Cycle 2 Projects

Have a look at our projects for this cycle.

Focus: Developing a social impact measurement system to evaluate a collective lending platform

Brazil: Firgun

Firgun is a young startup in Brazil with the mission of easing social inequality by investing in micro-entrepreneurs. The idea originates from the extremely high interest rates and discriminatory environment for them as well as the extensive bureaucratic procedures for loan applications. Through a collective lending platform, Firgun connects these micro-entrepreneurs who need capital to run their business with people (called Firgun Heroes) who have the financial ability to invest. Firgun works with larger organisations as ‘partners’ to help them evaluate the micro-entrepreneurs that fit their parameters, as well as to help micro-entrepreneurs file applications for loans.

 

In this project, you will develop and refine key indicators that measure Firgun’s ‘social impact’, a fairly new concept in Brazil. You will quantitatively and qualitatively analyse changes in the quality of life of micro-entrepreneurs as a result of the loans they received from Firgun. This project also further involves evaluating the replicability of the social impact measurement system. Firgun hopes to use this evaluation system to both review their past loans, as well as improve their marketing strategy aimed at the investors.

Focus: Refining and expanding on agricultural loan product

Haiti: FINCA HTI

​Founded in 1989, FINCA Haiti aims to alleviate poverty through its range of group and individual loan products to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises and agricultural borrowers. As the second-largest microfinance institution in Haiti, FINCA Haiti has more than 250 staff operating through eight branches across Haiti. The agricultural loan product offered by FINCA Haiti forms the smallest part of its portfolio, and needs to be reviewed and better adapted to fit the changing needs of its clients.

 

In this project, you will research on similar agricultural loan products or risk mitigation measures available in the Haitian and global market. You will then consider if there are aspects of these which can be incorporated into the current agricultural product to increase its reach and female uptake. You will also explore the possibility of expanding the agricultural product to other regions of Haiti, by evaluating their needs and preferences.

*This project is in its second phase to build on the work that has been done so far. If you are a native/ fluent French speaker, have experience in risk mitigation, expansion strategy or product development, and will be available to travel to Haiti in Mar-Apr this year - we want you!!!! Any experience with or interest in rural development, microfinance, disaster risk reduction, agriculture or report-writing is also welcome. We are looking for 1 team leader and 3 team members to commit from now until May. You will be shadowing the first team to build on the secondary research that has been done so far, before conducting primary research in Haiti through focus group discussions and key informant interviews.

Please drop us an email at odc@oxfordstudentfoundation.co.uk to enquire about this specific project if you might be keen.

Focus: Expanding the strategy of a project which uses blockchain technology to encourage global giving

Chile: HeartCoin

HeartCoin is a non-profit organisation that was founded in Chile in 2017. With a focus on global giving and using Blockchain technology as a way through which people can do social good, HeartCoin is keen to operate within a market that has not been explored much in South America and most parts of the world thus far. Since its establishment, HeartCoin has partnered with government funds and private companies for assistance to develop the project. HeartCoin uses “tokens” that can be exchanged between NGOs, foundations and volunteers through a digital platform. As there is currently no common platform for volunteers, NGOs and private companies to interact in Chile yet, HeartCoin aims to fulfill this gap in the market by providing such a medium for the three stakeholders to build working relationships.

 

In this project, you will work on HeartCoin’s business model. Since blockchain technology is extremely new in Latin America, HeartCoin is consider starting with a mixture of tokenization and non-tokenization schemes. You will help to review and refine this idea, aiming to to increase outreach and better incorporate the users’ experience into the designing of the platform.

Focus: Developing strategies for expanding an environmental awareness programme in Java

Indonesia: Greenwave NGO

Greenwave NGO is a waste management and environmental preservation organization operating in Pacitan Regency, located in East Java, Indonesia. This project is focused on implementing the “Environmental Worker Social Community” (EWSC) programme, one of Greenwave NGO’s recent initiatives, across the Tulakan district of the Pacitan Regency. The aim of the programme is to establish environmentally conscious communities in schools, businesses, and tourist areas across every village of the Tulakan district, with a target audience of women, students, and productive people aged 18-40.

 

In this project, you will assist Greenwave NGO by conducting environmental and eco-preneural research and evaluating the current pilot implementation of the EWSC programme in the Tulakan district. This is all with a view towards developing a feasible working plan for the next project, which will be implemented in the other 11 districts of the Pacitan Regency. In the long-term, Greenwave NGO hopes to take learning and experience from these projects to expand best practices across the entire Republic of Indonesia.

Focus: Developing recommendations on increasing financial inclusion for women in rural Nigerian communities.

Standard Microfinance Bank Ltd. (SMFB) started operations on November 30, 1992 as a community bank in Jimeta-Yola of Adamawa State. Although Standard MFB has one of the largest portfolios of smallholder farmers in all of Nigeria, women comprise only 15-20% of all clientele. According to the World Bank, just 5% of farmland is owned by women. In northern Nigeria, cultural tradition excludes women from farming, and in an environment in which farming is the main economic activity, this has deprived women of entrepreneurial skills and basic financial literacy.

 

In this project, you will perform research on the best practices of other organisations that have addressed financial inclusion for women in the region and evaluate the financial savings and credit needs of women involved in Self Help Groups (SHGs), all with a view towards developing clear recommendations on how to increase financial inclusion and better engage with women in SHG members. In addition, you may provide Standard MFB with recommendations on making existing products and processes more women-friendly.

Focus: Reviewing a training programme empowering widowed mothers in Iraq to start sustainable micro-businesses.

The Lady Fatemah Charitable Trust (LFT) was established in 1997 in the United Kingdom to create opportunities for families in need through education, healthcare, and microfinance projects. Whilst the LFT has collectively disbursed over £20 million through its projects spread across 16 countries, this project specifically assists its work with widowed mothers in Karbala, Iraq. Following decades of war, terror attacks, and a brutal regime, over 2 million widowed mothers struggle to put food on the table for their children. The LFT is running an end-to-end programme in partnership with a local training institute to skill up these women, enabling them to sew or undertake beauty treatments to launch their own businesses kick-started by micro-loans from the LFT.

 

In this project, you will review this training programme. You will assess its strengths and weaknesses, generate recommendations, and aid the process of finding partnerships or investments to cover startup capital costs as well as finance future growth.

Focus: Developing a method to measure and manage an organisation’s social return on investment

Burkina Faso: Nafa Naana

Nafa Naana is an organisation set up by Entrepreneurs du Monde in 2012 with the social mission of promoting and distributing clean and affordable energy solutions to low-income households in Burkina Faso. Traditional cooking methods release toxic smokes, contribute to global warming, and tend to constitute a disproportionately large expenditure by the most economically vulnerable. As a result, Nafa Naana selects and promotes gas stoves and solar lamps, distributing them to the very poorest in Burkina Faso. Nafa Naana has also created a network of franchised shopkeepers, raising awareness and setting up financial schemes at all levels of the production and distribution chain.

 

As a growing organisation, Nafa Naana seeks to effectively quantify and communicate its social impact with different stakeholders. In this project, you will help Nafa Naana develop a method to measure and manage its social return on investment (SROI), allowing Nafa Naana to draw conclusions from their data and attract more investors.

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