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How to Make a Difference in the World with Social Entrepreneurship

How to Make a Difference in the World with Social Entrepreneurship

In this episode of “How to Make a Difference in the World with Social Entrepreneurship,” we focus on the transformative role of social entrepreneurship in promoting education and non-violence.

Our featured guest, Eddy Balina, shares his invaluable experiences from leading the Non-Violence Project in Uganda and the Ripples of Hope Foundation, demonstrating the profound effect of community-centric educational initiatives.

We discuss essential strategies for cultivating peace and the crucial balance between achieving social impact and financial sustainability in social enterprises. Eddy provides practical advice for those looking to enact positive change, highlighting the importance of vision, effective management, and the power of attracting dedicated individuals to your cause.

Tune in for an insightful conversation that connects ambition with practical steps, shining a light on the blueprint for achieving lasting change through education and social entrepreneurship.

In our newest episode, “How to Make a Difference in the World with Social Entrepreneurship,” we explore the crucial elements that underpin the success of initiatives aimed at fostering education and promoting non-violence through the lens of social entrepreneurship. This conversation unfolds in the context of global change, offering insights that transcend geographical boundaries and speak to universal principles of impact and transformation.

Eddy Balina, our esteemed guest, brings a wealth of experience from his leadership roles at the Non-Violence Project in Uganda and the Ripples of Hope Foundation. Eddy’s work in creating accessible, community-focused education initiatives illustrates the profound influence that social entrepreneurship can have on local communities.

Our discussion explores the strategies for starting and nurturing projects that not only aim to educate but also to instill a culture of peace. We examine the importance of a clear vision, effective management, and the ability to inspire and attract individuals committed to making a difference.

Furthermore, we highlight the balance between profit and purpose, showcasing how social enterprises can thrive while driving societal change. Eddy shares his journey, offering practical advice and inspiration for others looking to make a positive impact through their work.


  • Personal challenges and experiences can serve as powerful motivators for launching initiatives aimed at social change. This teaches the importance of utilizing one’s background as a unique source of inspiration and motivation in addressing societal issues.
  • Combining the principles of entrepreneurship with a mission to address social problems, social entrepreneurship presents a dynamic approach to solving societal challenges.
  • Successful social enterprises often stand out for their innovative approaches to problem-solving. This emphasizes the need for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking in developing solutions that are both effective and sustainable in addressing social issues.
  • Articulating the value proposition of a social venture is crucial for gaining support and traction. A compelling value proposition should combine a well-defined problem with a clearly articulated solution, enriched with storytelling to foster a strong connection to the business idea.
  • Facing challenges is inevitable in the pursuit of social impact. Cultivating resilience and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances are indispensable qualities for navigating the complexities of social entrepreneurship and ensuring the sustainability of social ventures.


Q1: How did your involvement in non-violence education begin and what are the key projects and initiatives undertaken to promote peace?

A: Eddy’s journey into non-violence education is deeply rooted in his personal history, growing up in one of Uganda’s largest slums where violence was a prevalent part of daily life. This environment, coupled with intense experiences of bullying and violence in school, sparked a profound quest for change after he completed high school. Searching for answers led him to collaborate with a non-violence foundation, inspiring the launch of a pioneering education model in Uganda.

This project began with introducing the model to his former school, resulting in significant positive changes within just a year. This success laid the groundwork for the Non Violence Project, which has since expanded to nearly 297 schools across Uganda. The project is anchored in three core programs: Peace Education, Awareness and Advocacy, and Entrepreneurship for Peace.

The ‘Peace Education’ program is focused on building the capacity of schools to manage, record, and track violence, as well as training teachers and students in non-violence practices. This includes comprehensive education on understanding violence and implementing preventative measures.

In terms of ‘Awareness and Advocacy’, the project utilises media—particularly radio, given its widespread influence in Uganda—to foster discussions on violence, making it a more approachable topic for the public. This platform is used to raise awareness, share stories, and provide referral information for those affected by violence.

Lastly, the ‘Entrepreneurship for Peace’ program addresses the high unemployment rate among Ugandan youth, which is closely linked to the prevalence of violence. By integrating non-violence education with entrepreneurship and vocational training, this initiative not only equips young people with the skills necessary for employment but also fosters a culture of peace and non-violence. The program has reported numerous transformational stories, highlighting its impact on the participants’ lives and the broader community.

Through these initiatives, Eddy and the Non Violence Project are making significant strides toward embedding a culture of peace and non-violence in Uganda, demonstrating the power of education and proactive engagement in addressing complex social issues.


Q2: What is the essence of social entrepreneurship?

A: Eddy elucidates that social entrepreneurship uniquely blends the rigor of business ventures with a core mission to tackle social issues, such as poverty, healthcare, and environmental challenges. This approach leverages entrepreneurial principles not merely for profit but primarily for solving critical societal problems. In the context of current environmental crises, like the extreme temperatures reaching around 43°C recently witnessed in Uganda, social entrepreneurship becomes a vital tool. It employs business strategies and practices with the foremost aim of addressing these pressing social and environmental issues, demonstrating a commitment to creating sustainable change.

Q3: Can you share examples of impactful social enterprises in Uganda that you admire? 

A: Eddy, a passionate advocate and practitioner of social entrepreneurship, highlights several enterprises that stand out for their innovative approaches to social betterment.

Firstly, he admires a local restaurant in Jinja, Uganda’s second city. This establishment is distinguished by its commitment to hiring people with disabilities, thus addressing both the issue of unemployment within this demographic and combatting societal stigma. Eddy notes the empowering effect this has on the young people employed there, who excel in delivering exceptional service and hospitality.

Another enterprise Eddy supports is Chimi Collection, founded by a young woman inspired by her grandmother, who, despite her disability, was adept at sewing. Chimi Collection is innovative in its approach to sustainability, employing people with disabilities to collect and upcycle waste materials like sugar and cement bags into fashionable bags for export. This not only provides employment but also contributes to environmental conservation.

Lastly, Eddy speaks highly of the Social Innovation Academy (SINA), an incubator for social entrepreneurship in Uganda that has gained international replication, including in Congo. SINA offers young people, especially those unable to pursue university education, a space to develop and implement business ideas aimed at social change. Through practical training and mentorship, alongside ventures like a museum and hall for hire that generate funding, SINA supports these entrepreneurs in making a tangible impact in their communities. Eddy points out that SINA has been instrumental in producing a significant number of social entrepreneurs in Uganda, highlighting its effectiveness in fostering innovation and empowerment.


Q4: How should social entrepreneurs effectively articulate the value proposition of their business ideas?

A: Eddy emphasises that mastering the art of pitching is crucial for entrepreneurs, as it’s essential to communicate the business idea clearly and persuasively. He suggests focusing on storytelling as a powerful method to connect emotionally with the audience, using real-world examples, case studies, or testimonials to illustrate the problem being addressed. This approach not only brings the issue closer to the audience but also highlights the entrepreneur’s deep understanding and commitment to solving it.

Moreover, clarity and precision in language when describing the problem and solution are key. By employing simple yet effective language to outline the specific issue—whether it’s environmental, social, or related to public health—entrepreneurs can underscore the significance and market need for their solution. Eddy uses Chimi Collection as an illustrative example: a social enterprise that straightforwardly addresses disability and employment issues, showcasing a clear problem and a tangible solution.

In essence, a compelling value proposition should combine a well-defined problem with a clearly articulated solution, enriched with storytelling to foster a strong connection to the business idea.

Q5: What are the objectives and achievements of the Ripples of Hope Foundation?
A: Eddy initiated the Ripples of Hope Foundation in 2016, driven by personal experiences and challenges related to financial constraints during his school years. The foundation emerged from his work and observations in Burundi, where he conducted non-violence training and recognized the need to support children facing similar educational barriers.

The foundation was inspired by a study revealing that about 60% of Ugandan children bypass pre-primary education due to its absence in public schools and the high costs charged by private institutions. Additionally, 20% of children miss out on primary education owing to financial constraints and the impracticality of distant school locations.

Addressing these issues, the Ripples of Hope Foundation focuses on establishing community-driven schools as an alternative to the traditional public and private institutions. These schools are uniquely situated on farms, enabling them to provide food while maintaining affordability and accessibility, thus offering a practical solution to the challenges of education access in underserved areas. Currently, the foundation successfully supports over 400 children across two schools.

Eddy’s vision extends beyond mere academic instruction, aiming to empower through education by investing in the skills and knowledge children need to navigate life’s challenges independently, rather than relying on temporary assistance. This approach underscores his belief in the transformative power of education as a tool for self-determination and social change.


Q6: What methods are utilised to assess the impact of social initiatives?

A: Eddy emphasises the critical role of impact evaluation in social work, as it measures progress from the initial state to the desired outcomes and substantiates the effectiveness of initiatives, thereby building confidence among partners and stakeholders. Drawing from over a decade of experience with the Non Violence Project in Uganda, Eddy details their comprehensive evaluation strategy, which integrates both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

Before initiating partnerships with schools or communities, an assessment is conducted to understand the existing conditions, such as the level of violence and knowledge. This initial analysis, or baseline survey, establishes a reference point for measuring the impact of subsequent interventions.

Qualitatively, the focus is on the stories of individuals affected by the program—what they’ve learned, how they’ve applied this knowledge, and the transformative effect on schools adopting the nonviolence curriculum. This aspect of evaluation involves conducting interviews and making site visits to gather nuanced insights into the quality and personal impact of the program.

Quantitatively, the assessment revolves around metrics, including the number of people reached, educated, or otherwise benefited from the interventions. This data provides a tangible measure of the program’s scope and scale.

Concluding the project, an endline evaluation is carried out to compare the post-intervention state with the baseline, thus determining the initiative’s overall impact and effectiveness.


Q7: How can social enterprises attract high quality talent for their ventures?

A: Eddy points out the unique challenge of attracting employees to the social entrepreneurship sector, emphasising that their approach relies heavily on the passion and commitment of individuals who have been part of their programs and schools over the last 13 years. These individuals, having been mentored and trained, possess a natural drive towards making a social impact, which is a crucial factor in their decision to join the team.

The work in social entrepreneurship requires resilience, passion, and a deep commitment, underpinned by a personal connection to the cause. This passion is what primarily draws people to work with Eddy’s organisation. Additionally, by creating an attractive and fulfilling work environment that closely ties to the social impact, they manage to appeal to those driven by the desire to contribute to societal change and connect on a human level. This combination of passion for the cause and a rewarding work environment forms the core of their strategy to attract employees to the social entrepreneurship sector.


Podcast Host: Amit Ahuja, Associate Director, Communications & Digital, Zista Education
Podcast Guest: Eddy Balina, CEO, The Non Violence Project- Uganda
Video & Audio Editing: Dhanish Shah, Communications Associate, Zista Education
Podcast Manager: Russel Aldridge, Sr. Manager, Creative & Digital, Zista Education
Podcast Transcript: Tanya Kakka, Freelance Copywriter