In a world where big grants and programs dominate, small grants are avoided, felt to be more trouble to transact for the impact to be delivered. However, Shine’s experience demonstrates that small grants can be an effective way to make a difference and deliver impact.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating effect on efforts to both maintain and increase energy access for the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations. The Shine Campaign recognized this and established the COVID-19 Recovery Fund to promote the resiliency of these communities.
Recognizing the time sensitivity to respond, the application process for the grants was straightforward. In September 2020, the Shine Women’s Leadership Council, composed of leading women and energy advocates, came together and launched the COVID-19 Recovery Fund. Through a 6-week open call for proposals, over 200 applications were received. The proposals were evaluated on a rolling basis and grants ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 were awarded to 13 micro-small energy access companies, community groups, and women-led initiatives.
The results: The Covid 19 pandemic caused widespread economic disruption, threatening the survival of many businesses. The selected groups used the Shine funds to both adapt to the crises as well as increase the resiliency of their work for the future, such as installing solar systems at health clinics and increasing the training of local women entrepreneurs on business and financial management, product and sales skills development.
Over the next months, Shine will highlight the power of these small grants to make a difference at the last mile. To start, let us introduce you to two of the winners.
- Through the Shine Campaign, CERATH Development Organisation has taken action to increase the economic resilience of women-led clean energy enterprises in the face of COVID-19. With the Shine small grant , CERATH has empowered 147 women in the Tolon and East Gonja districts of Ghana through training to enhance business and financial management. This training built the resiliency of these women in the face of the pandemic and has driven progress towards a cleaner, more sustainable future. This initiative demonstrates the power of small grants to make a real and lasting impact on the ground, especially in supporting women-led enterprises to weather difficult times and continue their vital work. Read more about it HERE.
- Through the support of The Shine Campaign, the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities in the Philippines set up a solar generator to power the community health center in Sulu-an Island. The Shine funds also supported the acquisition of a laptop, medical equipment, a pedicab and bike to aid women health workers in the island’s COVID-19 response and vaccination drive in the early days of the pandemic. The outcome was outstanding, enabling an immediate increase in the majority of the population receiving the Covid 19 vaccination As a result, Sulu-an has one of the highest vaccination rates in the island barangays of the Guiuan municipality, supporting the resiliency of the population. Watch more HERE
These successes serve as a testament to the effectiveness of small amounts of money in creating positive and timely impacts that form the basis for growth.