Student stories: narrative and numbers

SSE Fellow Sheenagh Day features on our new spangly SSE website in the Student Stories section. Her profile (and that of her organisation, Maison Bengal) can be read here. Sheenagh was in the office this morning, speaking as an expert witness to 25 or so potential social entrepreneurs who’ve come into SSE for a day-long introductory workshop.

In the 5 minutes before she spoke, she had time to tell me of exciting developments: one is a revamp of the website ( which is coming soon (incidentally, she commissioned another SSE Fellow, Dave Miller of Bikeworks, to do the re-design), but more interesting to me was some initial findings from a forthcoming evaluation. Sheenagh founded Maison Bengal for clear reasons, as the story above makes clear:

"Sheenagh’s long-term aim is to develop
sustainable export markets for them [Bangladeshi womne’s co-operatives / NGOs] to provide producers with secure
income and thereby contribute to poverty alleviation"

And the initial findings are hugely positive; I can’t give too much away here, as I don’t want to pre-empt the full report, but 100% of the 100 women interviewed said that their life had improved/poverty been reduced as a result of the work in tangible ways (more money for food / clothes etc), while about two-thirds said that there had been a significant improvement in their life/financial situation (significant here means buying a home, land, and so on). Really exciting stuff, and proof that Maison Bengal is not just growing economically  (it has just signed an exciting new deal with a major organic retailer), but also in terms of its social impact.

That kind of story is why they are front and centre in the new website, and I hope those articles will soon be as widely read as our perennial traffic favourites like "What is a social entrepreneur?" and "SSE’s approach to learning".

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