The International Fund For Ireland and the European Union Peace II Fund: Creating a Favourable Environment to Promote Social Business for Community Development and Sustainable Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland

Kawser Ahmed, Sean Byrne, Peter Karari, Olga Skarlato





In the summer of 2006, 98 interviews were conducted with funding recipients, community development officers, and civil servants administering funds for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and the European Union (EU) Peace II Fund in the Border Area, Derry/Londonderry, and Belfast, Northern Ireland. The economic aid has sought to promote community development encouraging both single identity and cross community contact vital to establishing trust, and in creating a shared space for lasting peacebuilding to take shape. Some of the projects have achieved reasonable success. Yet, as the funding comes close to an end, it is now time to assess how many of these projects would be sustainable in economic terms. The research findings connect the concept of "Social Business" propounded by 2006 Nobel Peace prize laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus to determine if these projects are economically viable and socially beneficial. The findings reiterate that the effectiveness of aid, besides being measured exclusively by economic factors, should also include social factors especially when it aims to create sustainable peacebuilding in a post peace accord society. This article examines the concept of "Social Businesses" and its utility in extrapolating how to make small non-profit enterprises sustainable in Northern Ireland.

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