Fostering Ingenuity and Collaboration Through the Innovation Fund

The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened our resolve to innovate, to listen and learn with people and the community based partners we work with, and to strengthen practical supports that people with disabilities and vulnerable populations need to weather difficult times and thrive in good times.

The ‘Community Based Inclusive Development’ (CBID) Initiative at CBM launched an Innovation Fund in 2021. With this Fund, we want to celebrate and encourage the ingenuity of people we work with and the power of community. This fund provides a space for creative thinking about social innovation with practical impact on the lives of persons with disabilities in their communities.

This year, we asked our trusted partners and country offices to propose their innovative ideas and have chosen three winners. We aim to support innovative sparks and work collaboratively as we ‘learn by doing’. Our vision is of a space for creative thinking and investment in ideas which can be replicated or scaled up sustainably. The Fund operates using the principles of trust-based philanthropy.

Theme and winners

An annual theme is selected for the fund. The theme for 2021, Innovations in community support enhancing the participation of people with disabilities in family and community life was enthusiastically met with innovative ideas in our first year of this award. The chosen award-winning projects focus on a variety of different topics - 

1. Empowering and educating women and girls in Honduras

In Honduras, women with and without disabilities are defending the human rights of people with disabilities, thus contributing to inclusive community-based development. The project aims to achieve inclusion, equity and social cohesion for women and girls with disabilities, by strengthening their skills in the prevention of gender-based violence, domestic violence and harassment at school and discrimination.  

2. Addressing human rights violations in Ethiopia

This project focuses on swift and effective responses to human rights violations through information centres and systems for victims of abuse and discrimination. These centres will be equipped with technology and apparatus, training will be conducted, and awareness campaigns held. ​ The aim is to build an accountable and transparent society which responds to human-rights violations.  

Mohammed [project manager at CBM partner Bahir Dar] expressed appreciation for the catalytic effect of CBID in action in the communities in which the Bahir Dar office works and appreciation for this opportunity to try out this idea, which will respond to a real need in the project site and has the potential for scaling up nationally.
Karen Heinicke-Motsch, Global CBID Advisor at CBM.

3. Combatting violence through establishment of complaint mechanisms in Nepal

This project aims to ensure an inclusive, responsive, accountable municipal level justice system in Nepal. The project will address barriers to accessing the justice system for persons with disabilities through the establishment of complaint mechanisms.  

Access to justice is only possible when the judicial and semi-judicial committees are strengthened on inclusive and accessible justice delivery mechanism at the community level.
Man Bahadur Chaudhary, project coordinator.

Learning together

These projects are currently underway. The relationship between the themes on each continent provides a useful opportunity to share practices and brings additional value in relation to learning across countries. This initiative provides a safe space for peer reflection, sharing of learning and documentation of good practices and lessons learned.