A new report by the Global Black Gay Men Connect (GBGMC) underscores the need for gay, bisexual, and other MSM (GBMSM) organizations to engage in social enterprising as a way of improving their economic livelihoods.
In January 2021, in partnership with the Kenya MSM HIV Prevention Network (GHPN-KE), we came together to conduct an analysis of social enterprise programs among GBMSM organizations in Kenya. We sought to find out how community-led organizations have been including and implementing social enterprise(s) within their programs – the innovations, saving plans, definitions, sustainability – and how this has improved the quality of life for their members and organizational growth.
Given that most GBMSM organizations are heavily reliant on donor funding – which has been on a steady decline over the years – the report urges for diversification of income by operating social enterprises that “provide services and products aligned to the organization’s mission and vision of meaningfully contributing to social impact while generating financial revenues.”
The aim of social enterprise is to provide a solution to social problems that members of the organizations encounter while at the same time ensuring that the organization is able to cover the costs of running the enterprise and that the profit accrued is plowed back to the company.
In Kenya, where the study was done, there is a lack of data on the number, distribution, and economic characteristics of its citizens who are sexual and gender minorities. In fact, research has shown that 53% of Kenyans are living in multidimensional poverty, deprived of at least three basic needs, services and rights. To fill this gap, the report urges investing in social enterprising as a potential model to ensure the longer-term sustainability of the operations of most GBMSM organizations.
“Social enterprises have been shown to produce positive results among participants in the areas of personal well-being, group connectedness, confidence, and empowerment of communities. Activities conducted by social enterprises have been shown to support improvements in physical activity and decrease depressive symptoms,” the report states. Over the last decade, social enterprise models have been increasingly promoted as a vehicle to deliver health services.
- Continuously showcasing and creating awareness around social enterprise programs that have had an impact on the lives of people.
- Creating new funding streams to support social enterprises for MSM with clear goals and targets.
- Mobilizing members, creating additional income, support, and house members, as well as improving retention and reach for HIV testing services and also building the confidence of members.
- Capacity building and training include other support to reduce donor dependency and increase local buy-in, e.g. by developing curriculums, community guides.
- Investing in research, analysis, and data collection to strengthen and support advocacy for funding towards social enterprise programs for GBMSM.
- Using a human-centered approach to develop customized solutions that fit the local consumer needs and tastes.
- Linking members with funds like the Youth Fund or micro-financing that would cater to the needs of GBMSM and transgender individuals, and creating and supporting mentorship programs, and;
- Including social enterprise projects as a structural component of Key Population funding by local, country, or global donors.]
READ the REPORT HERE. Or scan the OR code below.