What is the best way to lift people out of poverty and help orphans? I think part of the answer isn’t more aid, it’s sustainable work.

Ethiopia needs economic development. Currently, the Ethiopian economy is almost all agriculture (accounting for 80% of employment) but radical deforestation combined with period’s drought and is a major cause of extreme poverty.

We want to help business development (think small businesses growth) by empowering young entrepreneurs to ultimately have a positive impact on orphans in the society.

This morning I read Levi Benkert’s post on, “Poverty, and the War We Can’t Afford to Loose“. In it, he shares a story of offering a poor woman they had aided for almost a year an opportunity to start a business with funding. She refused.

This was an offer for her to climb out of poverty and make enough money to get her children into a good house, and even help put three meals on the table each day.

I can’t understand why a person who has lived her life in poverty and offered a way out (via a business they are capable of running) would refuse this gift?

I’m naive about poverty because I’ve never been poor. I’m not sure if this woman would have responded differently if she were offered a job instead of a business. Only God knows.

I know from experience that many people are willing to work but few are ready to start and run a businesses. So that brings me to a question that I’m praying about…

What’s the best way to lift people out of poverty? Is it sustainable work or is it business and entrepreneurship? I think it’s both.

Part of our vision to help business development (think small businesses growth) in Ethiopia by empowering young entrepreneurs who will ultimately have a positive impact on potential families (who need jobs) and orphans (funding orphanages) in the society.

I read this Harvard Business Review article, “The Microwork Solution” and I think they are on to something.

“The social entrepreneurs in the new “impact sourcing” industry believe the answer is providing work, not aid. Their organizations hire people at the bottom of the pyramid to perform digital tasks such as transcribing audio files and editing product databases. Essentially, they do business process outsourcing that also boosts economic development.”

I’m not aware of anyone in Ethiopia doing something like this but I hope to find someone while we’re there. I’m praying for wisdom. If you have ideas or resources, please let us know.


Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations

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