We are excited to announce the winners of our first Challenge Fund, an unprecedented opportunity for us to offer a combination of grant support and repayable finance to social enterprises and early stage ventures.
Katie, our CEO, said “The response to our Challenge Fund was really encouraging with 64 applications received from a range of organisations, from small community-based organisations to social enterprises and companies across Uganda and Rwanda! We’ve been so inspired by the range of innovative and inspiring ways in which these changemakers have tackled such important issues.
Today we are delighted to announce our five deserving winners. Our expert judging panel have chosen ideas that stand out as forward-thinking, innovative ways to tackle historic problems. They represent a diverse portfolio of organisations and companies, harnessing modern technologies to bring about much-needed change. We can’t wait to see them in action!”
We looked for innovations that addressed two specific challenges, directly linked to our strategic objectives and themes: the Inclusion Challenge, to reduce stigma towards children with disabilities and the Gender and Justice Challenge to protect girls in prison.
Embrace Kulture’s iKnow mobile screening tool
This NGO based in Uganda is building on its past success running an online platform offering information on disability. With our backing, their new iKnow tool will allow parents to screen their children for learning disabilities by answering basic questions about their child over SMS or phone via a free helpline. Using technology to reach more people in this way has the potential to be scaled up and our judges loved its originality.
UWEZO’s education resources for blind and deaf kids
In Rwanda, UWEZO will manufacture reading materials for visually-impaired and hearing-impaired children. With the support of the Rwanda Education Board, the centre will produce school textbooks in braille and audio formats for blind children. For deaf children, they’ll create visual learning materials in DVD formats with sign language and subtitles. The combination of social impact and commercial potential make this unique idea a great opportunity.
SNUPA’s including children with Albinism project
In Uganda, children with Albinism face discrimination and isolation. 95% die before they reach 40 years old. SNUPA will distribute wide brimmed hats, sunscreen and other protective gear. They’ll train teachers in local schools on the needs of children with albinism as well as establishing support groups. We’re delighted to support this project which recognises the rights of one of the most marginalised groups.
Healthy Food Processing Co.’s Maize Milling Project
By reaching out to Disabled People’s Organisations, the Healthy Food Processing Company will find young people with learning disabilities and help them generate an income through maize cultivation, processing and packaging. These young people will be included at every stage of the supply chain!
Mucobadi’s business centre for girls
Mucobadi wants to set up a business incubation centre aimed at turning young offenders into future entrepreneurs. They will offer girls who’ve been in prison counselling and skills workshops, as well as legal support. Mucobadi will then help them start up a business, covering finance, marketing and more, leading them on a road to independence and economic empowerment.