Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Global Change Learning Internship

In my last post, I mentioned the global internship that I'll be going on as part of the graduate program with Pepperdine University. It is considered one of the courses I'll be taking for next term. Here's a little more info about it:
This course encourages students to work alongside and learn from globally recognized international and domestic social entrepreneurs, NGO, or non-profit in a developing country who are addressing some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems. The global change experience will involve a two week international trip that focuses on making a difference in communities where bonds are created between people and nations that deepen our understandings of the world.

The intent of the internship is to provide for leadership activities and engage in service learning that both changes the recipient and the individual engaged in the leadership internship. The internship should be structured in such a way to provide opportunities that link the tasks/activities to self-reflection, self-discovery, and acquisition and comprehension of values, empowerment issues, ethical and philosophical considerations. Connections between the leader interacting through the activities and the community being aided are important.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The New Field of Cacao Farming

For the past couple of years, I've been increasingly interested in social entrepreneurship. What's that, you ask? I would define social entrepreneurship as the use of a for-profit or non-profit organization that utilizes business models in order to gain resources intended to support or sustain social impact.

It's all about operating for more than one's own personal economic benefit. Rather than the traditional bottom line of "profit," it's about the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. The sustainable benefit of all these three are the goal.

Some of the hallmarks of social entrepreneurship is sustainability, systemic thinking, and innovation. We're finding creative ways to solve the world's most pressing problems by developing systemic solutions that have a cascading impact on interconnected communities, industries, and eco-systems.

For me personally, I wanted to help find broader, innovative, systemic solutions to social and environmental challenges. For the past five and a half years, I've founded and operated a non-profit organization called the Catalyst Network of Communities that creates spaces for individuals and organizations to connect, to collaborate and to share resources as an effort to combat the fragmented, competitive, and redundant atmosphere among community organizations. We are a network of over 90 community organizations and businesses but we measure our impact by the number of participating partners.

As I help Catalyst establish a solid foundation for its mission, I've been wanting to embark on new ventures. I wanted to create a social enterprise with a for-profit model that helped people. So I'm exploring the new field of cacao farming. Cocoa! Chocolate! But how can I create a cocoa business that helps people?

That is what I'm about to figure out. This blog will help me chronicle my journey, process my thoughts, and share my research.

I am currently a graduate student at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology working towards a Master of Arts in Social Entrepreneurship and Change. As part of the program, I am doing research and will participate in a global internship experience. I get to choose the country, the social issue, and the organization to work with.

My choice of study and exploration will be Cacao Farming and Cocoa Production in the Philippines. I'm still searching for (securing) a host organization.

This will be fun!