the opportunities offered by WASEN.

Posted by: isaac aggrey | December 23, 2010

WHAT A YEAR TO CELEBRATE – WITH A DIAMOND IN THE POCKET!!

There goes another blissful year. It’s been quite interesting year full of positive adventure. Many of us in the beginning of the year were trying to figure out whether we would be successfully; little did I know the year was going to move with a terrific speed.

I could still think back when I got to Europe and not sure whether I would be able to adapt – but being in paradise and one of the beautiful places on earth made it all possible.

Life in Europe enriched me with so much information, networking with different professionals, face-to-face communications with renowned professors lead me to reflect on my own personal accomplishments.

My time at IEDC-Bled School of Management was outstanding and been in an environment full of reflection, hard work and a positive way of life was a pure bliss.

The program was rich in content with an enviable world wide renowned faculty of professors.

The amazing journey afforded me the ability to network and reflects coherently on a wide range of complex challenges.

I am fully empowered and strongly feel I could support more and more young students in Africa who want to succeed in their quest.

My team always had the edge to succeed in all we do, in actual fact we all succeeded. We worked hard, we were creative, innovative and very persistent.

Though there were some notable adversities, we overcame them with our significant contribution. We took challenges head on and made them as opportunities; in all we had intrepid spirit!

I have developed a real hunger for success and can not wait to unleash it. Certainly, every step of the way has been a blessing. It was a huge and momentous milestone in the history of my life and feels proud of this adventurous journey.

Kudos to everyone who helped in making this year a success!!!

 

Posted by: isaac aggrey | January 29, 2010

THE ROAD TO 2015. IS ON!!!

We all felt the impact of the global economic downturn in 2009 yet we worked so hard to weather the storm by creating more opportunities for Women and Children.

Our plan for 2010 to 2015 is to bring Women around the globe together, encouraging the establishment of different pilot projects with developmental magnitudes.

We will create more interactive programmes with emphasis on integrated network support with high standards.

Our Trade Mission Project will be launched to promote the effort of Women already in business to explore international businesses.

Our headquarters location will be named and simultaneously support a lifelong effort to educate and provide programmes that builds our communities.

In conclusion, we look forward to the opportunity to connect with the world and share the joy of doing business together.

Posted by: isaac aggrey | December 18, 2009

2009 AS IT WAS!

The year 2009 will go down in the annals as a memorable year. There were array of notable progress.

Yes, there were many progress, remarkable progress; and there were victories, sweet victories.

There were therefore little dark clouds here and there, but by and large, it was a rosy and glorious year.

The year began very well with the World Bank Institute as I joined other renowned world leaders on CSR course.

This provided me with the necessary tools and resources to engage with various stakeholders at different level.

It uniquely coincided with International Women’s day where emphasis was placed on Equality, Justice, Peace and Development.

Solidarity was expressed with women around the globe and they were strongly encouraged to vote, hold public office, fight discrimination and celebrate acts of courage and determination.

Another remarkable event was the global campaign for education. The YF Team in collaboration with University of the Western Cape, Department of Life Long Learning came strongly against illiteracy that has plagued our society. The campaign drew large crowd from the community and the surrounding schools.

It was all joy to see the YF reaching their goals honourably. Their noble gesture was therefore acknowledged with support from UWC and the World Pulse.

It was however, the UN award which brought greater glory and joy. The award ceremony which was organized by the Global Business School Network took place in Cape Town, South Africa during the World Economic Forum. It was regarded as the greatest award ceremony at all times.

It was a memorable occasion and much to our delight, I emerged victorious out of 150 applicants from Africa. Yes, it was certainly a sweet victory.

This big success brought benevolent financial grant to the tune of 45,000 Euros full scholarship to study in one of the best Management Schools in Europe.

The Louis Group and Stellenbosch University Business School Executive Development Programme came at the right time. The programme was simply fantastic and totally profiting. I enjoyed my vibrant group (G5) with their diversity of unique cultures and natural enthusiasm. The programme served as an entry level to my International Executive MBA studies in Europe.

Amidst every dark cloud is a light. If you keep your focus and look deeply enough, it would become crystal clear.

In conclusion, I feel highly delighted and proud of all these achievements. I grew from strength to strength, from victory to victory.

I thank all my Staff, the YF, Partners, Mentors, Sponsors for all the kind co-operation given me which went a long way in making 2009 a successful year.

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