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Digital volunteers support Ethiopian social enterprises

A team of volunteers from 12 nationalities has been supporting five Ethiopian social enterprises in the run up to the Social Enterprise World Forum which will be hosted in Addis Ababa from 23-25 October.

The Social Sabbatical, run by business software firm SAP, aims to help drive sustainable change in Ethiopia. The programme takes diverse employees from around the world and connects them with resource-constrained social enterprises and non-profit organisations.

The ultimate aim is to help the organisations solve concrete business problems and support businesses growth.

The social enterprises set to benefit from the programme include Timret Lehiwot Ethiopia, which supports marginalised and hard-to-reach children by providing economic, environmental and social services.

Another beneficiary was OmniTech Consulting which provides design thinking and entrepreneurship training to increase young people’s (especially girls’) problem-solving skills and Ellilta Women at Risk (EWAR) which helps women enslaved in sex trafficking to escape to a new life.

Alexandra van der Ploeg, Head of Global Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP, says:

By empowering social enterprises at a local level, we accelerate these organisations’ ability to foster sustainable societal impact and economic growth, growing employment opportunities along the way.

Collaborating with social enterprises since 2012, the SAP Social Sabbatical portfolio has placed more than 1000 participants from 56 nationalities who have volunteered at more than 340 organisations in 41 countries delivering an in-kind investment of €15.8m (£13.6m) impacting almost five million lives.

Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa, says organisations can no longer focus solely on profit to the exclusion of social and environmental matters:

The Fourth Industrial Revolution brings both exponential opportunity and immense challenges to our continent. Doing good is no longer a nice-to-have: it is a pillar of every successful purpose-driven organisation in the 21 st century. Encouragingly, a new breed of business is emerging; one that combines innovation and social impact to achieve lasting positive change within our communities.

Beyond Ethiopia, SAP will bring the Social Sabbatical for Global Engagement to more countries across Africa between now and April 2020 including Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Mauritius.

The Rooftop is reporting from the Social Enterprise World Forum thanks to support from the British Council.

Photo: SAP