Tuesday, September 7, 2010

MicroGrants Blooming

It has now been over a month and a half since project Bloom was launched and soon there will be six MicroGrant competitions underway in Rwanda and Uganda, each touching an under-resourced community! With lots of activity here, we are looking for volunteers to become MicroGrant Advocates, who remotely work to support MicroGrant competitions. It’s a great way to support efficient, effective development.

Advocates are paired with the MicroGrant community of their choice and work remotely to support and promote their competition. Advocate responsibilities include: helping to raise the money for the community project; reviewing and commenting on proposals written by community members; advertising and promoting the grantee’s heroic work in the press. No prior work experience is needed—only enthusiastic compassion! In addition to helping a community in need solve its own problems you will learn about a pressing issue for those living in extreme poverty, and get a ground-level view of how they can be addressed.

The time commitment is approximately 2 hours per week for at least two months. Students can build class projects around MicroGrants. Although Advocates may have the chance to review grant submissions and discuss projects with experts in the field; Spark MicroGrants is really about
enabling the community to define their own problem, design their own project
and carry out the work for it.

If you’re interested, visit: sparkmicrogrants.org

Here are some of the competitions already underway:

Community: Karambe Village
Problem: Access to clean water
The village has submitted their proposal for a well and water storage tank! The group is excited and volunteering their own labor to build the structures and maintain them thereafter.

Community: Wanteete Village
Problem: Pre-primary education
A group of women are meeting every week to develop proposals for a pre-primary school. Join the discussion on their project:

Community: Butare, Rwanda
Problem: Yet to be decided
An association of women in Butare, Rwanda have united after they were divided by the genocide. Wives of genocide perpetrators and widows of men killed have been congregating to discuss and improve their quality of life. A MicroGrant is giving them the opportunity to implement one of their projects!

MicroGrants has the potential to expand very quickly if a global community chooses to support it. NGO leaders and anyone involved with under-resourced communities can use it to allow the community to address a pressing social problem. Students involved in clubs like the Unity and Reconciliation club in Rwanda, that are aimed to support community development, can use MicroGrants to help their home villages or other organizations that they aim to support. Local governments can organize competitions for groups and villages that are rarely reached by aid. The governement in Ruhango, Rwanda has shown a great deal of enthusiasm for the method of development yet needs financial support for competitions. Many communities that have not been given the opportunity to play an active role in their own development are given the chance to implement a project to help their communities through MicroGrants.

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