Profit for social purpose

The matter of using profit for a social purpose arose recently in the context of the Social Value Act. A conversation on the Social Enterprise Mark group. started by Anne Mountjoy who I correspended with directly about our own work in this area 5 years ago. I referred to “our services as a profit for social purpose business” aka people-centered economic development,  saying

“One of the reasons we migrated our social purpose to Ukraine is that at the time when we brought the P-CED profit for purpose model to the UK, there was absolutely no response from those advocacies that existed at the time. Even to the point of failing to get a reply from Baroness Thornton of the SEC in a letter delivered to her at the House of Lords.”

The Linked discussion on social investment is one of the many conversations I can’t participate in because this forun is one of those that will not approve my comment on the current conversation about social investment.  It was interesting to read what Pope Benedict wrote on this subject in his 2009 encyclical, ‘Caritas in Veritate’

‘This is not merely a matter of a “third sector”, but of a broad new composite reality embracing the private and public spheres, one which does not exclude profit, but instead considers it a means for achieving human and social ends. Whether such companies distribute dividends or not, whether their juridical structure corresponds to one or other of the established forms, becomes secondary in relation to their willingness to view profit as a means of achieving the goal of a more humane market and society’

‘Striving to meet the deepest moral needs of the person also has important and beneficial repercussions at the level of economics. The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly — not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centred.’ .

As an agnostic, I’m reliably informed that it’s about “the authentic development of every person and of all humanity

I aligned very well with the business plan for people-centered economic development which was distrbuted to the social enterprise community in 2004 and said:

“Traditional capitalism is an insufficient economic model allowing monetary outcomes as the bottom line with little regard to social needs. Bottom line must be taken one step further by at least some companies, past profit, to people. How profits are used is equally as important as creation of profits. Where profits can be brought to bear by willing individuals and companies to social benefit, so much the better. Moreover, this activity must be recognized and supported at government policy level as a badly needed, essential, and entirely legitimate enterprise activity.”

The ‘profit for purpose’ business model as we concieved it, was distributed from 1996 onward free for others to use.

Now, this is what Lucy Findlay says in her blog on the matter of certification.

“So why not self-certify after all it’s quicker, cheaper and potentially more accessible?

Easy accessibility is its key downfall. It does not protect integrity, it is inconsistent and is open to self-interpretation and in the worst cases, abuse.

Having run the Social Enterprise Mark since the beginning, we have developed the criteria in partnership with the sector and have protected and owned these criteria fiercely. It is our experience that interpretation of the criteria is a technical job and not easily carried out by anyone. We are constantly learning about new forms of social enterprise and the way that they operate. Our Assessment Manual has taken years of work to develop and our certification panel has taken its job very seriously in developing those precedents which have been set.:”

Is it possible for one to “protect and own” what someone else has shared with you freely?

All that was available to us in terms of certification was ‘See What You Are Buying In To’ which has more recently been rebranded as ‘Profit through Ethics’. A costly exercise for a small business which brought no business at all, not even an enquiry. I also approached B Corps with a view to collaborate. They were unable to extend to our shores.

What we were attempting to “protect and own” was not a model but the sum of our investment and labours over many years. Protection not for our own benefit but for benefit of those in greatest need, as I’ve descrribed earlier.

By 2009, when Social Edge hosted the discussion about building the social economy, my colleague was battling for his own life and that of thousands of the most needy. He wrote about the need to protect IP for social benefit:

https://economics4humanity.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/do-we-need-ethics-in-social-investment/

It was he, who from the beginning, had warned about the risk from the unscrupulous and here we are today, with a suggestion that we are among the unscrupolous in not signing up with one of many organisations who declined our offer to collaborate.

This is not safeguarding or propagating the social economy it is brand building. Whether by means of excluding others from conversation or referring to anonymous defamation, to allude to some kind of malpractice, it is building of reputation and income at the expense of others and perhaps even at the expense of their lives.

Every Little Helps

Tesco’s corporate slogan provides immediate identification and yesterday, I discovered staff at my local store were supporting a charitable cause – by dressing up as superheroes in support of Cancer Research UK.

There is without doubt, a shift in business attitude toward support of the community.  In the past such a campaign might have been permitted to collect outside the door. Now it’s a dimension of doing business.

Because of my own involvement, I know also that Tesco has formed a partnership with Grameen Bank to create a social business. It will provide microfinance lending to some of the most impoverished regions of Scotland.

I run a social business which began with a microfinance initiative for impoverished people overseas. I also have cancer, leukaemia to be specific.

Thinking further about Tesco,  I was reminded that a few months ago I’d been without transport and taken a bus to the local town for a dental appointment. When it came to returning however, there was the prospect of more than two hours wait. I though – I’ll walk up to Tesco, there’s bound to be someone from the village I can hitch a left from. There was.

I began to ask – Is Tesco really helping ?

The primary focus of my own social business are children institutionalised because they’re considered imperfect and I was reminded recenty of an interview my colleague gave to a Canadian magazine before he died. He spoke of social business partnership saying:

“The funds will be directed to concluding a project in the Ukraine which involves funding the training of residents to develop social businesses. Included in this work is supporting children who have disabilities, many of whom have been left to die in secretive locations. P-CED is helping to move these children to safety and give them access to modern healthcare.”

Ironically as an American without health insurance, he died as a consequence of poverty.while I faced my own challenge and the despair of not being able to help him or the children he spoke of.

It isn’t easy to talk about cancer. Wanting on one hand not to reveal one’s vulnerability, while at the same time being in great need of social engagement – someone to talk to.

If I want to speak to someone in my village, I can go into town and find them in Tesco.

The greatest fear becomes  exposing oneself and seeing the trapped look  of someone saying that they ‘don’t have time’.

I did get to speak to Wonder Woman yesterday, advising her on the spinning technique (on TV we never saw how she spun back to being normal)  and then the part-time checkout girl. I asked why she and others weren’t in costume and learned that the staff had to buy their own. She couldn’t afford it from what she earned.

In spite of all this ‘social’ activity it seems, we are so many at a distance from each other.

What’s your definition of social business?

This was the question I asked a business network 3 years ago.   As I’d observed,  the concept of social business advocated by Muhammad Yunus, of business with a primary social goal had been circulating since publication of his book on Creating a World Without Poverty  in 2007 and earlier in a presentation paper, which claimed ‘Social Business Entreprenuers are the Solution’

Let me first offer 3 broad definitions:  A social entrepreneur is someone who applies business solutions to a social problem and is supported by foundation grants and stipends. Social enterprise is a business which invests the majority of  its surplus in a social objective but may also be supported by grants.  Social business is a self-sustaining, non dividend distributing business with a primary social purpose.

In 2008, I started the Linkedin group on Social Business and For Benefit Corporations,  which was aligned with the Linkedin definition, though many of those self-ascribing this as a skill seemingly had no connection.

Another interpretation was developing however, that of social media business rather than social purpose business and IBM seemed to be in the driving seat.

Our founder who died in 2011 had an anecdote about IBM .  Apparently after he’d started to distribute his paper on business for social benefit in 1996, two guys from IBM showed up at the restaurant he frequented. They’d sought him out with the aim of deconstructing his work and discovered he was no pushover. Apparently he’d turned it around on them so severely, that one of them left in tears.

THINK IBM was not only a corporate slogan.  It also became an item of desk furniture in the 70s and 80s,  in case anyone thought outside their particular box, their mantra that ‘nobody got fired for buying IBM’

In his 1996 paper, Terry Hallman described how the dawning Information Age, presented an opportunity to share information and develop business and economics for the benefit of humanity, concluding:

Just changing the way business is done, if only by a few companies, can change the flow of wealth, ease and eliminate poverty, and leave us all with something better to worry about. Basic human needs such as food and shelter are fundamental human rights; there are more than enough resources available to go around–if we can just figure out how to share. It cannot be “Me first, mine first”; rather, “Me, too” is more the order of the day.

in 2008, asking “what is social enterprise?” he’d said:

“There is so far no commonly agreed definition. Is an enterprise social if it produces some sort of social benefit? If so, in that sense, many or indeed most traditional businesses for profit can be considered social enterprises. Business enterprises typically produce something of value for clients and customers, otherwise they would cease to exist as business enterprises. Earning thousands or millions of customers can by definition be considered social benefit. Social refers to groups of people, as contrasted with one person. If a company produces a product or service, it has to benefit a group of people sufficiently for them to use that product or service. Owners and stockholders benefit from financial profits gained by the enterprise. Stockholders range from individuals owning relatively large percentages of a company to ordinary pensioners relying on income from micro-investments into the company. Profits from almost any large public corporation are shared among wealthy individual stakeholders to humble, modest households who have holdings in the company through an array of mutual funds managed by government-regulated financial managers.”

Today, as if IBM has suddenly come round to realise that it’s not just about social media, an article in Fast Company magazine bears the headline ‘Move over Social Media: Here Comes Social Business.

It’s still about traditional capitalism, however and the maximisation of profit.

Id comment on the Fast Company article but the site tells me that I’m blocked from making a new comment. They’ve already realised that I differ greatly on this issue and the way to force their view is to control rather than share infomation. It takes me back  to a paragraph from the 1996 paper:

As Alvin Toffler predicted in Power Shift, where once violence and then wealth were dominant forms of power, information is now becoming the dominant power. Those nations with the greatest freedom of information and means of transmitting it have now become the most powerful and influential, and the strongest economically. Toffler also predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union would come about due primarily to its authoritarian control and limiting of information. Unfortunately for Russian citizens, this old habit has continued for them beyond the collapse of the former Soviet Union and will at the least make an interesting case study on the survivability of a once strong nation which still remains committed to limiting and controlling information.

My concerns  3 years ago,  that business with tradirtional profit maximising objectives would undermine the concept of social business are now being echoed within the EU where recently it was observed that:

“They rebranded themselves as social innovators and entrepreneurs because these are the new tags to get the ears and funding of Brussels. The Commission ended up opening the floor to every stakeholder claiming a place at the table.”

This is more than a little ironic since within the EU itself a group of  ‘experts’   described as GECES seem to have branded themselves  as arbitrators.  Their definitions,  EU Commissioner Barnier claims, have been made through ‘high level’ consultations  None appear to be idenfiable as practitioners  of social business however.

In 2011, I included the description and history  of our P-CED business model in an application for the EU sponsored  social business competition in Naples.

Aside from definitions, there’s also the concept of forward investment in an  EU Social Entreprenuership Fund (EUSEF), a concept proposed in our 1996 white paper, our 2004 business plan and more relevantly, the  proposal for microeconomic development and social enterprise, I submitted to the EU Citizens Consultation in 2008.

Commissioner Barnier claims, in spite of our own transparency,  that he was not aware of our work, that these concept have evolved in the last decade from various sources.  He cannot seem to offer any example.   A year on from his suggestion of  “a fruitful collaboration on these matter in the future”  there is no indication that this can ever be expected.

Does George Monbiot want people-centered economics?

I wondered, seeing this video for the first time today:

It seemed to resonate with people-centered economics.

“Dealing with poverty is nothing new. The question became ‘how does poverty still exist in a world with sufficient resources for a decent quality of life for everyone?’ The answer was that we have yet to develop any economic system capable redistributing finite resources in a way that everyone has at minimum enough for a decent life: food, decent housing, transportation, clothing, health care, and education. The problem has not been lack of resources, but adequate distribution of resources. Capitalism is the most powerful economic engine ever devised, yet it came up short with its classical, inherent profit-motive as being presumed to be the driving force. Under that presumption, all is good in the name of profit became the prevailing winds of international economies — thereby giving carte blanche to the notion that greed is good because it is what has driven capitalism. The 1996 paper merely took exception with the assumption that personal profit, greed, and the desire to amass as much money and property on a personal level as possible are inherent and therefore necessary aspects of any capitalist endeavour. While it is in fact very normal for that to be the case, it simply does not follow that it must be the case.”

Predistrbution and living wages

Now imagine if the resources to create this kind of video were available to activists and practitioners.

Changing capitalism for people and planet

Novartis: Is ‘creating shared value’ a sham ?

There’s good reason for me to consider Novartis as a business with some social benefit.  Going back to 1999 they’d come to my assistance when I’d sought help for a woman in Russia with a diabetic complication who was at risk of losing a leg.

Through their offices in Italy, they’s shipped 6 months supply to Lyubov in Novosibirsk at no cost to either of us and the following year, she’d written to me overjoyed at breaking her leg. Her joy was founded  in having a leg to break rather than it being amputated a year earlier.

A decade later , my own life became dependent on Novartis  and their products. First Gleevec and now Tasigna, both treatments for chronic myeloid leukeamia.

In February last year, as the N.I.C.E approved Tasniga as an NHS treatment I was reading a Polly Tonybee article while sitting in the waiting room of the Edward Jenner unit at GRH.  The article revealed how many of these treatments were set their price tag just below the N.I.C.E threshold

A dew weeks later, the Guardian would publish an article which endorsed the social commitment Novartis was making under the banner of Creating Shared Value, which advocates the application of business to solve social problems.

For me, this is a matter of considerable interest, since we’d been one of the pioneers of business with a primary social purpose,  as I’d described in my own article on ‘Changing Capitalism for People and Planet‘   I’d offered it to the Guardian sustainable business editor in 2011.

A couple of years before diagnosis, I’d had the opportunity to visit Novartis near Warrington when Serco, one of the customers for the software which creates our own revenue invited me to meet with Novartis staff.  An invitation which ended up as an expense, since our product was not entirely what was wanted.

A few months after the Novartis article, the author then suggested that corporations could profit by solving social problems and to me this underlined the difference between the ‘shared value’ concept and that of a social purpose business.   The gist of my comment on this article was that the latter was about deploying profit for social purpose rather than creating profit from a social purpose.    I cited the example of our strategy paper from 5 years earlier proposing a business strategy with the primary focus of childcare reform – removing all Ukraine’s children from insititutional neglect

As one may see, this  comment was deleted and I’ve since been blocked from further comment, which led me to ask if Mark Kramer or perhaps the Guardian is afraid of open conversation.  The experience brought to mind the words of Kipling:

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

Commenting recently on the diplomatic spat that began just before Christmas,  with Russia’s orphans taking the role of the proverbial football, I desctibe how this actually was something my colleague gave his life to, as one of around 50 million Americans for whom health insurance is unaffordable.

Novartis may well be doing some good for humanity, but it comes at considerable cost to the taxpayer who foots the NHS bill for treatment which costs more than my total income. As the NHS shifts increasingly toward privatisation, it may well place those whose life depends on this level of expenditure in the same position as my American colleague.

Ukrainian campaigner seeks asylum in Russia

Mykola Kozhushko, head of the Dnepropetrovsk-based NGO Pomozhem Detyam, or Help Children, claims he has been targeted after blowing the whistle on criminals involved in fraud schemes with apartments allotted for orphans, RIA Novosti reports today..

In 2007, former Rada member Mykola Syrota, considered  to be the father of Ukraine’s constitution, had spoken out about the involvement of law enforcers in the prostitution of infants in Odesa.  Within 6 months he died in a mysterious traffic accident.

What Kozhuskho has spoken out about, once more raises questions about fate of Terry Hallman an American activist who’d also spoken out about the involvement of organised crime in the childcare system, with his provocative article on ‘Death Camps for Children’.

Hallman died in 2011, having failed to gain the support of US and UK government in his efforts to leverage reform. In notes left behind, he described the scenario 5 years ago after escalating the issue to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations:

“Opening up the reality of that situation resulted in threats against me and anyone else interfering with that system.  I came under direct assault by tax police, government’s primary enforcement arm if anyone steps out of line.  This is not a research activity where many, if any, other people dared to participate.  UNICEF was willfully blind to the matter because it was just too dangerous to bother to intercede  Powerful interests remained entrenched with enforcers to make it dangerous.  Jurists were correct, in my view.  It was more a mafia operation than anything else, aimed at misappropriation and laundering of large money.  That was perfectly congruent with how Ukraine operated before the revolution.  USAID wanted nothing to do with it, nor would they fund any organizations or activists who might try.  Some things could be done and some things could not be done.  Helping these children was something that could not be done.  So, I exposed it and made it the central focus and metric of Ukraine’s microeconomic development blueprint.  In that context, it was far more difficult to ignore, dismiss, or argue about.  For about six months, I really did not expect to survive.  Nevertheless, Ukraine’s government finally conceded the point and announced the opening of more than four hundred new treatment centers for children who were theretofore invisible under tight and deadly enforcement.”

USAID had in fact gone further than Hallman realised before his death. The proposal he’d referred them to in his letter, a national scale social enterprise initiative, soon appeared under their own banner, in a joint initiative with the British Council. The primary focus of Ukraine’s most vulnerable children was eliminated when the proposal for a development centre in Kharkiv ended up in Donetsk, keeping us very much at arms length

There can be little doubt that public and private funds from both the US and Uk are now being used to help deny children their human rights.

Migrating to Drupal

Of all the CMS products I’ve tried, Drupal seemed at first to be confusing.  Having tried many and used DotNetNuke in several instances, I wanted top migrate a site developed in Concrete 5 which had been easy to set up but pretty unstable when it came to upgrading and editing.

It took about an hour of reading before making a start, but I found most of the work could be done within a day for mostly static text site.

Getting SMTP to function on the contact form took a little fiddling around as did setting up to embed media content.

One of the great features of Drupal I found was the ability to creat URL aliases such that the new site slotted straight into where the old had been hosted, while retaining all the links posted in blogs and forums to refer to web content.

http://www.p-ced.com/1/node/23

There’s a lot of choice when it comes to templates .  I chose the simple Garland theme which was good enough for my needs. Changing colours on the fly is another benefit that isn’t so easily done on other CMS.

All that was needed to slot into the existing host folder was renaming  the folders and editing the htaccess file.

I’m a beginner right now, but so far,  haven’t seen anything better than this.

The Social Value Act and Human Rights

As the UK Public Sector (Social Value) Act  comes into force, I relate to MP Mark Harper how government partnerships with big business  in which their financial conribution is a qualifying criteria, undermines social enterprise and human rights activism to benefit organised crime:

Dear Mark Harper MP,

Thank you for looking into the issue of our social enterprise activities in Ukraine and the response from the British Council .

Unfortunately you have not been given an accurate picture of the issue..

From 2004 operating as a UK based social enterprise, we began our mission to leverage social enterprise development in Ukraine working alongside local civic action and human rights organisations in Kharkiv and by October 2006 had delivered our proposal paper to govenment channels

In December 2008 we made enquiries about UK government support to the Foreign and Commonweath Office and their response is at the end of this email. As you may observe, they are fully aware of our work in Ukraine. I understand that the FCO provides funding for The British Council.

By this time our ‘Death Camps, For Children’ article had been widely read, as had our proposal for childcare reform and a social enterprise centre in Kharkiv National University.

In 2007 Ukraine’s goverment had announced plans to adopt one of the major recommendations, the creation of 400+ rehab centres for disabled children.

In February 2008 direct contact was made with USAID, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the US Ambassador for Ukraine, reminding them of our proposal and the urgent need for tackling the problem of disabled children in Ukraine’s institutional care system.

In December 2008 the paper was also introduced to the EU Citizens Consultation and was viewable through their prominent web portal

In July 2010 the proposal was put foward in a social business ideas competition run by Erste Bank, who are now one of the partners in the joint British Council/USAID project.

In October 2010 a social enterprise centre, as proposed in our 2006 plan, was created in Donetsk another city in the East of Ukraine.

Let me now turn to the matter of social enterprise definition. Ours is a self-sustaining business with a primary social objective, which distributes no dividend. it was conceived in our 1996 white paper and introduced to the UK in 2004, where it has since been our operational model. It is also described in our proposal in which Kim Alter’s social enterprise typology is also referred to

The approach known as social entrepreneurship which depends on grant and foundation funding support has been widely used over several decades . On the British Council website, the definition used is that which P-CED conceived in 1996 and introduced to the UK in 2004, prior to the introduction of the Community Interest Company model in 2005..

“Social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose profits are directed mainly at self-development, public affairs or resolving social problems. Such companies operate as business organisations do and generate profit, therefore they are non-charity. Social entrepreneurship is dynamically growing in European countries now, addressing unemployment, social protection and social inclusion. In particular, there are over 50,000 social enterprises only in the UK.”

Putting aside these multiple economies of truth, from the beginning the primary focus of our work has been the children abandoned to state care which were identified earlier this year in the BBC 4 documentary on Ukraine’s Forgotten Children. According to the written constitution of Ukraine, articles 26 and 52 of ‘Human and Citizen’s Rights Freedom and Duties , as residents we have a responsibility to act in the knowledge of children being exploited. A responsiblity shared by any UK subject or organisation resident in Ukraine..

Finally, Martin Davidson has stated that the abilty to make a financial contribution is one of the qualifying criteria for partnership with the British Council. Essentially corporate business is given the opportunity to buy into social enterprise development and as has already been demonstrated, steer around fundamental human rights issues which present a conflict of interest with commercial objectives.

Regards,

Jeff Mowatt

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Jeff Mowatt
To: Richard.Bielby
Sent: Tuesday, 9 December 2008, 9:27
Subject: Re: Democracy and human rights in Ukraine

Dear Richard,

Thanks for your response. To explain the points you mention below, I had originally contacted the FCO in London with regard to our work in Ukraine, and on failing to get any response raised the matter with my MP Mark Harper in December 2007. Yours is the only response from the FCO from my original submission via the FCO contact form earlier that year.

My original enquiry was about funding support for our efforts, which I will explain below. I was aware from earlier enquiries to the DfID that their operation in Ukraine was closing down and that the FCO retained a small budget for development aid efforts. I was also aware that the Westminster Foundation for Democracy had been awared £300,000 approximately half that budget, for a parliamentary programme in Ukraine.

I then learned that WFD were to produce an exhibit to raise awareness of Ukraine’s Holodomor, something we began on a voluntary basis in the launch of our holodomor.org.uk site, six months or so earlier. It would be difficult to imagine this effort not being a resource to anyone developing such an exhibit.

I’m a tax paying individual, running a tax paying social enterprise which directs all profit and more toward humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. From where I sit, it would seem that while my enquiry about funding assistance is ignored, I’m contributing to a government sponsored group who would readily pass off our efforts as their own without a hint of acknolwledgement.

Now about our work. It begins with my colleague Terry Hallman’s efforts in Russia in sourcing rhe Tomsk Regional Initiative for USAID back in 1999. The project running between 2001 and 2004 pioneered microfinance in Russia and was replicated in several locations including Tblisi. In this period in Tomsk 10,000 new businesses were created with repayment and business survival rates both in excess of 95%.

P-CED UK began while Terry, a US citizen, was involved in leveraging a similar project of the Tatar community in Crimea.

As you will see from our website, these efforts are in line with out “swords to ploughshares” approach in Eastern Europe and as I can see from the FCO blog entries about Russia and
Arms Control, this is an approach which the FCO might endorse as being in UK interests.

Since 2004, when we first incorporated in the UK, our efforts have focussed on Ukraine, poverty and childcare reform in particular. Our ‘Marshall Plan’ paper for micreconomic development and social enterprise being delivered, to both Ukraine’s government and the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in October 2006. Of particular emphasis, was the plight of disabled children in institutional care and the need for more than 400 rehab centres to treat them.

In just over two years, we’ve seen 3 of this paper’s recommendations become Ukraine government policy, including the announcement of 400+ rehab centres and from the US in response to a call for investment in social enterprise we’ve seen the launch of the East Europe Foundation at Davos earlier this year.

Of even greater concern is the HIV epidemic raging in Ukraine, now considered a threat to all Europe. The paper, above all makes the case for a once and for all resolution of institutional childcare issues arising from poverty, which render children into care and to graduate to the streets to prostitution and crime in a continous cycle of poverty and exploitation which can only further catalyse this epidemic.

In the 4 years that we have existed as a UK social enterprise I have made many attempts to raise awareness of our work with government. This includes contacting the APPGs on social enterprise, microfinance and Ukraine. None have had sufficient interest to offer a response.

Regards,

Jeff Mowatt

.

— On Fri, 5/12/08, Richard.Bielby wrote:

From: Richard.Bielby
Subject: Democracy and human rights in Ukraine
To: jeff.mowatt
Date: Friday, 5 December, 2008, 11:25 AM

Dear Mr Mowatt

Thank you for your e-mail of 14 October to the Minister for Europe. I am replying as the desk officer responsible for Ukraine in the FCO.

I was very interested to read about the work P-CED is carrying out in Ukraine. But I’m afraid I didn’t fully understand the points you made in the final two paragraphs of your e-mail – for example regarding the lack of response from the FCO and your comments regarding the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. I would be happy to look into these issues further if you could provide some further details outlining your concerns.

Yours sincerely

Richard

Richard Bielby | Desk Officer, Ukraine | Europe Directorate | Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH | e-mail richard.bielby@fco.gov.uk | telephone +44 (0) 20 7008 2393 | FTN 8008 2393 | website http://www.fco.gov.uk | visit our blogs at http://blogs.fco.gov.uk

Is social enterprise corrupt?

I might have been persuaded otherwise, but for an article today in the Guardian social enterprise hub, on the subject of international social enterprise, replete with comments about the usual suspects, conferences and visits overseas.

Those who joined the groups I created for  Social Enterprise on Facebook and Social Business on Linkedin will know that P-CED has been engaged internationally since 1999 . It began with a paper which was delivered to the White House in 1996.   When our founder died overseas last year neither I nor the family could afford to attend the funeral or bring the body home.

In contrast, Social Enterprise UK has the means to fund a mission to the White House, as I learned from this article.

It was in 2006, that we  joined and introduced our international work to what was then the Social Enterprise Coalition headed by Jonathan Bland. We were told that our work was outside their current focus, but they kept our subscription anyway. No wonder we can’t afford to send a body home to America.

SE UK’s   business director might have said many things about our work in Eastern Europe, but instead drew attention online to a smear campaign targeting our activism on childcare reform to remark that there were some serious criticism about P-CED on the internet.

There was a notable  absence of comment from those in social enterprise ‘support’, on the announcement of Terry Hallman’s death.

Regardless 0f  the apparent self-serving nature of social enterprise support, this is eclipsed by what happened to the proposal for a social enterprise centre, as described to the SEC in 2006.

It was to be located at Kharkiv National University where our connections with the Maidan civic action group and Kharkiv Human Rights Protection group sat alongside a national and international education hub.

Four years later, in 2010 a social enterprise centre was established in the heart of Ukraine’s industrial and organised crime centre of Donetsk,  the location  for the report on  ‘Death Camps, For Children’  in the village of Torez.

Could this by any chance have something to do with the British Council, who sponsor the Guardian Hub on international social enterprise and launched the social enterprise centre in Donetsk?

Another illustration of this partiality in journalism may be found in the BBC documentary which was broadcast 6 years after the matter had been brought to the attention of Yuri Pavlenko Ukraine’s Minster for Family, Youth and Sports

Kate Blewett asks – Why is Tatiana fighting this issue alone,  where the attention of NGOs and Ministers and the rest of the country is.

All lives have equal value

The statement may be found on the website of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has considerable resonance with our own argument that human beings are not disposable, which is the fundamental predicate of People-Centered  Economic Development.

Just recenty I’d related  how, when it came to the matter of leveraging support for human rights action from government,  some animals, notable the venture capitalist are more equal than others. 

There’s been a massive recent display of public feeling in India over the student who died after a brutal rape. In Ukraine there was a similar incident earlier this year when Oksana Makar  a teenage girl had been set on fire after her rape ordeal, to die in hospital as had the Indian girl.

In Los Angeles too, we hear of a homeless woman of 67, set of fire while sleeping on a public bench.

Clearly there’s a problem of violence against women, but it this not also a problem of percieved value, that some are consifered consumable and disposable as human beings?  That as yet, we have a long way to go before all lives have equal value?