It’s 2022 and Spirit in Action is embarking on a new year of partnerships with amazing grassroots organizations in Eastern Africa. In December, at a joint meeting of the North American Board and African Advisory Board, we approved over $100,000 in grants. These grants are adding to the efforts of 25 organizations, 17 continuing on from last year, and eight new partnerships. One partner from last year, Pastoralist Child Foundation, “graduated” from SIA grant support after receiving a substantial grant from UNICEF for their anti-FGM work!
(Confused about all the acronyms? Read my handy acronym cheat sheet.)
We gave out more grants than ever before, which is a testament both to the inspiring work being done by community organizations on the African continent and to the support from our generous donors.
Ubuntu Community-Based Organization provides small business loans to women in urban Kenya. The women gain financial independence and build community among other group members. A new SIA grant is contributing to Ubuntu's new computer cafe, where women can learn about computers and youth can use them for school work.
More Equity in Grantmaking
Four of the new partners are francophone groups in Rwanda and Burundi. (I wrote about Tubunganire Association here.) Pushing our circle wider, to encompass groups that are often ignored by other American foundations, is part of our move toward more equity in grantmaking. In this vein, the African Advisory Board was responsible for evaluating and selecting a majority of our grant partners, moving the grant decisions closer to the communities we are supporting.
Five of the grants are part of multi-year grant commitments. Multi-year grants are another part of our equitable grantmaking commitment. Knowing that funding is stable for 3-5 years means that organizations can focus on their impact in the community, rather than spending time fundraising.
Supporting Strong Community
One of these multi-year partners is Flaming Chalice in Burundi. This year, they are starting a poultry project for youth in their rural community. This is part of a larger effort to provide jobs for youth who want to stay in the rural community, rather than have to leave for the city for jobs.
Intergenerational connections and laughter among members of Flaming Chalice International in Burundi.
SIA Board Member Johnann Johnson who lives in rural California got really excited about this program, “This proposal lit me up. I love it. We see the repercussions in the US of sending all our farmer’s kids away and now we have no farms being run by families and it’s a huge issue here. How smart that this group sees, that they know, that if the youth don’t stay in the rural areas, their communities will die. I appreciate that they want to find a way for the youth to stay and fight the good fight at home.”
Grant funds were sent earlier this month, so we'll be reporting on progress in the coming months!