Winning without winning: How one Project Inspire finalist became an example of hope

Winning without winning: How one Project Inspire finalist became an example of hope

While everyone enters Project Inspire with the hope of winning, only one non-profit or social enterprise receives the US$25,000 cash grant. But as 2012 finalist Love Mercy Foundation explains, Project Inspire can offer big benefits, whether you take out the top prize or not.

“When we entered, we didn’t think we’d get very far, so we were shocked when we were named as finalists,” says Caitlin Barrett, Operations Manager, Love Mercy Foundation. Founded in 2008, the Australian non-profit organisation works to help Northern Ugandans live an empowered life through sustainable development projects, which enable the potential of local communities.

“We were given a large grant by a member of the public after they saw the video we submitted to Project Inspire. We were very grateful to receive that donation, Cents for Seeds was funded in 2013 following this grant,” says Caitlin.

Cents for Seeds, a microenterprise agriculture program, aims to reduce poverty in Uganda. During 25 years of civil war, communities in the north were displaced, some for more than a decade. When people returned to their homes, their previously thriving agricultural lifestyles had been reduced almost to nothing. Cents for Seeds provides a loan of seeds, a hand-held gardening tool and education workshops for women, which allows communities to step up out of the poverty cycle.

“This year, we’re helping to build a storehouse so participants can store their crop into the dry season. They can then attract a wholesale buyer who buys produce in bulk, which provides the women with a larger cash injection, and enables them to both provide for their families and continue to empower their communities.”

As Love Mercy Foundation grows, they’ve also attracted government support. “We’ve just been made a Deductible Gift Recipient by the Australian government, which means donations from the public can now be claimed as a tax deduction,” says Caitlin. “We’re very excited about this as it has the potential to greatly increase our donations.”

It’s this drive and passion, which saw Love Mercy Foundation named as a Project Inspire finalist two years ago. “We were so proud to be a part of Project Inspire, our finalist trophy sits on our office desk where we can look at it each day,” says Caitlin. “We would advise this year’s entrants to dream big and, if you believe in what you’re doing, expect good things to come. Give it your best shot!”

 

The Love Mercy Foundation exists to see Northern Ugandans live an empowered life, free to claim their basic human rights to a secure food supply, income, education, health, and equality, through sustainable development projects based on enabling the potential of local communities. Find out more: www.lovemercyfoundation.org.

Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World is a joint initiative from the Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard. Project Inspire offers 18-35 year olds worldwide a chance to win a US$25,000 grant for an existing social enterprise or non-profit organisation, which benefits women and girls in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and/or Africa. Find out more: http://projinspire.com/.

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