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Encouraging Entrepreneurship

Aflatoun inspires children and youth aged 6–18 years to empower themselves by offering social & financial education in the context of their rights and responsibilities.

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Founded in Mumbai, Aflatoun encourages students to save resources to start micro-enterprises as a means to address poverty reduction and encourage community cohesion. They use active, 'learning by doing' methods such as games, activities, songs, workbooks, saving clubs and community initiatives. They note the importance of tailoring their approach for local relevance and also the significance of teacher training.


They have great success stories of entrepreneurial endeavors by children such as a spaghetti selling venture in Argentina, a jewellery making business in Uganda which used recycled materials and a fundraising initiative for typhoon victims in the Philippines. http://www.aflatoun.org

The Challenge Brief

Aflatoun's global model across 44 countries includes educational tools, strategic objectives and evaluation systems + collaboration with local governments, corporates, banks & educators.

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While this program has a lot of potential, they seem to be taking the same approach to the problem as a myriad of other programs: teach poor people in developing countries to make and sell crafts, which then must be purchased and marketed to first-world countries. The result: an overwhelming (and constantly growing) amount of *stuff* that gluts the market, hopeful for an influx of conscious consumers to purchase it.

Adding to the problem is the fact that most of these objects, such as candles, jewelry, fancy soaps and accessories, etc., are luxuries, not daily essentials. As such, the market for them fluctuates rapidly, and is based on both economic concerns in the countries they're being marketed in, and the physical attributes of the product (packaging, smell, etc.). As the climate in America - a significant profit center for these products - starts moving more and more towards local economies, and environmental concerns, it's hard to imagine that this trend can sustain itself in the long term.

That said, I do like the idea of encouraging entrepreneurship as a learning modality. It teaches a wide variety of skills that they can put to use immediately. My question is, can you create a program that does it in such a way that they'll be creating something that will make a larger impact on their daily life?

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