THE BLOG

Finding the Hidden Gems: A Perspective on Making Micro Grants in East Africa

08/07/2016 12:37 pm ET | Updated Aug 07, 2016

As a funding organization working in over ninety countries, we have seen firsthand that the most powerful change comes from the knowledge and experience of impacted communities. The best people to design and implement solutions are those facing the problems in the first place. We aim to make high impact, culturally relevant micro grants. Supporting grassroots changemakers, most of whom are commonly overlooked by other funders due to socioeconomic and geographical factors, has proven to be a successful strategy for making meaningful grants around the world.

One strategy we employ is 'flow funding', where we put grantmaking decisions in the hands of trusted grantees, each of whom identifies worthwhile projects to fund within their communities. Using their experience of the issues facing communities and their social networks, our team identifies and supports local leaders who are building community resilience. Because these grants are made face to face, through conversation and relationships, our 'flow funders' are also able to support and mentor grant recipients, helping people and projects that would may otherwise not get funded through traditional methods, and fostering new cohorts of empowered, connected, and skilled change makers who enact locally-driven solutions.

In Kenya and Uganda, our East Africa Hub Grantmaking team has identified and made a handful of extraordinary flow fund grants (with another 25-30 grants still to be made in 2016). Our team is supporting grassroots pioneers who are transforming their communities. While these projects are tackling diverse issues, together they paint a picture of a resilient and sustainable future.

Congratulations to our 7 recent East Africa Flow Fund Grantees:

Emily Auma Oloo, Pawpaw Farming for Improved Livelihood for Poor Farmers, Western State, Kenya. Recognizing the social impact of financial income for women in rural communities, Vincent Atitwa made his first flow fund to farmer Emily. Funds will be used to help strengthen her farming activities, radically improving the health and living standards of the community.

Jimmy Okello, Stove Making for Energy Conservation, Kitgum, Uganda. Fighting climate change at a community level by producing energy saving stoves that reduce the consumption of fire wood and reduce exposure to dangerous fumes, this group are changing lives and saving the planet! Jimmy Amone is supporting this project with a flow fund that will enable the production and distribution of many more stoves to community members.

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Carolyne Adhiambo Oloo, Stawi Women, Bondo, Kenya. Empowering widows by training them on their rights and opening up avenues for income generating activities. Tired of seeing widowed women treated like property, Sitawa Wafula was so fired up by Carolyne's passion and drive for working with widows that she has selected her to receive this flow fund. The grant supports efforts to ensure that widowed w‎omen are seen as humans with rights!

Jimmy Otim, Health Care Alliance, Lira, Uganda. Providing palliative and nursing care for the elderly, especially those living with disabilities. After witnessing the lack of options for care for those facing health concerns, Suzan Wilmot is thrilled to give her first flow fund to Jimmy to help create an earned income stream for elderly people and those with disabilities, rebuilding their social safety net!

Nathan Mukabire, Mayuge Tweziimbe Welding Skills for the Youth, Mayuge, Uganda. Helping youth become self reliant through welding training and empowerment activities. Observing how hard it is for young people in Uganda to be able to find work, Batale Fred saw the potential for Nathan's work to help young people make a better future for themselves and their country, and is supporting him with a flow fund to help train young people in welding.

Franciska Walwenda Ogone, Grandmothers Project, Kisumu, Kenya. Helping widows earn a livelihood through small businesses selling maize. East Africa Hub Fellow David Omondi made a life altering investment in a community of grandmothers in Omambo, by giving his first flow fund grant to 63 year-old Francisca Ogone to help her and participants earn a livelihood without resorting to dangerous, back breaking work.

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Stephen Muchoki Kimani, Sports With A Mission, Nairobi, Kenya. Using peer to peer education to empower underprivileged young women and girls through sports. Young Women in informal communities face challenging conditions which stifle their potential. Miriam Wambui is proud to support Stephen with a flow fund, helping him to provide young women and girls in informal communities ways to stay healthy and educated!

Visit our East Africa Hub Team and learn how they are re-defining the way we give grants in East Africa.

Do you have a project that can change the world for the better? We accept grant applications for Pollination Project seed grants, every day of the year. We love learning about changemakers across the globe and all they are doing to spread compassion, peace, environmental sustainability, generosity and justice.

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