Social enterprise projects are critical to giving community based organisations (CBOs) sustainable ways to generate income to continue serving their constituencies, especailly those working with key population groups. These projects also give CBOs the ability to tap into sometimes underserved sections of the market, with well needed goods and services. Our partner, Stg Building Bridges Saving Lives (SBBSL) located in Suriname, is undertaking one such project. SBBSL’s primary focus is to support migrant women and girls who are survivors of domestic violence or other human rights violations. The organization’s support is mostly done throughproviding access to HIV prevention, treatment and support resources, tele-health services, psychosocial care, social assistance and as well as helping to remove barriers to health care.
The organization’s social enterprise project is an Indigenous Chicken Hatchery (AgriHub Caribbean Impex N.V.). “This hatchery project is unique as it produces hatching eggs from local breeds of chickens that were developed through selective breeding. This selective breeding was done to develop a bird that is well suited to thrive in Suriname’s climate. The chickens are housed at two breeding locations with a capacity for 640 hatchlings.” SBBL’s Executive Director Gesner Orlando Simon told The Desk.
The organization noted that CVC’s support in providing seed funding and helping it establish this social enterprise project was invaluable. “As part of the prerequisites to implement the project, we were required to do courses through CVC’s e-learning platform. We completed the Introduction to Social Enterprise course which taught us the necessary skills, such as completing a detailed business plan, to effectively execute our project. We also did courses in Participatory Action Research, Introduction to Resource Mobilization and Sustainability, and Financial Procurement and Management all of which were very instrumental in helping us to design and formalize our Indigenous Chicken Hatchery,” Simon said.
In speaking about the project and its potential impact, Simon noted “We’ve produced chicks and eggs that have generated income which is reinvested into the farm. We are also looking into value added products such as building grow out pens to raise birds to slaughter age and producing smoke chicken for the local markets. The income from this will be used to support our tele-health and medical mission of the organization to ensure continuity of care to vulnerable members of our target population”.
Despite being only in its first phase, the project is already having a positive impact on the Commewijne community in Suriname where it is located and the organization has received several expressions of interest to replicate the model in other communities across the country. SBBSL hopes to support other organizations’ efforts to start Indigenous chicken production units in their communities to help reduce poverty and hunger.
The SBBSL Executive Director says the organisation is grateful that it was able to establish a social enterprise project that is enabling it to continue serving key population groups. “We started our organization during very trying times, where donor funding had been declining, this forced us to look at other ways of ensure our work continued and our clients received the care and support needed to live healthy lives. This social enterprise therefore gave us the first step in ensuring our sustainability. It has also given us a deeper sense of pride and forward thinking as we look at other ways to become more self-sufficient and also create jobs that members of our community can benefit from. We believe that organizations need to take an inventory of the skills and talents of their target populations and encourage and support entrepreneurship start-ups to ensure sustainability and continuity of care,” said Simon.
For more information about the work being done by Stg Building Bridges Saving Lives please visit their websites at https://sbbsl.org/ and https://agrihubcaribbean.com/