The small Swiss town of Davos was flooded with 2,500 of the world’s most influential people from over 100 countries for the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2016 last week — a prime spot for charities and social entrepreneurs to seek investment.
And, Runa Khan, Founder & Executive Director of the charity Friendship spoke to Business Insider in Davos and told us why businesses need to change their mindset and give more generously — not just out of social or corporate responsibility but as a main service provider for them.
“I think this year, is the first time in 3-4 years where there’s more social consciousness and no one looks quirkily at social entrepreneurs anymore,” said Khan in an interview with Business Insider.
“Let’s face it — social entrepeneurs are always looking for funds but unlike regular business entrepreneurs, we make a difference to touching people’s lives. What’s different about us is that we never compromise on our partners or our vision. Businesses already pay a hell of a lot for event management and consultancies for corporate responsibility and charity events. Why not view social entrepreneurs as a service provider for them? We have targeted output and we are the best at what we do, as a result businesses directly invest in the cause and that can be translated across the world.”
Friendship, established 14 years ago, is one of those charities that is based in one region but is having major positive repercussions across the globe. And Khan thinks businesses should look at Friendship, and others like it, to leverage the projects, tech and expertise in their own countries.
For example, Friendship created the first floating hospitals in Bangladesh and built a sustainable healthcare system in the region. Now, Indonesia and the Phillipines are looking to replicate the success of parts of the healthcare system Friendship founded over there.
On top of this project, Friendship also builds sustainable development initiatives including education, financial assistance, good governance, disaster management services and cultural preservation, which has served more than 4.2 million people directly and annually in the most remote areas of the country.
Khan said the US President Barack Obama’s cousin is also adopting some of Friendship’s healthcare models as well to replicate in Kenya.
Most importantly, Khan said that Friendship has developed a new form of software called mHealth that helps some of the poorest nations in the world to have some form of basic healthcare in a streamlined approach.
In other words, it allows people via basic mobile phones to easily interview patients and immediately obtain an automated response when it comes to their healthcare needs because the software has built in sophisticated algorithms with decision trees.
“We focus on everything that is needed for survival of a community and to give those people dignity and hope,” said Khan.
“What we’ve shown is that our exemplary work does not only change lives but the projects and technology can change nations around the world because corporations and governments can tweak the technology to suit the region.
“Also, if there is a prime opportunity for a profit to be made out of that technology — not from the people who use it but from the organisations that fund it.”