OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Bridging the Gap Between Social Enterprise in Nepal and Community Organization in Haiti

This project will strengthen social enterprises and community organizations in the global south through partnership between Haiti and Nepal.

Photo of Janet Ilott
37 15

Written by

*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional insights gathered from Beneficiary Feedback in this field

The user experience map details the experience of 2 users - Amit in Nepal and Jean in Haiti. Amit launches an SME & is integrated into the I-Cube program for small businesses. This program is then adapted to CBOs in Haiti. Jean launches a CBO and joins the Tab Wond program for CBOs. Amit's company benefits tremendously from the intense I-Cube SME incubation program, while Jean's CBO becomes sustainable, diversifies its programming and benefits more users through the Tab Wond initiative.

Why does the target community define this problem as urgent and/or a priority? How is the idea leveraging and empowering community assets to help create an environment for success? (1000 characters)

Target communities define this problem as urgent as:
In Nepal: young entrepreneurs are excluded from growth opportunities, contributing to Nepal's ongoing brain drain.
In Haiti: local CBOs have the desire to impact people's lives and are best placed to do so, but lack skills and are excluded from funding opportunities.
The project will rely on community assets, leveraging and empowering them as follows:
(i) Nepal - the project will continue to take place at Nepal Communitere, and use human-centered design for incubation of SMEs tailored to the local context. The curriculum will be exported and adapted to Haiti, building a bridge between the 2 countries.
(ii) Haiti: the project will take place at Haiti Communitere, a resource center supporting local CBOs since the 2010 earthquake. Future Generations Haiti (local NGO) and HC will adapt and deliver the Nepalese SME training so it applies to local CBOs in Haiti.

How does the idea fit within the larger ecosystem that surrounds it? Urgent needs are usually a symptom of a larger issue that rests within multiple interrelated symptoms - share what you know about the context surrounding the problem you are aiming to solve. (500 characters)

This project fits in the larger ecosystem as in Nepal: 1,300 people leave Nepal daily seeking education/employment opportunities. The project provides incubation space to young people's ideas so they are not lost to migration.
In Haiti : Thousands of CBOs operate, however their impact is limited as local CBOs lack skills needed to effectively implement projects. This project will alter both ecosystems by empowering organizations and SMEs to develop and implement better initiatives

How does the idea affect or change the fundamental nature of the larger ecosystem that surrounds it (as described above) in a new and/or far-reaching way? (500 characters)

This project affects the larger ecosystem in a new way by leveling the playing field in Haiti and Nepal. Incubation in Nepal is giving SMEs skills needed to flourish and compete. Local CBOs in Haiti are often overlooked in favor of larger, international counterparts. Adaptation of the incubation program in Nepal to one that will work with organizations in Haiti will give local Haitian CBOs the skills, space & confidence to implement better projects, access more funding and have a greater impact.

What will be different within the target community as a result of implementing the idea? What is the scope and scale of that difference? How long will it take to see that difference and how will it be sustained beyond BridgeBuilder support? (500 characters)

There will be greater prosperity, peace and a better planet. In Nepal, SMEs already enjoy more prosperity due to this project. In Haiti, stronger CBO projects will lead to stability and a cleaner environment, improving the environment for economic activity. The difference will be immediate and large-scale as 300,000 people in Cite Soleil receive better services. It will be sustainable as knowledge gained remains in the community, project events generate income and we continue to seek funding.

How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

During this phase, Haiti Communitere learned from Nepal Communitere by sharing project documents and lessons learned. In Nepal, over the past year the I-Cube SME incubation program has evolved to better respond to incubation needs of small and medium-sized enterprises. The program has allowed SMEs to grow ideas, become sustainable and create jobs. During this phase NC shared lessons learned i.e. need to teach interactively by dealing with tangible issues relating directly to SMEs' business, need for 1-to-1 accounting training, need to audit organizations during the recruitment phase.
In Haiti, user research was conducted prior to the launch of this call for proposals as the CBOs we work with have repeatedly expressed their desire to receive incubation and training. This call was a good fit for a need HC was already aware of. During this phase, CBO leaders reaffirmed their enthusiasm towards participating in this program and working with and learning from SME counterparts in Nepal.

What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (You can attach a timeline or GANTT chart in place of a written plan, if desired.) (1000 characters)

Key steps for project implementation - Year 1:
Nepal :Continued intensive work with SMEs who have completed the 1-year program; program expansion outside Kathmandu (and bridge built between urban-rural areas)
Haiti - Phase I : Adapt SME curriculum to CBOs. This phase involves: Nepal-Haiti knowledge transfer; adapting curriculum to different end users; NC-HC collaboration, curriculum sharing and best practices. Sharing/ idea exchange between the 2 organizations will continue throughout the project.Duration : 3 mos.
Phase II : Identification of 20 CBOs with interest & capacity to participate. We will perform organizational audits to determine what skills gaps these organizations have. Duration : 3 mos.
Phase III : Implementation : Monthly training sessions take place covering items such as team management, strategic planning and financial management. Ongoing m&e throughout the project.
Year 2: implementation of project changes, continued work with SMEs/CBOs , final m&e.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (Feel free to share an organizational chart or visual description of your team). (500 characters)

This project will be implemented in partnership between Nepal Communitere and Haiti Communitere, organizations with deep roots in their community. In Nepal the project will involve continuation of the I-Cube business incubation program. In Haiti, HC will collaborate with Future Generations Haiti, another local organization, to deliver an incubation program for CBOs that incorporates FGH's seed-scale methodology which involves empowering and leveraging local resources.

What aspects of the idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (500 characters)

Potential Bridgebuilder funds would support all aspects of this project including (i) continuation of the Nepal Communitere business incubator for two years and expansion to rural areas; (ii) Phase I in Haiti - adaptation of the Nepal incubator curriculum to a training curriculum for NGOs in Haiti; (iii) Phase II in Haiti - identification of CBOs; and (iv) Phase III in Haiti - Implementation. Funds will also cover monitoring and evaluation.

In preparation for our Expert Feedback Phase: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in your project? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea and needs.

1. In your opinion, what would be the most important considerations in adapting a business incubator program for use for NGOs and/or other non-profits?
2. How do you build a base of local experts to help adapt and co-create incubation curriculum? What do you do if there is a lack of local experts? Can we create cross-cultural expert teams to upskill local experts?
3. What are some business models to help make this incubation model financially self-sustainable, especially if users cannot pay for the incubation program? These are not private companies where you can take equity or invest in, so you cannot take a fee for helping them secure investment. There is unfortunately also a culture of dependency in Haiti, which has been encouraged by some larger NGOs and donors. HC works hard to combat this, however this culture makes it challenging for small organizations to understand the need to pay for things particularly if there is the perception of external involvement.

Final Updates (*Please do not complete until we reach the Improve Phase*): How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

During the beneficiary and expert feedback phases Nepal Communitere and Haiti Communitere were able to exchange knowledge and HC began learning from NC's experiences over the past year. We began to envision how we might adapt their SME curriculum to the needs of Haitian CBOs. We spoke with our beneficiaries and learned more about their need to hone their skills and started to develop criteria local CBOs would need to meet to participate in this project. During the expert feedback phase we researched online sources of information (eg. trainings) and found several sources in addition to those provided by the expert. For example Changebetter, a virtual incubator for training non-profits and The NGO Academy (offers free courses and webinars). We have a consultation with the Taproot Foundation to learn about support of local CBOs. We began exploring the idea of user fees with our beneficiaries and increased the project from one year to two due to our knowledge of Haiti and Nepal.

During this Improve Phase, please use the space below to add any additional information to your proposal.

This project will bridge peace, prosperity and planet. In Nepal, the focus will be on bridging peace and prosperity while in Haiti, the project will bridge all three aspects.
In Nepal, the country's peace and prosperity is affected by massive immigration due to people's search for economic opportunity on two levels : (i) migration from rural areas to the city; (ii) leaving the country for jobs abroad. NC's ongoing SME incubation project is already encouraging further peace and prosperity as it combats this phenomenon by fostering SMEs, increasing economic opportunity and subsequently encouraging greater peace and stability. This project will extend those benefits beyond Kathmandu to rural areas and will thus also bridge the urban-rural divide.
Haiti is a fragile country with little economic opportunity, poor services and a devastated environment. The country's fragility was demonstrated during this project's beneficiary feedback phase as anger at poverty, poor services and increasing prices boiled over into riots. This project will bridge peace, prosperity and planet as follows :
Peace : by providing CBOs with stronger skills Bridging the Gap Between Social Enterprise in Nepal and Community Organization in Haiti will enable community leaders to promote peace, deliver better projects and subsequently improve services in their areas. The organizations we will work with focus on issues such as education, healthcare, hygiene and livelihoods – services that contribute to a peaceful, stable environment. As they improve their services, this will contribute to stability and help build peace.
Prosperity : Peace and stability lead to prosperity by attracting investment. Effective projects also have a cascade effect on the community and the economy. HC's work and support has already enabled many organizations to provide more employment.
Planet : The environment in Haiti is devastated by deforestation and trash. Bridging the Gap Between Social Enterprise in Nepal and Community Organization in Haiti will empower CBOs such as RAVAGEP, which works on environmental projects in Cite Soleil, to expand and strengthen their projects. Political instability and poverty make environmental action impossible. By improving the area's peace and prosperity the project will also contribute to a framework within which environmental projects are feasible.

Methodology : In Nepal, this project will continue an ongoing initiative and expand in rural areas while in Haiti this project will have 3 phases of: (i) project adaptation, (ii) CBO recruitment and iii)implementation.
Phase I: Adaptation : The adapted curriculum will incorporate aspects of business into local CBOs and offer capacity-building support within the CBO model. The reason for this is generating their own revenue will allow CBOs to become more self-sufficient and independent economically; at the same time it is unrealistic to believe these organizations can become entirely self-supporting within the environment of Haiti. The adapted curriculum will also focus on issues of leadership, increased efficiency, financial skills, strategic planning and monitoring and evaluation. 

Knowledge Exchange Between Haiti and Nepal: This will be an important component of this project. It will be an opportunity to build links and allow two countries of the global south to learn from one another as follows :

1. Sharing I-Cube curriculum. NC & HC have already shared this curriculum and this sharing will continue throughout the project.
2. Transfer of expertise NC- HC  as follows :
i) regular online meetings: We will organize a minimum of six online exchanges between program leaders in Haiti and Nepal. These exchanges will be conducted in English and may require interpretation on one or both sides, depending on the language level of participants.
3. Learning exchange trips between Haiti and Nepal. While a lot of information can be exchanged through online forums, we believe an in-person exchange will prove incredibly valuable to the participants in this program.

This project will have a long-term impact on the larger ecosystem as in Nepal, it levels the playing field between SMEs and larger companies by providing entrepreneurs with vital skills and ensures greater economic opportunities in rural areas. In Haiti it will empower local CBOs to play a greater role in development of their communities and country.
Project sustainability: This is a 2-year project but we aim to continue beyond that. We will achieve financial stability by : (i) introducing tailored user fees for services inline with CBOs' ability to pay (ii) events : Monthly networking events will generate revenues we will direct into the project (e.g. beverage sales,sponsorship). (iii) other donors : NC is funded by DFID. We will reach out to donors e.g. USAID, the InterAmerican Foundation. HC also has individual donors & supporters who will be interested in participating and supporting this project.

Note that you may also edit any of your previous answers within the proposal. Here is a great place to note any big final changes or iterations you have made to your proposal below:

We have made a couple of changes to this proposal:
1. On further discussion with Nepal Communitere it was decided that, instead of simply continuing to work with SMEs in Kathmandu, this project will allow for the ongoing initiative's expansion into rural areas. Nepal is not only experiencing a drain of young people exiting the country, but also within as youth from rural areas migrate to the cities. This initiative will thus help to encourage economic development in rural areas and will further promote peace and prosperity in these areas.
2. Two-year initiative. We initially proposed this project as a one-year initiative. However, following the expert feedback and on further reflection we felt it better to propose this project as a two-year project. The longer timeframe will allow the project time to gain more traction in both rural areas of Nepal and amongst CBOs in Haiti and will encourage a greater exchange of knowledge to take place between the two countries, particularly given the technological and social challenges they each face.
3. Site visits: We also incorporated two site visits: one visit by HC representatives to NC at the beginning of the project and a visit by NC representatives to HC after the one year mark. This will enable HC representatives to learn about the incubation program and will allow NC representatives to see how their initiative is being adapted to the context of Haitian CBOs. We anticipate that these visits will represent an important learning opportunity for two countries in the global south. The impact of these visits will be furthered by regular communications between the two countries including videos calls and we will aim to enable project participants on both sides to meet in person and virtually, get to know one another and exchange ideas.

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The project idea is to adapt a model that is providing incubation to small, social enterprises in Nepal and tailor it to provide support to local, community-based organisations in Haiti. In Nepal this project works with six teams of small entrepreneurs. In Haiti it will work intensively with six organizations and more broadly with 14 organizations. The project will address all three challenges and construct bridges on several levels: geographic between two countries and social between small enterprises and community-based organizations.
It will work as follows:
Nepal- Continuation of incubation for SMEs: This will allow the project to be expanded into rural areas. The project will continue to focus on IDEO's human centered development concepts and will include lessons learned over the past year.
Haiti: Launch of incubation project for community-based organizations as follows:
Phase One - Adaptation of Curriculum: As mentioned, Nepal Communitere is using a curriculum focused on IDEO's human-centered design. This curriculum is applicable to community-based organizations as they know their community needs but need to prototype this and bring solutions to life. Other topics will include project management, basic finance, HR and strat
Phase Two- Identification of CBOs: We will identify six organizations to work with intensively and 14 organizations to work with more broadly. The six organizations will be identified based on factors including: community involvement, annual operating budget and gender.
Phase Three-Implementation: We will help the social entrepreneurs and CBOs to improve their initiatives.
The anticipated results of this project are:
A project that works in one country of the global south will be successfully adapted to the context of another.
Six groups of small entrepreneurs in Nepal will continue to receive incubation.
A total of 20 community-based organizations in Haiti will deliver more effective community projects

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

More than 300,000 people will directly/ indirectly benefit from this project. This project will have several groups of beneficiaries, as follows:
(i) Nepal: This project will directly benefit six teams of social entrepreneurs as it will mean that they receive continued training and support. It will indirectly benefit the individuals who work for these organizations, through continued employment.
(ii) Haiti: This project will directly benefit 20 community leaders by providing them with intensive training. However, it will indirectly benefit more than 3,000 people who receive programs and services run by these organizations, as well as the estimated 300,000 people who live in Cite Soleil. They will benefit through an overall improvement to programs and services in their community.
In both countries, the primary beneficiaries will be young people. Nepal Communitere works with Nepalese entrepreneurs in their twenties while Haiti Communitere also works with young people.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

This project is unique on several levels. In Nepal the project is unique as it provides incubation for small entrepreneurs, an identified gap that no one else was addressing previously. In Haiti, there are incubation hubs forming but they are aimed at the middle to upper class. None are focusing on the small, community-based organizations we aim to support. Overall this project is unique because it aims to bridge the gap between two very different countries and take a solution that is working well for small entrepreneurs in one country and adapt it to provide support for community-based organizations in another.
Unique Advantages: Both Nepal Communitere and Haiti Communitere have unique advantages in implementing this project because of their strong knowledge of the communities involved. NC has been working intensively with small entrepreneurs for a year while HC has partnered with organizations in Cite Soleil for the past eight years.
Both NC and HC are addressing an unmet need.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Haiti Communitere and Nepal Communitere are both members of Communitere International, a group of organizations that aims to create dynamic, collaborative hubs in disaster-affected communities that make a powerful impact by giving individuals the means to become self-reliant. Web sites: https://haiti.communitere.org/ and https://nepal.communitere.org/

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

We created this project because the communities involved in both countries have asked for it. In Nepal, this project is meeting the needs of small entrepreneurs, a group that was previously overlooked. It is essential to encourage young entrepreneurs in Nepal as currently 1,500 people are leaving the country every day and there is 40% unemployment. In Haiti, this project meets the needs of local community-based organizations a group that has been overlooked in relief and development efforts.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

This project bridges all three topic areas as follows:
In Nepal, the project will primarily bridge prosperity and planet. Prosperity is addressed through this project as lack of investment in small entrepreneurs means there is substantial brain drain and investment in small businesses will help retain talent. Planet because the entrepreneurs receiving training through this project are investigating business opportunities focused on environmental issues.
In Haiti, all 3 issues are addressed and impact one another. Peace is affected by tensions in Cite Soleil due to poor living conditions. Political unrest eliminates prosperity as companies have fled and factories closed. Planet is impacted by deforestation as people use charcoal for cooking. Trash thrown in the streets clogs the sewage system and causes flooding. This project will tailor the Nepalese model of providing incubation for small entrepreneurs and strengthen organizations that are working to address these vital issues.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

HC and NC believe communities are not passively waiting for outsiders to come and help. We believe communities are actively constructing their own futures. That’s why we do not “intervene” in communities but, instead, provide a space where communities can realize their own plans and choose from a variety of tools and models that we help make available.
Multiple partners and communities are engaged in this project. They are as follows:
Nepal Communitere is working with business consultants, business consulting groups and angel investors.
Haiti Communitere will collaborate with Future Generations Haiti, an organization located in Cite Soleil that is specialized in delivering training and promotes community-driven change and reinforces community strengths.
The project will also involve working with the 14 organizations who are members of Haiti Communitere's ongoing Tab Wond initiative. The Tab Wond provides a forum for community-based organizations to network and share best practices.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Both communities face obstacles but have tremendous strengths. In Nepal there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to do something on your own and for yourself. There is also a mindset to see opportunity in scarcity. In Haiti local CBOs come from Cite Soleil, an area marred by violence with little infrastructure. Cite Soleil's greatest strength is its people and this project will involve working with community leaders who are spearheading a movement towards positive change.

Geographic Focus

This idea will target two areas of the world: Kathmandu, Nepal and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

This is a 12-month project. During the course of these twelve months, the project will continue to provide incubation space for Nepali entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, during the first three months of this project, the curriculum will be adapted and tailored to the Haitian context. During the following nine months of this project, the curriculum will be delivered to Haitian CBOs and we will work intensively with them to build on their current skills and abilities.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

If Yes, how has project idea changed, grown, or evolved since last year? (2,000 characters)

N/A

37 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Kathleen Rommel
Team

Hi there,

What an interesting program! It's so interesting to bridge two countries that are so far away from each other, but can really compliment each other. I'd love to hear more about the origin of this—were there any other countries you were considering, either at launch and/or as you look to scale?

Kathleen

Photo of Janet Ilott
Team

Dear Kathleen

Thank you so much for your comments. Haiti Communitere and Nepal Communitere are both part of Communitere International, which provides innovative disaster response based on the principles of the response, relief, and renewal. Haiti Communitere was launched following the 2010 earthquake and has evolved to provide response to ongoing needs in Haiti, while Nepal Communitere was launched following the 2015 earthquake there. When HC was launched in 2010, this was an entirely unique idea. HC and NC operate as separate organizations, however this project will build a bridge between Nepal and Haiti, allowing the two countries to learn a lot from one another. I hope that answers your question!

Photo of Kathleen Rommel
Team

Hi Janet,

Yes! This makes a lot of sense. Thanks for following up, and keep up the great work!

View all comments