Development organisation Sightsavers today launches a new funding initiative available to NGOs, academic institutions, the private sector and disabled people’s organisations, to help overcome challenges faced by the eye health and social inclusion sectors in developing countries.
The ‘Sightsavers Innovation Fund’ is offering funding for innovative approaches which illustrate ways to overcome barriers in the promotion of eye health, inclusive education and social inclusion. Winning initiatives will receive up to £75,000 each to implement the suggested proposal over 18 months. The learning from these projects will be shared widely within the development sector as well as being used to inform Sightsavers’ own programmes.
This is the first time that the organisation has funded programmes in this way and it is part of a three-year Programme Partnership Arrangement that Sightsavers holds with the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). Sightsavers is offering a total of £1 million for this round of funding.
Director of Policy and Strategic Programme Support for Sightsavers Dominic Haslam said: “We are really excited by this new approach, made possible by the strategic funding provided by the UK’s coalition government. Investigating new methods and practices is essential to improving the quality of Sightsavers’ work and the work of the wider development sector. We’re hoping that by bringing different organisations together to overcome these barriers, we can create lasting large-scale change.”
Sightsavers ran the Innovation Fund internally last year with the same goal of encouraging learning and innovation. The internal winning proposals included a three-year Bangladeshi disability-inclusive disaster management programme, providing an innovative solution to social inclusion challenges set by the Innovation Fund. The fledgling programme will look at how people with disabilities are affected by natural disasters, and seeks to incorporate their needs into wider disaster management plans.
Judges for the initiative include representatives from 3iE, DFID, and Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, said: “The UK Government is clear that innovation is vital in helping to lift more people out of poverty. This Sightsavers fund will see British aid used creatively and will provide a genuine opportunity for charities, the private sector and academic institutions to work together to solve key health and disability challenges.”
For further details on the challenges and on how to submit to the Innovation Fund, please visit www.sightsavers.org/innovationfund
All applicants must apply through Sightsavers’ website by 30 June 2012.
Notes to editors/
- Sightsavers is a registered UKcharity (Registered charity numbers 207544 and SC038110) that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people who are blind and visually impaired. www.sightsavers.org
- There are 39 million blind people in the world; 80% of all blindness can be prevented or cured.
- In the six decades since its foundation, Sightsavers has:
- Treated over 206.8 million people for blinding and potentially blinding conditions
- Carried out over 7.1 million operations to restore sight
- Trained almost 0.5 million primary eye care workers
- Carried out rehabilitation training to 91,000 people