Archive for the ‘Social Investment’ Category

Green Social Investment

All social investment enthusiasts check out this article on the world most successful venture capitalist of all time according to fortune magazine.

This is one of the four guys behind the creation of Sun Microsystems, the firm famed for creating Java, a biography of Vinod is found here.


Of Maids

One of the things i am grateful for and never take for granted in my life is that i was fortunate enough to choose my profession, which i truly love . I know a lot of people who are not as fortunate. People who go to work for the sole reason to get some bucks to pay rent, bills, fees etc. People who if they had an option would choose a different job all together.  People who hate what they do, get very little money for their efforts, though most of them are more than noble but are a source of ridicule in society.

Two groups of such people come to mind :house maids and security guards. In Zimbabwe where i come from most of the maids are very young girls mostly teenagers. A snap survey will reveal that most of these girls are orphans who had to migrate to the city to find money to feed their siblings. Having left school at an early stage or having failed in school altogether the only thing they know is household chores. Evidently most of them had no choice of a career vocation but had to settle for the “nobler” career of taking care of other people’s kids and domestic chores. Am sure you will agree with me that this is a “nobler” cause if you compare with those semi-naked women at street corners calling you for a short stint or “chigwishu” as they say in Zimbabwe.

We who have had a choice to chose our careers often “justifiably” mistreat these directionless servants of ours. The minimum wage does not apply to these desperate people, after all they eat our food, they live in our nice house or well-equipped staff quarters. They even have the audacity to steal our food, sending it to their families. Not even Apple or Google Inc(voted the most desirable company to work for in the whole world) is generous enough to give employees nice food and accommodation, people who have no qualifications and have an empty resume. These people should be generous! After all some of them are the ones who used to laugh at us at school and would call us nerds, geeks etc when we focused on study. They deserve such demeaning treatment! If they feel we mistreat them they have an option to find another household to work for because this is the easiest type of employees to find they are not as scarce as Actuarians or computer network engineers. Maids are all over we just send a relative to find us one the next time they go back to the rural areas.

I have a vision of mine, ambitious, maybe, but still very much possible in the not so distant future.  A vision in which everyone takes care of their own kids and household chores. One feasible option is Robotics. Yes robots cooking your supper, washing and ironing your clothes, collecting your kids from school etc. Its because i believe every human soul deserves a chance to choose a job that fulfills them. A job in which you demand compensation commensurate with the skill and passion you put in your efforts. A job one can be proud off. A job you look forward to every morning; because we spend most of our time at work. With some social investment into the education of most orphans and several of these underprivileged sects of community this dream can be become real just as Martin Luther-King’s dream of blacks and white kids hanging out together as it is now part of our life as seen by acceptance of a black man Barack Obama as a possible leader of the world’s largest economy.  You see its possible! Dont get me wrong i am totally against affirmative action or “100% empowerment” as we have it in  Zimbabwe. Am not talking of affirmative action here; I am talking of investing in people to help them discover themselves, investing in vocational areas like education, sports, music, art etc and not “putting money in people’s pockets”. Am talking of helping others help themselves.

Every day of my life  i draw inspiration from the fact that the person who bore me and raised me, the person who has had the greatest influence in my life, at some point did this demeaning job out of love to care of her future family. One day I will make this special woman proud of herself.

Social Investment Defined

To my readers i must start by apologising for my lengthy absence. I guess i just ran out of steam because I really had not found a specific area I wanted to devote my writing to.  I just knew i had a lot to write about but I just wasnt sure of the subject. But a few hours ago, before I woke up, I realised I have always known what I passionately what to write about, i just hadnt found the right word or classification for it. This right word is what i choose to call Social Investment. I dont know if this term exists or not but I figured it captures exactly what i want to write about.

As a term i subconsciously think i coined, Social Investment to me means putting or investing money or time or anything useful for that matter into certain individuals or communities or societies for the sake of giving and not accepting an monetary or material return as direct or an indirect benefit for the effort. This definition automatically rules out Social Responsibility that almost every company is engaged in nowadays because if the truth be told Social Responsibility, (i will devote a future post to this subject later on) is usually a marketing gimmick meant to generate “Publicity”. Wikipedia defines “Publicity” as “the deliberate attempt to manage the public’s perception of a subject”. So the indirect benefit here is managing the perception of a subject be it a company, product or service.

Unlike the goal of Capital Invsestment whose goal is profit, recognition, prestige etc the motive of Social Investment is simply PERSONAL FULFILMENT and nothing else. Unfortunately personal fulfillment is a feeling that only the person who feels it is aware of, it cannot be seen or be felt by anyone else. According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the fifth level which is Self-Actualisation is the level where personal fulfillment is attained.

Hierarchy Of Needs

Hierarchy Of Needs

One way in which real Social Investment is manifested in an organisation is investment in employees. I am not talking of being sent to school and being bonded to the firm for three years. Am talking of no strings attached giveaways like offering a bursary to an employee’s child and allowing the child to join a company of choice. To me this is micro-social investment which embodies “charity begins at home”. At the macro level you have individuals, companies or governments investing in building of schools, universities, hospitals or any social facility and not forcing beneficiaries to brand the facility.

In future i will write about a number of  entrepreneurs who have been at the fore front of true Social Investment or what others call Philanthropy, the likes of Andrew Carnegie whom i consider the father of Social Investment, Bill Gates, Richard Branson  etc.

Be blessed with more passion.