Sustainability Fellowship: WHU Doctoral Student Conducts Research in the Philippines
Since mid-July, Christopher Smolka, a Ph.D. student at the Chair of Entrepreneurship and New Business Development I of Professor Hienerth, has been with the Philippine organization Gawad Kalinga, near Manila. The focus of his sojourn through the end of September is a research project in the field of social entrepreneurship and sustainability, together with a deepening of cooperation opportunities between Gawad Kalinga and WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. Effective immediately, Christopher will be reporting on his impressions and experiences on location through the official Instagram account of WHU ("whu_official").
Gawad Kalinga works mainly on the development of local communities in which various stakeholders – such as farmers, businesspeople, political institutions, international companies as well as former offenders – work together to promote sustainable building and development for the communities there. Gawad Kalinga not only helps such communities develop but also conducts training locally for international companies and research institutions in the field of sustainability and entrepreneurship. From now through 2024, the organization is committed to ending poverty for 5 million families in developing countries, and to produce 500,000 social entrepreneurs.
During the first days of his stay, Christopher gained an insight into the organization and structures at the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan, Philippines. There he not only met the founder of Gawad Kalinga, Tony Meloto, but also many social entrepreneurs and representatives of international companies and universities as well. He also developed a close relationship to the families within the community, whose "empowerment" is the main goal. Visits and supporting work in additional Gawad Kalinga communities in Quezon City, Bagong Silang and San Jose Del Monte have shown Christopher how the stakeholders assume joint responsibility for the community's development and sustainability. The insights and experiences of the stay with Gawad Kalinga will be integrated into the course on social entrepreneurship, "Creating Social Value," offered through the Chair of Professor Hienerth in the fall.