SEs from a millennial development worker’s point of view

Development work is entirely new to Alfred Escaño. From a knowledge process outsourcing company that deals with legal and financial markets, he now handles the coffee and coastal programs of the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF).

Alfred, 25, is one of the youngest staff of the PEF. As a program officer, he identifies practices, standards, and challenges related to the production, processing, and marketing of these commodities.

“The information I gather from field work and interviews with industry experts and our partner communities help spot potential interventions or investment opportunities in our priority areas.” he said.

Working on C4 value chains

When PEF focused its support to C4 commodities (cacao, coconut, cane sugar, coffee), Alfred became one of the “C4 Champions”. Together with the area officers, they develop projects in areas where these crops are thriving.

“I was hesitant at first since the role is different from what I am comfortable with and what I want to pursue at that time (data analysis & research). My superiors provided good advice. They said that the role will give a great deal of experience for someone like me,” he said.

Alfred often visits different provinces and interacts with communities from Ifugao, Benguet, Quezon, Sultan Kudarat, Bukidnon, and Zamboanga Sibugay.  

Youth and social enterprise

According to the World Youth Report: Youth Social Entrepreneurship and the 2030 Agenda, one in five youth did not acquire livelihood skills through education or work. Young people who are not educated, employed or trained more likely to experience social and economic exclusion.

The same report, however, stated that social entrepreneurship can generate economic empowerment. Young social entrepreneurs can pull in resources to create jobs and services while developing novel solutions that contribute to inclusive sustainable development.

For people like Alfred, it is essential for younger generations to continue promoting social enterprise.

“It is extremely important for us to be involved in social enterprises in one way or another. Youth are the next generation of leaders, farmers, fisherfolks, workers, entrepreneurs, experts, professionals, development agents, customers all of which have a role to play within the social enterprise sphere and their respective value chains. It is important to involve the youth now to make the future brighter for social enterprises,” he concluded.