The Social Economy Student Network brings together students interested in the Social Economy (such as nonprofits, co-operatives & social enterprises) in order to facilitate the formation of intellectually stimulating and diverse peer networks within and beyond the academic and research environment. It links students to one another from around the globe and fosters the growth of knowledge and information-sharing among members. To join, please send an email to Suzanne Cook at


Social Economy and the System of Rice Intensification in the Philippines

My name is Daniel and I study nonprofit and voluntary sector management at Ryerson and adult education and community development at OISE.

I’ve been interested in ecological agriculture for some time mostly as a consumer rather than producer, but I have been fortunate enough to visit organic farms in India and most recently in the Philippines. The farmers I met have generously spared their time to allow me to learn about what they do and why they do it. I am also interested in the role nonprofit and activist actors in the social economy play in relation to resource mobilization and sharing knowledge in this international social movement.

On August 14, 2008, I travelled to Pampanga, north of Manila with Jun Garde who is working with the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM). Jun was to do follow up visits to some farms that instituted trials of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method of growing rice. This technique, which originated in Madagascar in 1983, is now being tested in several Asian countries including the Philippines. Documentation to this point from around the world finds that SRI achieves “higher yields with a 25-50% reduction in water requirements…may also reduce greenhouse gas emissions…[and] stronger root systems help the plants stand up to drought, wind damage and cold spells”*(see below for ref.). As a Canadian interested in sustainable agriculture practices around the world, I was fascinated to find out more about SRI.

Mt. Arayat

The farm of Lito Malliare is situated in the shadow of Mt Arayat. His 6 hectare farm includes rice, vegetables such as eggplant and tomatoes, as well as sorghum and various fruit trees like calamansi, chiko, guava and santol.

Lito in long eggplant (talong) field

His rice, like all the crops he grows, is pure organic with the last conventional farming having taken place there in 1990.

PRRM’s Jun had conducted a seminar about SRI in this community in Pampanga where Lito’s friend had attended. Lito was interested in getting more information about this technique and Jun soon visited his farm to discuss it.

Jun demonstrating transplanting of rice seedlings for SRI

SRI also is often used in conjunction with organic, biodynamic, permaculture and other natural farming methods.

I saw micro-organism fertilizers like the one to the left being developed for the soil as well as botanical weed and pest “repellents”. Lito informed me that if the plant he sees on his farm is green and healthy, then he knows he can use it to counter weeds and pests because it must have naturally occurring resistant and pest repellent qualities in its genetic material. Lito prefers to call them “repellents” rather than “pesticides” and “herbicides” which imply killing. SRI teaches farmers to do, not to buy, which also frustrates the commercial interests of corporate agribusiness.

Despite the benefits to the health of people and the environment, one of the great difficulties in encouraging the transition from conventional to organic or SRI techniques, according to Jun, is changing mindsets. This has been becoming and continues to be exceedingly important as a result of the globalizing forces of capitalism that continue to destroy biodiversity and the environment in general while at the same time jeopardizing family farming as a viable livelihood. There is a network of about 25 People’s Organizations (PO) in northern Luzon (where Pampanga is located) that help to encourage demonstration farms that highlight the benefits of ecological agriculture for improving livelihoods. Since the price of petroleum based inputs of conventional farming had begun to skyrocket with the rapidly increased price of oil last year, more farmers were looking for alternatives, especially in learning how to make botanical inputs such as fertilizers.

Currently, there is little additional value reflected in the price of organic produce in local markets. That gives farmers less incentive to switch than their counterparts in countries of Europe and North America. However, this is changing in Manila and SRI does present other cost savings and higher rice tiller yields that can act as economic inducements for farmers.

One of Lito's SRI demo plots

The good news is that when I visited again with Lito before I departed the Philippines, he spoke highly of SRI and planned to expand his trial plots. Through the work of individuals such as Jun working through people’s organizations like PRRM, positive impacts are being made for the social economy and the natural environment in the Philippines. More information about PRRM is at SRI in the Philippines in general here.

Since my return to Toronto, I have become aware of an organization that worked with a nonprofit group in Indonesia that is promoting SRI in that country. They developed a great short doc that you can view here.

* Uphoff, Norman (2004) “System of Rice Intensification responds to 21st Century needs” Rice Today. July-September 2004 p. 42


March Social Economy News

Greetings! A lot is happening in the social economy this month. There are scholarship opportunities, a call for papers from ARNOVA, a social economy hub telelearning event and an international conference that I know you will want to hear about, so please read on!

1) The first exciting scholarship-related news is that pending the official announcement by ANSER, there are new research awards available. The Institute for Nonprofit Studies will be awarding grants to graduate students for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Here are the details:

Individual research awards will be made up to a maximum of $2,500. A total maximum of $7,500 will be available for applied research pertaining to the Institute's three research priorities - governance, sustainability, and policy. Interested graduate students who will be conducting research during the 2009-2010 academic year are invited to send a one-page letter of intent to Peter Elson at the Institute for Nonprofit Studies.

The one page letter of intent must be received before April 17, 2009. Further details concerning the letter of intent and the overall funding priorities for the 2009-2010 Research Program for 2009 - 2010 are available on the Institute web site (see link below). A full application will be due by May 15th. Application details will be sent to those students who submit a letter of intent.

Peter R. Elson, PhD, Senior Research Associate
Institute for Nonprofit Studies
Mount Royal College
4825 Mount Royal Gate SW
Calgary, AB
T3E 6K6
(403) 440-8722


The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is calling for applications for the three CASC scholarships administered by CCA:
· Alexander Fraser Laidlaw Fellowship (graduate students only)
· Amy and Tim Dauphinee Scholarship (graduate students only)
· Lemaire Co-operative Studies Award (undergraduate or graduate students)

In addition to the monetary awards, winners of all three scholarships will be awarded a free one-year membership in the Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation (CASC) as well as free registration at the 2010 CASC conference.

The deadline for applications is April 15, 2009.

Alexander Fraser Laidlaw Fellowship
The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada established the Laidlaw Fellowship to honour Dr. Alexander Fraser Laidlaw, the father of the non-profit co-operative housing movement in Canada. An outstanding Canadian adult educator and co-op leader, Dr. Laidlaw served the cause of the co-operative movement for over 40 years . Author of Cooperatives in the Year 2000, Laidlaw fostered the social purpose of the co-op movement while always advocating sound business methods for co-operative organizations.

The Laidlaw Award, valued at $1,000, is available to graduate students only. The award is based on the applicant’s academic record, as well as on the importance of the proposed research activities to the development of the co-op movement in Canada or abroad. Applicants must either undertake studies at Canadian universities or university-equivalent colleges (regardless of citizenship) or be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants studying at such institutions outside Canada. To be eligible to receive the award, recipients must undertake their proposed study within one calendar year of the fellowship being awarded.

Amy and Tim Dauphinee Scholarship
The Ontario Credit Union Charitable Foundation established the Amy and Tim Dauphinee Fellowship in recognition of the outstanding contribution these two leaders made to the development of the credit union movement and the Ontario Credit Union Charitable Foundation.
Tim, a retired scientist from the National Research Council, and Amy, a retired school principal, have a strong commitment to co-operatives, education and research. Both have served as local directors on a number of organizations. Amy was the first woman elected to the board of directors of Credit Union Central of Ontario and served for 22 years.

The award, currently valued at $3,000, is available to graduate students only. The award will be based on the applicants’ academic records and on the importance of the proposed research activities to the development of the co-op movement in Canada or abroad. Applicants must either undertake studies at Canadian universities or university-equivalent colleges (regardless of citizenship) or be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants studying at such institutions outside Canada. To be eligible to receive the award, recipients must undertake their proposed study within one calendar year of the fellowship being awarded.

Lemaire Co-operative Studies Award
Louis Lemaire, a co-operative pioneer, dedicated much of his life to organizing co-operatives in Saskatchewan and willed part of his estate to the Co-operative College of Canada (now the Canadian Co-operative Association) to support co-operative studies.

Available to both undergraduate and graduate students, the Lemaire awards are intended to encourage students to undertake studies which will help them contribute to the development of co-operative in Canada or elsewhere. These awards are also intended to support students who have been involved in co-operatives, preferably in leadership positions as volunteers or employees.

Eligible candidates will have been involved with co-operatives, must demonstrate reasonable knowledge and understanding of co-op principles and their application, and be able to indicate how the proposed studies will contribute to the co-op movement.

Full-time or part-time students, taking full- or partial-credit courses at any university or university-equivalent college are eligible to apply. Eligible candidates must take a minimum of one course about co-operatives. The bursaries will be awarded in multiples of $1,000 to a maximum of $3,000. The amount of the awards will be proportional to the significance and contribution of the studies to the advancement of co-operatives. Applicants must either undertake studies at Canadian universities or university-equivalent colleges (regardless of citizenship) or be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants studying at such institutions outside Canada. To be eligible to receive the award, recipients must undertake their proposed study within one calendar year of the fellowship being awarded.

Please note that the awards and scholarships listed above are intended to support studies about co-operative businesses and organizations – they are not intended to support co-op work/study programs in other fields of study.

Donna Balkan
Canadian Co-operative Association
400-275 Bank St.
Ottawa, ON K1P 2L6
Or download the application form from the CCA web site at:

3) Call for Participation - The 38th Annual ARNOVA Conference
Philanthropy in Communities: Finding Opportunity in Crisis
Cleveland, Ohio
November 19-22, 2009

As always, ARNOVA’s annual research conference will be a key opportunity to discuss the latest research on nonprofit organizations and philanthropy in all its diversity.

Proposal Submission Tracks for the 38th Annual ARNOVA Conference:
(these suggestions are not exclusionary of other topics)

Accountability, effectiveness, and evaluation
Boards, governance and leadership
Community and grassroots organizations
Fundraising and giving
International perspectives and issues
Philanthropy and foundations
Public policy
Strategy, programs, and innovation
Theory and methods
Voluntarism and volunteering
Teaching and Education
Philanthropy in Communities: Finding Opportunity in Crisis

Types of Presentations & Submissions:
Proposals for papers, Panels (pre-arranged) of 3-4 papers, and Colloquies of at least 3 presenters are solicited. Submissions by practitioners and doctoral students engaged in research are also welcome. The Conference Planning Committee seeks volunteers to chair or serve as discussants for paper sessions. We particularly welcome younger scholars and members of under-represented groups to make their interests known to the conference organizers so we can include you in our community.

The on-line proposal submission system will open February 18, 2009, and close at midnight, March 23, 2009.

To submit a proposal, go to and – under the Tab for “Conference” – click “Submit a Proposal.” More information about submitting proposals is posted under “Guidelines and Instructions for Proposals". Questions can then be directed to the ARNOVA office at (317) 684-2120, or to .

4) The Social Economy Hub has announced the following event:

Telelearning Session 13: Microfinance in a Canadian Context

The provision of financial services to low-income clients is an under-examined facet of the economic system. Proponents of microfinance believe that meeting the financial needs of such community members can be a sustainable answer to solving the problems associated with poverty in our society. Join us as we explore some of the issues surrounding microfinance in Canada, including:

• What is the significance of microfinance programs in the Canadian context?
• What is the need for microfinance programs?
• Under what conditions do microfinance programs thrive in Canada?
• What are the challenges faced by Canadian microfinance programs?

Sign up today to participate in this engaging telelearning session, featuring Susan Henry (Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at Alterna Savings) and Anahi Rivadeneira (Microfinance Program Officer at Vancity ), with facilitation by Seth Asimakos of the Saint John Community Loan Fund .

Spaces are free, but limited - Register today!

Call Logistics:
• Session Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009
• Call begins at 9:00 am PST, 10:00 am MST, 11:00 am CST, 12:00 pm EST, 1:00 pm AST, and 1:30 pm NST
• Call in information will be given upon registration
• Register before March 8th to obtain dial-in information and background papers
• This session is in English Session

Format: 1 Hour
Welcome: 5 minutes
Presentation: 10 minutes from each speaker
Discussion: 35 minutes

Registration: By Email or by PhoneRegister by e-mailing with your name, location, and work or volunteer position. We will provide instructions on how to access the telelearning forum. Unfortunately, the session is only open to those residing in Canada.

To register by phone call 1-250-472-4976. Check out the CSEHub Telelearning page for more information and to listen to the podcasts after these events!

International European Conference on the Social Economy and Social Enterprise in Prague (Czech Republic)
An International European Conference on the Social Economy and Social Enterprise will take place in Prague from 16 to 18 April 2009.

More details available from:

Good luck with your applications!

Suzanne Cook, Doctoral candidate and SESN rep for the Southern Ontario Social Economy Network