My Experiences with Social Entrepreneurship in Africa

Credit: Jacob Ammentorp Lund / Thinkstock

I served as Mission Director at Dominion Faith World Outreach (DFWO) and a Principle Instructor for a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) – Centre for Vocational Empowerment and Development (CVED) in Lagos, Nigeria. DFWO is an evangelical and mission oriented church. One of the visions of DFWO is to carry the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ outside the boundaries of Nigeria to other African nations by partnering with mission agencies, ministries and churches. My duty is to provide leadership for the church’s mission ministries. This involves discovering mission opportunities and developing a long-range plan with goals, strategies, and action plans.

CVED is connected with our mission agenda through which we traveled to Eleven African countries (Togo, Benue Republic, Chad, Niger, Gambia, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Cote D’Ivoir, and some cites within Nigeria) for mission work. This provides free training in particular skill areas to make people economically self- reliant. Some of the trade areas include home-use chemical production of soap, insecticides, disinfectant, stain removal, toilet wash, body cream, hair cream, body perfume, air freshener, and germicides. Certificates are awarded to all the trainees at the end of the training. Preaching the Word of God becomes easier when the people have been empowered.

Through my work with CVED, I have seen that imparting entrepreneurial skills and vocational knowledge have raised, built, and empowered beneficiaries. Many lives have been touched by the integration of faith, work, and economics, as indicated by the 4,000 persons who have been vocationally trained and currently have their own businesses. I have witnessed regional and global partnerships for human development and poverty alleviation develop through innovation, which have provided technical support and capacity-building initiatives aimed at raising up 21st century ethical leaders.  Once again, preaching the word of God becomes easier when the people have been empowered.

My theological studies have reinforced the point that the value of entrepreneurship is social service. It was fascinating to learn the meaning of vocation as a calling from God: to be holy as He is in the midst of doing something. Vocational holiness could be achieved through work—a work to be fruitful, to multiply, and to replenish the earth. Work is a means of fulfilling love and it transforms the world and the worker. We humans ought to imitate God the creator in work.  The vocation of a business person is a genuine calling. Through work we work out our sanctification and sanctify others. We are able through our work to enable others to possess the virtues of God.

1 COMMENT

  1. This is very encouraging. Thanks for sharing this. I would like to hear more about the process to get these businesses started. It sounds like the entrepreneurs had some training (what topics were most helpful and demanded?), and then some access to capital (what source and how – loans, grants, partnerships?), and then some followup (what roles were most helpful by whom?)

LEAVE A REPLY