SEP at WEF Dead Sea: The Impact of Social Manufacturing

Posted on June 29 2017

SEP at WEF Dead Sea: The Impact of Social Manufacturing
In May of this year, SEP Jordan was invited to attend the World Economic Forum Dead Sea and asked to lead a discussion on social manufacturing.
It was a great opportunity to invite WEF attendees to:
- ponder over what it means to be a refugee,
- reflect on the limitations of a purely humanitarian/charity-based approach,
- debate on how the private sector can change the perspectives of refugees for good. 
Around 40 people attended the Impact Hub discussion we led along with Teenah, a social enterprise which teaches refugee ladies how to make bags in Irbid. The attendees came from diverse backgrounds (we had the honour of having Mrs Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder of the Schwab Foundation for Social Enterpreneurship as well as private sector, humanitarian sector representatives, social entrepreneurs, Phd students, Family office managers, head-hunters) and...
...the most interesting questions were:
- What do the SEP Artists' husbands do?
- How to the SEP Artists' husbands cope with their wives becoming the main bread-winner? 
- Do you find access to funding is difficult, especially being a woman-founder?
-  What is your top priority at this stage? How can we help?
- Where do you sell?
- What makes you stand out relative to the many embroidery projects out there?
...the biggest surprise to us was:
Not a single attendee challenged our key assumption that the private sector has a duty - and an opportunity - to work with refugees, to bring back dignity to the camps. 
...the most exciting outcomes for SEP were:
- We kicked-off talks to create a childcare center for SEP Artist's kids, managed and founded by a worldwide leader charity organisation in partnership with SEP. 
- We started long-term conversations regarding the need of a legal framework to regulate Social Enterprises, a new and fast-growing type of "hybrid" entity in Jordan and elsewhere. 
- We were invited to hold private sales events in countries where we do not yet have a presence or have a limited presence, such as Saudi Arabia and the USA.
- New #SEPAmbassadors joined our community, via online purchases following our presentation.
Most importantly, we brought a piece of Jerash Camp to the world's most influential decision makers. Most of them had never heard of the camp and its 30,000 residents - and they now have a connection to the camp, the SEP Artists and their families and community. 
Answers to the most interesting questions will be listed in a separate Blog post, watch out!

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