Successful innovation in development often begins with one person's passionate belief in an idea that may exist only on a piece of paper. But for an idea to make successive leaps to funding to implementation and, finally, scaling up invariably requires extensive networking and the forging of strategic, sometimes multiple, partnerships. That's the story of Development Marketplace successes like 2006 winner PumpAid (photo) from Sub-Saharan Africa, 2006 winner Self-Sustainable Rainwater Harvesting from India, and 2003 winner Ha-Tien-Habitats-Handbags from Vietnam.
Beginning with a US$120,000 DM grant, PumpAid brought its clean-water project to early-stage development in Malawi and Zimbabwe, and went on to get financing of US$25 million to reach an additional eight million people in those two countries. PumpAid has two partners.
Ha-Tien-Habitats-Handbags, which has partnered with the International Finance Corp. (the commercial arm of the World Bank Group) and Kien Giang Province's Department of Science and Technology, was a 2007 winner of the US$30,000 UN-Habitat/Dubai Municipality International Award for Best Praces to Improve the Living Environment.
Self-Sustainable Rainwater Harvesting went through a series of expansions aided by the nonprofit Aakash Ganga that was financially seeded by Rajasthan Association of North America (RANA). That led to a US$50,000 grant from the Asian Development Bank, and U.N. Development Programs (UNDP) has given Aakash Ganga a grant to expand to several hundred villages.
It's heartening to see the new wave of DM finalists from the 2009 competition networking and pursuing partners with the same avid dedication.
These excerpts from a recent exchange of emails among some finalists -- winners and non-winners alike -- show the spirit of collaboration that can make innovation succeed. They begin with a determined message to all hundred finalists from Kashyap Bhatt, whose Portable Solar/Wind Greenhouse to Grow Fodder for Sustainable Dairy Farms in India was one of the DM2009 winners:
"The U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen is a meeting of the policy makers, 'The Talkers,' but with the help of the United Nations, its subsidiaries, and the World Bank we are 'The Doers,' who ultimately implement the policy. I have reviewed all 100 participants’ projects and I am of the opinion that if we put our efforts together we can replicate our innovative ideas in each country where we are working. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance in implementing my micro-finance or community-based projects in your area and email me your project details so that I can keep in my file for future reference and introduce them to other NGOs I am associated with."
Nripen Baidya, of the Low-Cost Water Filter Designed to Stem Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh, replied to Bhatt:
"We really appreciate you very much for your kind initiative. We will highly appreciate you if you please send us the Brochure of the said solar & wind powered portable greenhouses for livestock development for community based and women and farmers. It will give us some idea how it will benefit our poor Bangladeshi rural people. If it helps, then obviously we love to be a partner of you to implement the idea for the benefit of our community women.
"We will also appreciate if you please send us a guidelines and budget information to develop a project proposal."
Souly QuachAngkham, who led the Laos project for Floating Gardens and Granaries Seen as Solution for Flood-Prone Communities, replied to Bhatt:
"Thank you very much for your support for Laos and our partners. Our proposal is included. If you need more documents, please do let us know."
From Pascale Geslain, leader of the Mali and Indonesia project for Development of Insurance Fund to Protect Jatropha Farmers from Climate Risk:
"Thank for this initiative. Please find attached our proposal."
From Karina Copen of the El Salvador project for Healthy Wells and Latrines Keep Water Drinkable for Vulnerable Communities:
"Greetings from El Salvador and best wishes to all the colleagues doing excellent work around the world. Attached is our proposal for Healthy Wells."
From Lorna Slade of the Tanzania project for Fishers of the Future: Interactive Radio Drama for Climate Change Adaptation:
"Thank you for your mail and interest in our projects. I attach my project proposal for your reference. It would be very nice to have a spreadsheet summarising our proposed activities and countries of operation! Unfortunately I don't have the time for that just now but it would be a nice reference. All the best for your project."
Jasintha Amirtham of the India project for Wanted: 420 Women to Design and Grow a Sustainable Farming Model communicated with Valentina Urrutia, leader of the Venezuela project Habitat Expedition: Harnessing Local Experience to Raise Climate Awareness:
"Thank you for your suggestion to upload VOICE Trust’s Project submitted for DM2009. I am doing this by this e-mail so that the other 99 Finalists have an opportunity to go through our project and link us to support organisations interested in Multiple Cropping by Women Farmers in Dry Land Cultivation Areas in the State of Tamil Nadu, southern India."
Based on this spirited start toward collaboration, there's a very good chance there'll be future successes like PumpAid or Self-Sustainable Rainwater Harvesting or Ha-Tien-Habitats-Handbags.
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