Ryan Gunderson over at Riches for Good had an interesting post the other day analyzing the country site of operation of the organizations on Fast Company's Social Capitalist Award list compared to World Bank numbers of # of individuals living on less than $1 a day. Although the data is not academic by any means it is illustrative:
A couple things I noticed:
1. Obviously India is a popular country for social capitalists. Demographically it makes sense: population density allows for certain efficiencies/cost per client etc., the large numbers are appealing to the donors backing the social capitalists, operation is relatively cheap in India, and there is also great need according to sheer numbers. Additionally, there is also a very vibrant citizen sector in India allowing for partnerships and synergy. Finally, I think English language is a big factor.
2. China is lagging. Is this due to language and culture? Is the government not conducive to allowing social capitalists to operate? Are the funders of social capitalists not as aware of the image of the poor Chinese farmer as they are of the poor Indian farmer?
3. It would be interesting to see this data according to % of the country living under $1 a day as opposed to overall population numbers. I think some of the more needy countries are not being served in proportion to their desperate circumstances.
My conclusion: there is enough need out there that you can make a difference anywhere. We should not punish small countries with high poverty rates simply because the numbers to show our donors are not as impressive. Some of our efforts should go towards the areas of greatest need not only the areas of greatest ease of operation.