Proceeds from university textbook to help end hunger in Africa
For some University of Manitoba business students, buying a new textbook not only helps with their studies—it also means helping end hunger in three African countries.
That’s because a portion of the proceeds from the business management textbook are being donated to Canadian Foodgrains Bank to help small-scale farmers in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania learn to grow more and better food.
Management: Entrepreneurship, Financial and Socio-Ecological Well-Being (Sapajo Publishing) was written by Bruno Dyck, Arran Caza and Fred Starke.
“There’s a lot of social issues on our planet that need to be addressed, including the number of hungry people around the world,” says Bruno Dyck, a professor in the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba.
Dyck believes that North American businesses can make a positive impact on issues like hunger in the world. But through his career as a business professor, he’s noticed that many students are taught to focus on making money, without considering social and environmental issues first.
“Through this textbook, we’re trying to connect business with improving social and ecological well-being,” he says.
Consistent with the message of the book, co-author royalties of $9.91 from the sale of each textbook are being donated to the Foodgrains Bank’s Scaling-Up Conservation Agriculture in East Africa program.
Through the program, 50,000 small-scale farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia are being trained in sustainable farming methods so they can better support their families.
Dyck decided to support this program because of the positive social and environmental impacts it has on communities overseas.
“The farmers who are benefitting from these projects are entrepreneurs and are getting an education from the Foodgrains Bank,” he says, noting that not only will farmers be able to improve their livelihoods, but there will be positive environmental spin-offs as well, including improved soil conditions.
And it’s not just the proceeds of the textbook that are making a difference in the world, it’s also the content.
The textbook describes an approach to management where the goal is to enhance social and ecological well-being while making enough money, but without needing to maximize financial well-being.
Dyck is excited to know that students who buy the book are thereby participating in helping farmers around the world.
Use business skills to help others
Dyck’s two co-authors, Arran Caza and Fred Starke, also find the idea of incorporating social and environmental considerations into business management styles very satisfying.
“In all the years that I studied and taught business, the idea to maximize profits with few other considerations was accepted and familiar,” Starke explains.
“But what our new book is saying, and what I agree with, is that we should be doing things because it’s the humane way to do things first and foremost.”
Over $1,600 of author royalties were donated to the Foodgrains Banks from the sales of the textbook in the first semester of this school year.
By the end of the year, more than 500 students will have studied business management using the textbook.
John Longhurst, who directs resources and public engagement at the Foodgrains Bank, is grateful for the support—and the emphasis on combining business and making a difference for people who are poor and hungry.
“Everyone is needed to help end global hunger, and business has an important role to play,” he says.
“We are grateful to the authors for not only the contribution they have made, but for the important lessons they will teach students in the future.”
As for Dyck, he hopes students who read the textbook will be inspired to use their skills in business to help others and care for the planet.
“I hope the students say, ‘Hey, we are all one’ and consider how their actions impact people around the world.”
Shaylyn McMahon is a Communications Assistant for Canadian Foodgrains Bank