Innovation Fund Round II
Quarter 2 Reports – Summary
The Alliance for Global Good is pleased to have received the second quarterly reports from Innovation Fund’s second round of grantees.
The findings gleaned from the reports are summarized below:
- While all projects reported to be on time and within budget during the first quarter, the second quarter brought unforeseen circumstances that have impacted originally projected timelines. Unexpected medical leave by Freedom from Hunger’s Program Administer has delayed their plans for launching the distance-learning initiative by three months. Similarly, Global Health Ministries’ trouble finding a company that was able to undertake the removal of large rocks at the construction site delayed their ability to start construction.
- Pro Mujer remains the only grantee that has been able to move from planning to the implementation of their project. All of the other grantees are still in the planning phase of their work. Freedom from Hunger expects production release in July, 2014 and Innovation: Africa expects to launch their business in September, 2014. Global Health Ministries has not projected a date for the completion of construction.
- As such, Pro Mujer remains the only grantee that has seen measurable impact from their work. Since the launch of their project, they have seen strong progress made in improving financial sustainability of the health-model. As of March, they reported the model is 55.9% sustainability.
- Important milestones have been reached by grantees. After months of consideration, research and due diligence, Innovation: Africa selected a site for their solar energy kiosk. The construction of Global Health Ministries’ operating rooms began in April.
- Project progress has been driven by the nimbleness of grantees. Throughout the reports there are examples of revising plans or making changes as they go. For example, Pro Mujer expanded the dental services offered to make the product more flexible and convenient for their patients. Freedom from Hunger hired a VP of Technology Strategy and Integration to join their team full-time (who was previously engaged as a consultant) in recognition of how important the e-learning initiative is to long-range organizational plans.
- Matching funding has been secured by Freedom from Hunger, Global Health Ministries and Innovation: Africa, all of which have provided documentation to AFGG. Pro Mujer did not receive matching funds, as Pro Mujer Bolivia is absorbing the additional costs of the project, which was indicated in the grant application.
Kate continues to communicate with each of the grantees and has had an in-depth conversation with Innovation: Africa and Pro-Mujer. Kate has been unable to schedule time to speak with Global Health Ministries and Freedom From Hunger, but will hopefully do so in the third quarter.
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.”
April 15, 2014
Ms. Katherine Amore
Director, Changing Our World
220 East 42nd Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Re: Freedom from Hunger’s Latin America Distance-Learning Initiative
First of all, let me introduce myself. I have been working with Freedom from Hunger for the last two years in a consulting role, focused mostly on this e-Learning Initiative. I recently joined the organization full time as the VP of Technology Strategy & Integration. A significant reason for having me join the team is the recognition of the critical importance that this e-Learning capability has relative to our long range plans.
I am pleased to provide you a status update on the progress of our distance-learning initiative. The initiative has been slowed slightly due to the unforeseen medical leave by our only full time program administrator. We have adjusted our schedules to accommodate this impact and we are actively on boarding additional resources to cover the gap. We have shifted our release dates by 3 months and expect production release in July, the beginning of our fiscal year.
Below are key milestones that have been achieved along with other upcoming deliverables:
- Content development is under way and we have begun the initial Quality Assurance reviews. This is one of the major areas impacted by the medical leave.
- We are in the final stages of production and will begin our external user testing in May.
- We have identified all of the roles and responsibilities necessary for internal operational capabilities and have included those in our FY15 (July – June) resource plans. We have identified an interim solution to bridge the medical leave while maintaining the position for this talented individual to return to the role once ready.
- We continue to refine and document our standard development processes and program management procedures that will be leveraged significantly in the future as we expand our e-Learning offerings, including mobile-learning capabilities.
- We have completed our engagement with the consulting group from Stanford University and they have provided very actionable plans for Marketing Communications and Customer & Partner Relationship Management which we are using to organize our early stage business development activities.
- In addition to your generous support, which we have applied to the development of the first Module, we have also been utilizing the additional funding from the Cisco Foundation to accelerate our ability to get to market as quickly as possible.
Once again, we are privileged to receive support from the Alliance for Global Good Innovation fund to develop Distance-Learning as a mission-relevant strategy for generating new revenue streams to support our poverty alleviation programs.
Vice President, Technology Strategy & Integration
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.”
The following pictures demonstrate the progress at the building site:
LARGE BOULDERS NEEDING REMOVAL INITIATION CEREMONY
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.”
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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