In the previous month, we explored how two organizations benefited from small grants. Today, we bring you two more organizations that demonstrate the power of small grants.
The first organization in the spotlight is Smiling Through Light (STL), which received a grant from the SHINE Campaign COVID-19 recovery fund.
STL’s mission is to close the energy access gap in last-mile communities in Sierra Leone by providing them with innovative solutions. A small grant from the SHINE Campaign enabled STL to power through the pandemic and continue its pilot of Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGo) Solar Home Systems. The grant also gave STL the financial runway to implement a strengthened 5-step credit assessment process. These innovative solutions make solar technology more accessible and affordable to customers, allowing them to pay back through small installments made from the comforts of their phones. The grant enabled STL to build its resilience, allowing their team to continue providing essential energy services to households, women traders, and businesses.
The second organization that Shine wants to highlight is the ELICO Foundation and its powering health facilities in rural Maasai communities project. Click through to this powerful video that highlights the importance of reliable and affordable energy in quality healthcare sectors, especially in under-resourced communities with weak health systems.
The small grant from the Shine Campaign enabled two healthcare facilities in Eltukai and Eluwai villages in Tanzania to install solar microgrids, providing 24-hour power for lab equipment, refrigerators, and lighting. Switching to solar energy allowed these healthcare facilities to create a safer environment for night-time deliveries, improve the sterilization of medical equipment and help with the preservation of life-saving vaccines. These energy solutions continue to operate today, allowing both health centers to serve up to 6000 patients per month.
These two stories show that small grants can make a big difference. These small grants of less than USD15 000 allowed these organizations to continue their work through the pandemic, to both survive the economic shock and to proceed with the delivery of critical energy services, to healthcare facilities, small businesses and households. They could also maintain their employees and agents, many of whom are women. This demonstrates the power of small grants to be catalysts for change, allowing organizations and communities to reach for their full potential and improve lives.
These lessons provide hard evidence that a small grant can go a long way in supporting disadvantaged communities and the organizations that are striving to serve them. It is imperative for us to continue supporting these organizations so they can work towards these goals. Together, we need to assess how to assemble and deliver the much-needed funding – often in small amounts -to local, community-based organizations to enable them to create more sustainable and equitable futures for all.