Alternative Approaches to Development: Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines
Post-development writers contend that development has failed because it created a worldview in which certain places are deemed ‘underdeveloped’ and in need of external assistance based on Western ideals of modernity. They argue that development should be abandoned and ‘alternatives to development’ must now be brought to the fore. However, this proposition is considered to be challenging at best since discussions on ‘alternatives to development’ have been vague and concrete practical examples are rarely given. Nevertheless, the arguments found within post-development thought are significant to current and future development practice and several researchers have attempted to apply post-development ideas into practice. This thesis looks into Social Entrepreneurship, an emerging development approach that seems to build on some of the ideas from post-development thought. It examines how social entrepreneurship has evolved and is defined within the context of the Philippines. The thesis attempts to understand how social entrepreneurship differs from mainstream development approaches and contributes to alternative pathways, through a case study of an NGO engaged in social entrepreneurship — A Single Drop for Safe Water, Philippines. Qualitative methods of observation, secondary data collection, and semi-structured interviews were utilized. The study reveals that social entrepreneurship practices have elements that reflect postdevelopment ideas such as highlighting community strengths, being mindful of local culture and practices, and strengthening the autonomy of community groups. However, social entrepreneurship also features activities that are based on market and business principles including having a profit motive and transferring business skills and knowledge to communities. Thus, social entrepreneurship is neither alternative nor mainstream but has the potential to be both. Development practitioners should be careful in utilizing social entrepreneurship practices, as not to expand neo-liberal ideals.