Social Enterprise: INCLUDED
Social Entrepreneur(s): Jonathan Hursh
Sector(s): Migration, Slums, Urban Development, Education, Employment
Location(s): People’s Republic of China, Nepal, Bangladesh
Create anchor platforms in underserved neighbourhoods that centralize service delivery from a range of service providers.
The Innovation Explained
On the micro level, INCLUDED builds dozens of community centres in migrant slums to provide them with better access to education, employment, social services and information. Because migrant slums are inherently unstable, INCLUDED has developed the Community Cubes model, which refurbishes shipping containers to create mobile, modular community centres in these slums.
“These community centres become stable platforms in very unstable and informal environments,” said Jonathan Hursh. “We begin by providing a few anchor services to develop relationships in the community, and then we invite other organizations to plug in their services on top of this platform. The community centres essentially became a mediation point for services into the slums.” Services on offer from INCLUDED and its affiliate partners include after school programmes, teacher training, early childhood development, health workshops and vocational skills.
On the macro level, INCLUDED has created a network of organizations working with migrant populations across multiple strategic mega-cities with the goal of enabling them to share resources, best practices and impact measurement metrics. “As a sector, we need to create agreement on what’s working well and what’s not working,” said Hursh. “We are already tracking three indicators for several core programmes, and we are asking our affiliates across the cities to do the same. Soon we are going to be able to see what’s generating the best results, and we need to focus on packaging that information for different audiences like governments, businesses and academics so they can be more effective in creating inclusive cities.”
In the long run, INCLUDED sees itself as a consultant to governments, helping them to design more inclusive societies where migrants can ultimately have formal access to all city services. “Our primary goal is to help migrants flow from the informal to the formal economy, with the community centre as the vehicle that enables them to engage existing forms of services they should have access to,” said Hursh. “Our hope is to reach a tipping point where governments invest resources and energy into opening 500 or 1,000 community centres and we slip into the role of a supporter and adviser.”
INCLUDED serves approximately 8,000 migrants annually (investing 400,000 contact hours) in partnership with non-profits, community organizations and government agencies.
Why This Matters
Ninety-five per cent of urbanization happens in the developing world and, within a few decades, one in three people in the world will live in a migrant slum. Migrant slums in Asia only take 30-60 years to double in size, and in Africa 15-30 years. This has radical implications for cities and societies, which still depend on migrant workers to fill critical labour gaps.
Yet migrant families often lack access to quality education, basic healthcare and legal services, as their rights are rarely fully recognized. “If we’re honest with ourselves, migrants contribute greatly to the economic growth and diversity of cities across the world,” said Hursh. “Cities would grind to a halt without migrant labour. So legislation needs to reflect this reality. Migrants need to be integrated into the formal economy so they can receive a fair reward for their contribution to our cities.”
Connect the micro to the macro. “It’s been important for us to stay engaged in the micro work at the community centre level and to create a pipeline so that those experiences connect with and influence macro level policy,” said Hursh. “At the same time, we try to engage the key big players to look at the long-term issues together in a more cohesive perspective.”
Play to the unique strengths of the social enterprise sector. “We as social enterprises are at our best when we identify existing gaps in society – gaps that neither government nor natural market forces are meeting yet,” said Hursh. “Our value-added role is to come up with a workable model to address those gaps, and then bring together the public and private sectors to work in creating broad and sustained social change. We see ourselves as a connection point to bring the key sectors together to work on one of the most pressing issues of our century.”