Postive change is addictive, a challenge for social entrepeneurs

Written by on July 21, 2009 in Notes By The Way with 0 Comments

I could imagine a large chunk of the aid industry drying up in the next 25 years without much of a loss, but I don’t think it will happen. There are too  many vested interests, like governments who want to buy favor in emerging markets and people whose income and future careers are on the line. What I can realistically hope for in the next 25 years is that a new school of foreign aid will eclipse the old school. This new school will be characterized by dignity over dependence, freedom and choice over charity, and real empowerment over imagery and token words. I think an encouraging sign is the movement toward investing in social entrepreneurs. One key player is the Acumen Fund. They are not only doing this, they are raising up young leaders who can share and multiply the vision.

Check out this very worthwhile video of Seth Godin addressing an inaugural Student Leader’s Workshop:

Quote (5:41 mark):

Making change is addictive. Making positive change — doing things that matter to people — will change your life forever for the better.

Doesn’t this have a spiritual ring? It’s a gospel message: make a change, change your life, forever…

Why not call people to live for something bigger and better than a high paying job and working for the system? (Okay, a quick rejoiner, it’s a bad idea if you can’t deliver. It’s got to be more than a sales job.) Anyway, I’m hopeful and heartened to see them going for it.

I’m a bit skeptical, given my spiritual perspective, about how far the changes will go or how purely motivated the movement will remain without a God-sized love at the core. I know “markets” are supposed to be neutral, but greed may cause people to act unreasonably and warp a good thing. Still, as Seth Godin says, we move forward through failures. I’d like to see followers of Jesus humbly leaving the sanctuary of buildings and religion to join in these kinds of efforts as investors and learners. We are, after all, seeking a reality beyond politics and institutions in which (as Jesus said) captive and oppressed people are set free, not merely given a handout.

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About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray is a writer and photographer living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and working with Alongsiders International. You can find him puttering around the streets of Phnom Penh on his Suzuki Viva 125, running stoplights and driving on the wrong side of the road or on the sidewalks like a local. If you see him in a coffee shop, he'll be the one typing and deleting the same line over and over again. .

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