By Bennie Mundando
SAHARA Foundation, the corporate citizenship vehicle of energy conglomerate, Sahara Group, has launched the Sahara Impact Fund (SIF) and the Governance Unusual Programme to facilitate the generation of ideas and solutions towards increasing access to clean energy, mobilizing partnerships to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and inspiring a good governance paradigm shift.
Sahara Foundation will drive the programme using the Sahara extrapreneurship model with an underlying ethos of “creating enabling environment for entrepreneurs”.
The fund’s capacity is set at over $100,000 with opportunity for incremental access by beneficiaries based on impact, reach and sustainability matrices targeted at supporting young social entrepreneurs in Africa with seed funding as well as providing access to mentoring from Sahara Group and other private sector partners, to scale up clean energy and sustainable environment innovations.
The Programme is a strategic partnership involving Sahara Foundation, Ford Foundation, LEAP Africa and Impact Investors Foundation leveraging on strengths of the various partners.
Sahara Foundation has implemented various projects across its locations in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, impacting the lives of over 2,000,000 beneficiaries, with youth accounting for over 50% of the beneficiaries.
According to Pearl Uzokwe, Director, Governance and Sustainability, Sahara Group, ”The Sahara Impact Fund and Governance Unusual programme will reinforce ongoing conversations on boosting entrepreneurial capacity and how individual responsibility can inspire a paradigm shift that will culminate in the “whole” gravitating towards “doing the right thing” – without equivocation.
“Sahara Group is delighted to promote a robust movement for self-governance – one that challenges everyone to be the measure for “doing the right thing” against all odds.”
Uzokwe said applications for the SIF are open from 29th September 2020 to 15th October 2020. “Full details of the application process are available across our social media platforms @shaharapcsr and the Ujana Hub at www.ujanahub.com. Enquiries can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org,” she added.
The Fellowship is a leadership quest that starts from changing people’s mindset and birthing a new creed that ultimately stamps out the dominance of “business as usual” standards across the globe. The design of the project requires Fellows of the Impact Fund to participate in the Governance Unusual Programme with exposure to leadership training for social impact entrepreneurs targeting maximum impact and scalability.
Country Director, Ford Foundation, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma said the innovative programme comes at a moment when the world needs a critical vehicle that can support young people to creatively connect good ideas with good leadership examples. “I hope that the programme will inspire the beneficiaries to take individual responsibility towards promoting sustainable development in their various areas of interest,” he added.
According to Ndidi Nwuneli, Founder LEAP Africa ” LEAP is delighted to serve as a technical partner for this important initiative because of its focus on supporting young Africans working to provide clean and affordable energy solutions and to promote a sustainable environment through the Social Innovators Programme and Awards. We strongly believe that this partnership will not only promote the achievement of the SDGs but also propel greater innovation across Africa”.
As part of Sahara Foundation’s effort to directly impact youth across the continent through the ‘extrapreneurship’ model, a dedicated e- channel known as the Ujana Hub has been created. The hub www.ujanahub.com is a technology powered convergence of youth and young adults to inspire innovation. The hub is designed to attract innovative youth, entrepreneurial projects and connect them to the global village of opportunities including social investors.
Sahara Group remains committed to supporting and inspiring innovative ideas /initiatives by creating fit for purpose opportunities in emerging markets.