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Experimentation Platform for the Last Mile

Finding what works to reduce poverty and protect the planet by engaging grassroots organizations and local communities in experimentation.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The traditional delivery of development assistance makes it difficult for development sector organisations and social enterprises to test new approaches to poverty reduction. As a sector we often commit to mid or long term programs designs without first collecting evidence and knowing whether the intervention is having the intended impact. This can lead to programs and investments that are producing sub-optimal results.

There is a need to develop a culture of experimentation among the grassroots initiatives to test innovative ideas and approaches across different contexts. Our project proposes the creation of an Experimentation Platform that will bring together and strengthen the capacity of Indonesian social enterprises and non-profits working on issues of prosperity and planet. We will partner with organizations engaging in finding solutions for the most underserved populations, ensuring they are able to further implement products and approaches that promote lasting community-led social change.

Encouraging a culture of rapid prototyping for products and approaches designed in close collaboration with the local communities, Kopernik’s Experimentation Platform will promote the following:

1. Capacity building activities and guided support in experimentation with the goal of finding the most effective solutions in the topics of prosperity and planet including support in:
- formulating and designing the experiment;
- running the experiment including assistance in baseline and follow-up data collection as well as data analysis;
- access to specialists in experimentation, including a manager as well as engineers with experience in rapid prototyping and testing with the last mile communities;

2. Online platform that will showcase (a) best examples of social experimentation and innovation in Indonesia; (b) key resources in prototype design and lean experimentation; (c) portfolio of the designs and results of participating organizations’ experiments.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Focus on the Last Mile
The program will be implemented in partnership with selected grassroots organizations and social enterprises working on social and environmental issues for and with last mile communities. ‘Last mile’ is a term we use to describe underserved communities who often live without access to basic services such as electricity, running water, education and health care or face significant social or environmental injustice. The focus will generally be on people of productive age that work as farmers, fishermen or derive income from other activities relating to biodiversity. There will also be projects specifically focused on economic empowerment of women.

Partner Selection
Kopernik will select 10-12 Indonesian grassroots social enterprises and non-profits committed to finding effective solutions for last mile communities to participate in the program.
(More details on the partners can be found in the Partner section below.)

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

While Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) are still the gold standard for previously unproven interventions they are time-consuming and expensive; leaner research methods are more appropriate for early stage interventions and new poverty reduction approaches typically made possible by technological advances. Kopernik’s lean rapid experimentation approach is complementary to other methods and builds a much needed pipeline of promising solutions that deserve larger-scale testing and exposure within the development sector. Currently few social projects have the capacity and funding to experiment with new solutions and test out innovative approaches. This Experimentation Platform would aim to bridge the gap in the skills and funding and bring numerous grassroots enterprises and institutions together to find what works for their communities.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

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

Kopernik is finding what works to reduce poverty by experimenting with potential solutions that address common challenges facing people living in the last mile.
https://kopernik.info

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.

Toshi Nakamura and Ewa Wojkowska founded Kopernik in 2010 after wanting to find a more effective approach to poverty reduction. Kopernik’s namesake, Nicolaus Copernicus, changed the way people see the world. Kopernik was founded on that same principle, seeking to challenge the status quo in the social sector and to find smarter, more effective solutions that solve persistent problems faced by those living in last mile communities.

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

First, the program will aim to address poverty and hunger, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #1 and #2, by improving the livelihoods of people and farmers in the last mile. In Indonesia, 11% of the population lives below the national poverty line (BPS,2016).

Second, the program will aim to address environmental protection, SDGs #13, 14 and 15. Indonesia occupies only 1.3% of the Earth’s land surface but it is one of the world’s richest in term of biodiversity (NTU Singapore). It is estimated that 40 million Indonesians living in rural areas rely on biodiversity for their subsistence needs (UN Environment). At the same time Indonesia is facing critical issues in overfishing, marine waste pollution and land overexploitation.

Third, the program will aim to address gender inequality, SDG #5. Women remain far from equal in many aspects of life. Only half of all women are in labor force, compared to more than three-quarters of all men (ICRW, 2016).

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

Kopernik will select 10-12 Indonesian grassroots social enterprises and non-profits committed to finding effective solutions for last mile communities. Our criteria will include partners who work in the areas of environment, economic empowerment, improved livelihoods and who are keen to conduct experiments ensuring that the end user is included in every stage of the design and experimentation phases.

Applications may include the following indicative examples (examples are based on Kopernik’s actual prior or current collaborations and experiments):

- Prosperity: Product, technology or approach that supports the work of smallholder farmers in improving agricultural yield;
- Planet and Prosperity: Product, technology or approach that enables communities to earn income from local waste recycling or biodiversity conservation;
- Prosperity and Planet: Product, technology or approach that creates income opportunities for women in distributing locally made reusable menstrual products.

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

While the exact strengths of the communities differ across the many islands and cultures of Indonesia, what the large majority of the communities living in its isolated and underserved areas share are:
- entrepreneurial spirit: the MSME sector accounts for 60% of Indonesian GDP (CNN, 2016)
- resilience and adaptability: Indonesia is prone to natural disasters and lacks access to the appropriate safety nets
- extensive knowledge of their environment including complex marine and land practices

Geographic Focus

Last mile areas of Indonesia

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

24 months, 3 phases.

Phase I (1- 6 months):
Select the partners of the Experimentation Platform;
Confer initial workshop and identify the experimentation areas.

Phase II (7- 18 months):
Conduct regular series of online webinars;
Host support calls as well as at least two visits to facilitate experiment set up, data collection and analysis.

Phase III (19-24 months):
Develop an online platform to share the results of the experiments;
Showcase the best examples through an event.

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

  • No

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