A journey to discover the people who change our world.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Living on the Social Edge

Victor D’Allant’s CV is almost intimidating!

He speaks five languages, there is barely a country in the world he has not been too, he has been a photo journalist, a magazine editor, ran a media consultancy, has degrees from the Sorbonne in Paris and Berkley in California.. and has a family. Now he is in a job which he feels is a culmination off all the experience applied to social change; Executive Director of Social Edge.

Social Edge is an online community which support social entrepreneurs and nonprofit professionals. It is about inspiring others with stories; sharing resources and building a global network for social change.

But for Victor his interest in social entrepreneurship didn’t start with cameras or computers or the internet. For him, it was eggs. Yes, eggs.

Here is the story.
In his late teens Victor volunteered in Burkino Faso as a community worker. Growing up in France, Burkino Faso was part of his history and so he decided to travel and explore more. While there he was living in a village and noticed that malnutrition was a serious problem. So he decided that eggs would be a good source of protein. He raised some money through contacts back in France, and donated a hen house to the local community. Eggs= fuller bellies.

A couple of years later, a friend of his was visiting Burkino, and Victor asked him to return to the village to check on the egg population. But, when his friend returned, there was no sign of eggs, or chickens.

This was Victor’s lesson. He realised that had he given the hen house to someone, and set them up in business the probability of the hens and eggs still being there was much higher. Plus someone would still have a job.

For Victor, the growing field of social entrepreneurship represents a more sustainable form of aid. So, for Victor, the long held ‘Chicken or Egg’ dilemma is no longer. Which came first? Well for him, it wasn’t chickens.


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