Spark MicroGrants is pioneering a new approach to community development where people facing poverty design, implement and manage their own social impact projects.
Spark runs an in country fellowship program for local university graduates in the countries we work. Fellows receive hands on leadership and facilitation training. Fellows reach out to rural poor communities and take each through a 3-5 month project planning process where the community votes on their most pressing problem and builds a plan to address the problem. After plans are complete, Spark provides a microgrant of around $3,000 to the community to enable project implementation. Communities are building schools, starting communal farms and more.
Differing from microfinance, Spark supports communities with organizational capacity building and a small grant – so they can invest in social impact.
Each parter community benefits through:
1. Launching a project to address a specific community based problem
2. Building internal capacity and drive to initiate local change
Since the community controls planning and spending, the projects are locally appropriate, effective and highly efficient. Spark guides each community through a three to five month project planning process, after which the project is implemented.
Since July 2010, Spark has partnered with over thirty communities in Rwanda and Uganda. The dedication of each community has been outstanding—with an average of 1,600 hours contributed per community for project planning alone. Communities have implemented projects increasing access to clean water, education, food, sanitation and more.