A New Approach: Investing in Local Innovators
People affected by a problem often know good solutions to it; solutions that grow directly from their understanding of its complexity. Furthermore, communities are most likely to buy into a solution that they have proposed. However, poor communities typically lack the resources to try these solutions, and international funds are too often out of their reach. In many of the poorest parts of the world, all that’s needed is a small amount of funding coupled with support for the design and execution of their idea. MicroGrants fills this need. We are hosting local competitions to solve pressing problems. Local innovators submit proposals that they can implement to address that problem. We help refine these proposals over several iterations, and then fund the most promising ones. In addition to directly helping people in need, MicroGrants cultivates new ideas and stimulates change from within communities.
Support Needed: Project Bloom
We will organize several waves of MicroGrants in Rwanda and Uganda between June 2010 to June 2011. While our goal is to eventually be able to support MicroGrants remotely, this focused effort will provide the opportunity for more detailed assessment and improvement of our model and the means to more efficiently to support several grants.
Each grant will be centered around a facilitating NGO. We have already identified two partners already: Education Support Organization (besoug.org) in Kampala the Umuryango Children’s Network (http://www.umuryango.org/) in Rwanda.
We will use all the money received (after transaction costs) to directly fund MicroGrant projects in Rwanda and Uganda.
Sasha Fisher will move to Kigali, Rwanda in June for project bloom and serve as a regional MicroGrant organizer to identify grassroot partners—some of the groups who can benefit the most from MicroGrant will be the hardest to find from afar. She will stay in close touch with each facilitator and grantee during and after the grant to provide support, understand what works and doesn’t work, and help inform our model as we launch this attempt at community-led development.