Innovation Fund Round II
Quarter 1 Reports – Summary
The Alliance for Global Good is pleased to have received the first of the quarterly reports from Innovation Fund’s second round of grantees.
The findings gleaned from the reports are summarized below:
- All grantee projects are currently on time and within budget. Thus far, none of the grantees have experienced major setbacks or obstacles that have impeded their schedule or plans. None expressed anticipation or concern for future problems.
- Additional funding has been secured by Freedom from Hunger and Global Health Ministries (not noted in their report but conveyed via email communication).
- Only one grantee, Pro Mujer, has been able to move from planning to the implantation of their project. All of the other grantees are still in the planning phase of their work.
- As such, Pro Mujer is the only grantee that has seen measurable impact from their work. Since the launch of their project, 1,719 women have purchased their health care package (over a three month time). Additionally, dental and sonogram services, new to the clinic, have seen promising levels of usage, as well as an increase of BMI screenings and blood pressure readings.
- Partnerships were cited as key to grantees’ work. Freedom from Hunger has engaged a consulting firm to help develop a marketing and communications plan to help promote their distance-learning initiative, while local government and organizations were cited as a major advantage to Innovate: Africa’s work in solar kiosk site selection.
While there were delays in receiving all of the first quarter reports due to travel abroad in support of grantees’ work, AFGG anticipates receiving the second quarter reports by the end of April. Kate continues to communicate with each of the grantees and has had an in-depth conversation with Innovation: Africa to discuss their work more deeply. Outreach has been made to hold similar conversations with the other three grantees.
Freedom from Hunger
Organization’s Geographic Region of Focus: Latin America
Alliance Areas of Concern: Health, Education and Poverty
Challenges: Many Latin American microfinance institutions lack capacity to provide professional development necessary for optimal field agent performance. This in turn jeopardizes performance and exposes clients the risk of over-indebtedness.
Solution: Transform existing training series for field agents into a long distance learning e-platform, thus providing cost-effective and accessible training opportunities that will build field agent capacity and comply with emerging regulatory requirements.
Excerpted from the Proposal:
“In Latin America, the microfinance industry faces growing pressure to ensure transparency in its operations and adopt standardized tools to measure financial and social performance. To date, efforts have focused primarily on the development of quality standards for field agent performance. Governments in Latin America are strongly endorsing field agent training as a vital tool to reach the expected quality standards in the provision of microfinance and development. Field agents are in a pivotal position to affect change as trusted intermediaries between the rural poor and the outside world. While a field agent dons many hats, their ultimate role is to foster economic development for a population with limited economic and educational opportunities. Yet many MFIs lack the capacity to provide the professional development required for their field staff to perform to their fullest potential. Low competence of field agents jeopardizes the performance of MFIs, putting the institution at risk for poor portfolio quality and client at risk of over‑indebtedness.”
“The overall goal is to improve the financial and social performance of the microfinance industry by strengthening and improving the core competencies of field staff using distance‑learning solutions. . . . Anticipated impact to the microfinance industry includes cost‑effective and accessible training opportunities to build staff capacity while complying with emerging regulatory requirements in Latin America on field agent performance.”
“The initial distance‑learning curricula will be developed in Spanish and the modules will be offered in various combinations for a target audience that includes Group Credit Officers, Nonformal Education Facilitators, and Credit with Education Officers. Implementation of the course will be tested by Freedom from Hunger’s network of MFI partner organizations located in Mexico, Peru and Ecuador, and subsequently made available more broadly throughout Latin America.”
“A detailed market analysis was completed in November 2012 that concluded the market is ready and Freedom from Hunger is well‑positioned to address this market in a sustainable way. Despite the growing demand, there are only inconsistent and incomplete offerings available today and they lack substance. Freedom from Hunger is seizing this opportunity to gain first‑mover advantage in building its training program and leveraging it on the e‑learning platform to create recurring revenue and diversify its financial resources.”
Global Health Ministries
Organization’s Geographic Region of Focus: Cameroon
Alliance Areas of Concern: Health, Education
Challenges: How to address dramatically reduced funding of missionary hospital so as to continue providing essential services for population.
Solution: Increase capacity for providing elective and fee-paying surgery for local population by expanding surgical facilities.
Excerpted from the Proposal:
“The Ngaoundéré Protestant Hospital’s Surgery Innovations Program is a targeted response to a multi‑faceted crisis relating to quality surgical care in Cameroon. The Program will expand surgical capacity, enhance quality of care, and enhance recognition of NPH as a national leader in specialty services.”
“Doubling the number of operating rooms at NPH will result in surplus income from surgical fees increasing the sustainability of NPH and allowing NPH to extend services to thousands of families in critical need of basic lifesaving care and specialty services. In 2011, NPH initiated a pilot program to add urologic surgeries by adding a urologist to 5 general doctors and an infectious disease specialist. Today NPH is the only hospital in Cameroon that offers endoscopic urologic surgeries. As a direct result of this pilot, the hospital has recruited an orthopedic surgeon, general surgeon, obstetrician/gynecologist, and an ENT/plastic surgeon. The success of this pilot reaffirms NPH’s organizational goals and strategy, and demonstrates its capacity for innovation.”
“The Surgery Innovations Program requires capital funds for construction of two additional surgical suites. Construction documents and budget are provided as attachments. Once construction is completed, waiting periods for surgeries will be dramatically reduced, leading to improved patient outcomes and a reduction in pre‑surgical costs. The expansion will more than double the hospital’s revenue by 2016. The Program will lead to sustainability on many fronts: (1) it will enhance NPH’s ability to recruit qualified specialists; (2) it will strengthen NPH’s already expansive network of global partnerships for training healthcare professionals; and (3) revenue from surgeries will support overall hospital operations and allow expanded access to care for all residents. The Program aligns with every aspect of the hospital’s mission, and has the professional and programmatic support required for success.”
Global Health Ministries First Quarter Report:
We spent January 28 to February 14, 2014 in Ngaoundéré, Cameroon. During that time Johannes Aas met with a construction company from Douala, First Technology SARLppp, with experience in using Hydra form construction blocks www.hydraform.com, and signed a contract with them for the construction of the extension of the operating rooms. Funds have recently been transferred to Cameroon allowing the construction company to buy materials for construction in Douala where the material is significant cheaper and will be transported to Ngaoundere in 40 foot container by train. They hope to start within a couple of weeks. The construction phase will take three months, hereafter the operating rooms have to be equipped with operating tables, lamps etc., and only once the operating rooms are functioning can we expect to see growth in the number of surgeries and increase in revenue.
Martha Aas, M.D.
Johannes Aas, M.D.
Organization’s Geographic Region of Focus: Uganda
Alliance Areas of Concern: Health, Education, Environment, Poverty
Challenges: Provide resources and facilities for off the grid individuals to have electrical power in their lives.
Solution: Create a readily replicable “Rural Energy Center” where individuals can access services including internet access, photocopying and printing, television access, and cellphone charging, and purchase items including solar lanterns, haircuts, water packs, and cold drinks.
Excerpted from the Proposal:
“Innovation: Africa’s solar powered schools, medical clinics and water pumping systems serve rural communities. In powering a school, we provide students and teachers with a place to study and learn in the evening. In powering a medical clinic, we offer patients and medical professionals the opportunity to give and receive emergency care at night. But while these projects address the base needs of the community, they do not cater to the needs of the individual consumer.”
“1.3 billion people worldwide live without electricity, nearly 600 million in sub‑Saharan Africa alone. These are people that rely on wood, diesel and charcoal for their energy needs. According to the Sustainable Energy 4 All’s Technical Report in April 2012, over 800,000 children are dying each year of indoor air pollution caused by smoke inhalation from products such as kerosene lanterns and coal stoves. It is easy to think of these children and their families as victims, but in reality, they are consumers spending up to 30% of their household income on the very products that make them sick and hurt the environment.”
“Innovation: Africa’s Energy Center will provide rural consumers with an alternative to these unsafe and unsustainable energy products while saving them money. Cost effective and eco friendly products such as solar lanterns and cook stoves already exist on the market, but the challenge is distribution. There are no rural stores in which to sell their products. Our innovation is to build that store. Consumers can stop in to the Energy Center to charge their phone, surf the internet, make photocopies, buy a cold soda and learn about solar products for home use.”
“Our goal is to build a model that can be easily replicated in villages across Africa.”
Innovate Africa: First Quarter Report:
The update is that we spent several days in the field looking at prospective sites for the energy kiosk, and learned a great deal about the realities on the ground. From that, we built a list of criteria that we think will make for the best possible location. We’ve identified 1 site we think could be a strong prospect based on our criteria, but left our local team in the field with the responsibility of looking into a few more alternatives in surrounding districts before reaching a final decision. We’re well on track for completing the installation in May.
Notes from Check-in Call (3/19/14):
- Uganda was chosen as the country for the pilot site based on having the strongest relationship with the local government and private sector leaders.
- To help choose the specific site (within Uganda) Innovation: Africa met with local government and private sector representative to allow them to weigh in and suggest the best places for the first solar hub. Although prior to the meeting Innovate Africa had compiled a list of criteria for the site – the meeting helped to expand what was considered essential for success.
- Criteria for the site included proximity to the following:
- Trading center; wanted a site near a place where rural community members were already patronizing to have their needs met.
- Secondary school; since computer access was part of the energy center’s plans, it was important to have the site close to a school where students are learning about computers.
- Mobilized communities with organized groups for women and a savings and loans entity
- Of the sites that were evaluated, three had everything except proximity to a second school
- Innovation: Africa left Uganda without choosing a site. There is a clear favorite, but the ground staff will continue to explore options to optimize the decision and minimize future challenges.
- Once the site is picked, Innovation: Africa will ship the customized solar kiosk to Uganda
- The solar kiosk is completely movable, so if the site that is picked does not work out, the kiosk can be physically moved easily.
- The kiosk has an igloo shaped, which has a cooling system built into it to avoid overheating. It also creates some security based on the closed-off space, featuring a lockable door.
- Once the site is picked and the kiosk is shipped, a person to manage the kiosk must be picked. There are some candidates already in mind, based on the person networks and relationships of the staff on the ground. In an ideal world, a person from the village would be chosen, although not perceived as necessary to success.
- The number of products offered will be limited and will have already been available on the Ugandan market (not tackling the importation business, yet). Internally, staff is debating the appropriate number of products to offer – want consumers to have some choice, but also do not want to overwhelm.
Biggest Unforeseen Issue:
- With consideration to the limitation of how far/much people will travel, the success of the site is dependent on the centralized design of the town. With a centralized design, there is much greater ability to build a critical mass.
Organization’s Geographic Region of Focus: Bolivia
Alliance Areas of Concern: Health, Education, Poverty
Challenges: Chronic diseases—obesity, high blood pressure, elevated glucose levels, etc.—are a major health burden, particularly for the poor.
Solution: Building upon existing financial services infrastructure and resources to deliver health services, implement a new health plan addressing these concerns designed to be client focused, market‑driven, and self‑sustaining.
Excerpted from the Proposal:
“Chronic diseases now account for 68% of deaths in Latin America, yet it is not a public‑sector focus, leaving many people vulnerable to these high‑mortality illnesses. Hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and breast and cervical cancer are rampant; these conditions often go untreated until costly complications arise because symptoms are not detected until an advanced stage.”
“Pro Mujer Bolivia (PMB) has provided health services to clients since it began programming in 1990 and is now testing and rolling out a new health program that focuses on chronic illness. This program is designed to be client focused, market‑driven, and self‑sustaining, ensuring that clients can afford to access services by focusing on convenience and providing a payment mechanism”
“The idea is based on the premise that Pro Mujer can leverage existing financial services infrastructure and resources to deliver health services. In 2009, the organization began an ambitious project to re‑work the health model in León, Nicaragua, clarifying the program objectives and nearing financial sustainability before replicating it in Juliaca, Peru. The program is now being rolled out in other regions of both countries and will be launched in LaPaz and El Alto, Bolivia in fall of 2013.”
“The health program offers three service lines: a universal component of basic screening and educational services, a pre‑paid health package, and a broad offering of additional primary care services on a pay‑per‑service basis. All three lines have different income‑generating structures that together create a profitable program. The model is projected to reach maturity in El Alto and La Paz by the end of 2015. Because the viability of the program has already been tested and affirmed, and because interest in the Bolivian market of the product has already been established by means of demand/supply studies, this program is poised for success in achieving financially sustainable social impact.”
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