To read this content please select one of the options below:

Should social enterprises complement or supplement public health provision?

Sammia Poveda (Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Melinda Gill (Renewsiya Foundation, Cebu, Philippines)
Don Rodney Junio (Institute on Computing and Society, United Nations University, Macao, Macao)
Hannah Thinyane (Institute on Computing and Society, United Nations University, Macao, Macao)
Vanessa Catan (Renewsiya Foundation, Cebu, Philippines)

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Article publication date: 25 June 2019

Issue publication date: 21 November 2019




This paper aims to explore how stable employment, company culture and tailored health, digital and core skills training provided by a social enterprise (SE) in the Philippines affect survivors of exploitation. Research shows survivors experience adverse social conditions and physical and mental health outcomes caused by their exploitative experience. Stable, decent employment has been identified as critical to their recovery and reintegration. This paper discusses the SE’s impact on the employees’ physical, mental and social health and behaviour. Based on our findings, the authors discuss the contribution of SE in improving health outcomes and providing health services and conclude that SEs should not replace but complement public health government programmes.


This paper uses mixed methods, presenting data from a longitudinal survey (household income, mental health and social well-being) and a follow-up qualitative study, which uses in-depth interviews and participatory videos to explore survey findings.


The quantitative analysis demonstrates positive, but gradual, changes in sexual and reproductive health behaviour; personal empowerment; and trauma, anxiety and depressive symptoms. The qualitative findings show how improvements in executive functioning, self-regulation and self-esteem occur incrementally over time. As their self-efficacy improves, employees need to avoid being overly dependent on the SE, to support their autonomy; therefore, access to complementary public health services is fundamental.


This paper focusses, to the authors’ knowledge, on a unique SE, which hires survivors of exploitation, without losing their competitiveness in the market.



The authors would like to thank for the funding provided by the United Nations University, Institute on Computing and Society, and the Sheffield ESRC IAA fund from The University of Sheffield.


Poveda, S., Gill, M., Junio, D.R., Thinyane, H. and Catan, V. (2019), "Should social enterprises complement or supplement public health provision?", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 495-518.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles