In this episode we speak with the co-founder of Spark Microgrants, Sasha Fisher, about their successful approach to helping communities design and launch their own social impact projects.
Sasha Fisher moved to East Africa in July 2010 to develop the Spark MicroGrants model.
Her previous experiences in South Sudan, South Africa, India, and Uganda have led to her passion for community-led development.
Sasha holds a BA from the University of Vermont in Studio Art and a self-designed major of Human Security, a paradigm for development that recognizes the rising legitimacy of non-state actors in securing basic human needs.
Spark MicroGrants was founded in 2010 to prove community-driven development can be done at scale.
Spark has designed a novel approach for launching communities facing poverty into action and has partnered with 150 villages across Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Spark strengthens the fundamental vitals each village needs to succeed, building the base infrastructure for families to discuss, deliberate and make local progress. Spark takes each village through a six-month facilitation process where families set village goals, brainstorm projects to reach one goal and plan a project. Each village opens a community bank account and receives an $8,000 seed grant to launch their project into reality. The six-month process is outlined below.
Their partner villages have collectively launched over 275 local impact projects. Of the projects backed by Spark, 94 percent are sustaining, 77 percent have launched secondary projects independently of Spark and 94 percent have continued to host regular community meetings where they discuss important topics, such as land disputes and new initiatives. These metrics indicate Spark partner communities graduate from the process with a commitment to continued local change.