Adonis Diaries

Powerful ‘ripple effect’ unleashed: Investing in adolescent girls?

Posted on: March 5, 2012

Powerful ‘ripple effect’ unleashed: Investing in adolescent girls?

Facing an increase in challenges such as teenage pregnancy, youth unemployment and obesity, and rising concern over mental wellbeing, community cohesion and households in poverty, the UK-based communities innovative and social initiatives are needed more than ever.

With reduced budgets for services and programmes which support social change, it is time for the commercial world to take more responsibility, and match the many social enterprises which are picking up the baton.

Mary at Uscreates wrote: “Last summer, Uscreates worked with a brand foundation that believes girls are a powerful change agent. The theory is that by investing in adolescent girls, a powerful ‘ripple effect’ will be unleashed. How?

By passing knowledge and advice to future adolescent girl generations to help address social challenges. While the work took place in Uganda, the brief was very similar to the UK work, but it was the first time Uscreates had worked with a foundation. We had our eyes opened to the focus and dedication to social improvement coming from the commercial world.

There is a wealth of support and resources beyond the public sector dedicated to achieving social change. And at Uscreates, we have been working with a range of organisation to harness this. However, I have been struck by the number of companies that focus on social missions and agendas in developing countries.

Of course, some of the world’s greatest social challenges exist in the third world: strategic funding and initiatives can have real effect, so this shouldn’t surprise me.  I also think the same is true for the UK.

For business to consider social sustainability is a relatively new mind-set, as is thinking about delivering it on home ground. Instead of international development, maybe the next decade will be about ‘ intra-national development’, or ‘national development’.

There are programmes and initiatives that demonstrate that this thinking is already underway within the world of social enterprise. “A Year Here” is a new programme supporting and encouraging teenagers to spend their gap year in the UK, rather than the traditional trip to Africa, volunteering their time to tackle a range of pressing social issues.

There are initiatives from corporates focusing their attention on UK challenges such as Orange and their Rockcorps programme. Rockcorps arranged gigs tickets that could only be obtained by volunteering for four hours in their local communities.

If Orange are working on the same agenda as the Big Society and encouraging the public to volunteer, will we soon see KPMG being the pioneers of health initiatives, once championed by the NHS, or BT leading new innovations to support the non-working class, into training or employment?

Uscreates are really interested to talk to people who have a view on ‘intranational development’ and would be keen to hear from you!” End of quote

Uscreates is a design company that receives government funding for designing community needs in communication and social well-being.

Note:  Mary’s point of view at Uscreate, published on Feb. 29, 2012 was under the title “Intranational development”

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March 2012

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