Peace Through Prosperity- 2017 a retrospective – inspect, adapt, expand. #Agile #OpenSource #SocialTransformation

Third Cohort of women entrepreneurs partaking in Peace Through Prosperity's mini-MBA program.

Third Cohort of women entrepreneurs partaking in Peace Through Prosperity’s mini-MBA program.

2017 was epic, turbulent, encouraging, phenomenal, hard, exciting, exploratory, reflective, transformative, fulfilling and a successful year for Peace Through Prosperity. Thanks to its incredible team, ambassadors and supporters. Thank you all.

2017 by numbers

  • 9 month engagement in 11 marginalised areas of Karachi, Pakistan
  • 304 male beneficiaries completed mini-MBA for micro-entrepreneurs
    • across 5 separate trades*
    • delivered average revenue growth: 10%
    • average profitability growth: 108%
    • and created 19 new jobs.

In real terms this translates to individual micro-entrepreneurs taking home an extra $142 per month. Their daily net (take home) income has grown from $4.4/day to $9.13/day. That’s not it! 19 unemployed individuals found jobs created by the growth experienced by the micro-entrepreneurs. An individual micro-entrepreneur and their immediate family benefited for sure, and so did their local community. Continue reading

Peacebuilding through economic development – Countering the IS/ISIS Narrative

UK-US-Flag IS/ISIS and its ilk promise a better society for current and future generations through its narrative of change   under its Caliphate. Individuals at the sharp end are desperate for social change and will buy into whosoever promises a better future state for them and their family. President Obama and PM Cameron both talk about a generational struggle against extremism, yet we do little to empower the marginalised working poor to build a better future for themselves, their family and their community.

It is not only the West that is embroiled in a generational struggle against a poisonous brand of Islamic extremism, the front line in this struggle is in the East (in the Middle East, in Africa and in South Asia) where this poisonous narrative has taken deep roots.

The things we take for granted in developed economies; governance, regulations, access to institutions, resources both public and private to guide us and assist us, be it starting up small business or awareness of our rights. These privileges and safety nets are non-existent at the sharp end in conflict affected developing economies.  The citizens of these developing countries are not oblivious to the fact that it is the role of the state to provide such services and the state’s inability to do so has them seeking governmental and social transformation, individuals the world over chase the opportunity to build a better life/future for themselves, their family and community. People the world over want a life of prosperity, progress and peace not jihad, but the lack of a progressive transformation has given IS/ISIS an opportunity to exploit with a false hope of a better future under their Caliphate. 

What is required is for us to engage with the ‘at risk’ populous and course correct the social transformation that is already in motion. A small team with limited resources at Peace Through Prosperity has been engaged with marginalised individuals to empower them to build a better future for themselves, their family and communities; giving them the confidence of being the catalyst for transformation of their ecosystem. The team is achieving phenomenal results; the aim is to ensure IS/ISIS and its ilk have fewer and fewer individuals to radicalise both at home and abroad.

GoFundMe2 Peace Through Prosperity engages with marginalised and alienated individuals to ensure they have good reason to turn their backs on radicalisation and violent extremism, to condemn such acts rather than glorify them and their perpetrators. Just as IS is able to exploit moments when we let our guard down we avail the opportunities in the ecosystem to alienate IS/ISIS in its own environment from the indigenous population. It is peacebuilding through economic / enterprise development at the grass roots.

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Security of our homeland begins abroad

Across every forum I have had the opportunity to speak on this subject, be it the Agile Business Conference in London, Digibury in Cantebury, Palace of Westminster, numerous technology camps across Eurasia or Starbucks (the usual rendezvous for the curious) the message has always been …security of our homeland begins abroad. It was hence reassuring to hear our Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Mr Philip Hammond utter those exact words this week during the 10th Manama Dialogue Regional Security Summit organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in the Bahraini capital Manama.

However Mr Hammond’s vision for its implementation is a Universe apart from our own, though Mr Hammond has got it right that the security of the “homeland” began abroad his means to achieve it as history has repeatedly proven are going to be ineffective. To protect Britain and British interests our foreign policy needs to pivot away from building military bases and putting our troops on the ground to prop up unpopular regimes.

Transformation will happen Mr Hammond, choose wisely as to how you invest our taxes abroad. Be it the Middle East, North Africa, Sahel,  Afghanistan, Central or South Asia; every society is transforming from the bottom up and from the top down. The populous is seeking progressive change whilst the top is seeking ways to maintain the status quo, our foreign policy must embrace the transformation being driven from the bottom up for that is where the war for hearts and minds will be won or lost, that is where the 99% will see us as their friends or as the enemy that worked with their corrupt and oppressive regimes; prolonging the inevitable.

Middle Britain needs to think hard but not for too long. Do we want our taxes spent on the protection and preservation of unpopular regimes or do we want to contribute towards a future state where Britain is part of the solution and not the problem.

Security of the homeland will not come from the expansion of our military complex in distant lands, it will come from prosperity of the masses of those distant lands who remain disenfranchised.


What a difference Digitally Lead, Agile Designed, Open Sourced Social Transformation Makes from Peace Through Prosperity on Vimeo

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Towards a better future state – improving the socioeconomic landscape through data informed transformation – part 4 (Going Agile with Artefacts to aid scalability)

Application of DSDM ATERN to design and deliver innovative Agile international development programmes Somewhere in the beginning of this journey we uncovered our own transformation and that it remains continuous; from people of the fence to a vocal opposition, off the fence and in the thick of it, putting our talent and resources where our mouth is;  designing, engineering and delivering programmes that work, are measurable, repeatable, evolving with increasingly positive and verifiable results. Analysing analogs and antilogs, experimenting, failing and revisiting the drawing board on multiple programmes at times concurrently, at times all consumed by what can be engineered in society using Agile methods to experiment in situ.

Prototyping where prototyping is seldom conducted, taking every opportunity to learn, adapt, apply, measure, rinse and repeat. Running lean, delivering social development programmes on fumes, a startup of sorts with quantifiable social good and spiritual food as our return on investment.

Given our cross cultural, global ambitions means the design process has to be agile with standardised artefacts to ease knowledge transfer between cross cultural teams and adapted to new environments effectively with the same or similar level of efficacy.  Navigating unchartered waters albeit with considerable experience of having delivered very different transformational programmes in large organisations.

Be it the Mini-MBA programme or Urban farming cooperatives, every programme is broken into components and delivered using methodologies best suited for the nature of the individual component, whilst being Agile. We are in a hurry remember, gotta fix whats broken and fast.

Being a practitioner and evangelist of Agile in its different guises it was a no brainer to adopt DSDM Atern here. A major consideration remains scaling the programmes via the international development community; to achieve scale beyond our very humble means requires adoption of our programmes by the behemoths of international development; USAID, JICA, DFID, Minhaj-ul-QuranAga Khan Development Network and the likes of. Though I have my doubts if they could do things as we do… the systems scientist in me says with the right artefacts and training this is repeatable with similar results; they can replicate our programmes and processes, the pragmatist in me says it requires a paradigm shift that is hard for these organisations to contemplate let alone deliver on.

In context effective repeatability entails creating the programmes and documenting the processes in a language these not so Agile organisations understand, can relate to and adopt without having to re-learn or re-engineer. More importantly grass root teams who may not be familiar with Agile at all can pick up and fly with it, we have already proven that they can in South Punjab, KPK and are now doing so in Karachi. With that outcome in mind DSDM Atern was a natural choice for the design process of the programme it self, not so much its delivery. For delivery the teams have been trained in and adapted SCRUM, Kanban and a variety of modelling techniques borrowed from digital marketing, digital strategy development and LEAN… the details of which are for the next post.

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