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Social Entrepreneurs who have won the Nobel Peace prize:

  • WangariMaathai (2004) for the Greenbelt Movement
  • Mohammad Yunus (2006) for founding the Grameen Bank
  • Al Gore (2007) for his work as an environmental campaigner

For years, social enterprise has been used as a way to promote peace in troubled regions. However, a new program in Indonesia is doing something that could literally help put in an end to terrorist activities. An entrepreneur is finding ways to integrate released ex-terror convicts into the community by engaging them in meaningful work. Similar to the way that local terror organizations recruit youth by exploiting local grievances, this entrepreneur is engaging with “locals to counter the narrative that terrorist strategists have created.”

In an article in The Jakarta Post, a story is told about “Yusuf Adirima, a former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighter from Indonesia who had been arrested in Semarang for storing explosive materials in 2003.” A social entrepreneur had a chance to meet Yusef and enabled him to help out with their local business by searching for drop-out students who could work at the business. Yusef’s role had many positive results:

  1. He was helping solve unemployment, which could help develop the local community and infrastructure
  2. He was preventing youth from becoming radicalized/terrorists
  3. He was creating a positive life for himself that would prevent him from going to his terrorist networks/clandestine activities

As the social entrepreneur said: “What if we have a network of 10 volunteers and NGOs, or 50? Together we will be able to reach out to 50 Yusufs, and through them, help 500 former militants reenter Indonesian society, so that we can stop the cycle of violence.”

So could social enterprise help solve terrorism? The answer looks like a yes.