In October 2020, Sahara Foundation conceptualized the Sahara Impact Fund (“SIF”)- a strategic partnership between Sahara Foundation, Ford Foundation, LEAP Africa and Impact Investment Foundation created to support the generation of innovative solutions which will increase access to clean energy, promote sustainable environments all targeted at accelerating attainment of the SDGs in a manner that results in measurable social impact.
Born out of the Group’s desire to marry scalable impact with profit in the areas of access to energy and sustainable environments, the Sahara Impact Fund (“SIF”) aims to encourage and support the generation of ideas and leveraging the strengths of various partners and developing self- sustaining businesses with a focus on wealth creation and preservation by leveraging on a strong network of committed stakeholders.
The SIF application was open to Innovators, social enterprises and entrepreneurs in Africa from Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d‘Ivoire, Kenya, Guinea, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia who must have been in existence for at least one year and demonstrate sustainability and scalability. After a month long call for application, 115 applications were received and later shortlisted 10 through a 3 stage shortlisting process leveraging the expertise of in- house Subject Matter Experts.
Over the one- year period, the ten (10) social innovator fellows from Cameroon, Rwanda, Nigeria and Malawi were taken through blended capacity building sessions in the form of workshops, webinars, immersion sessions, job shadow programmes, facility tours, cohort meetings and mentoring sessions. Specifically, the Sahara Impact Fund Fellows took part in 20 Social Entrepreneurship workshops, 5 Social Impact webinar sessions, mentorship sessions, 4 group coaching calls by SMEs, One-on-one strategy and finance sessions and Fire chat sessions. During this period, ten (10) employee volunteers served as mentors to these social entrepreneurs over a 6- month period.
On October 7, 2021, the Foundation held the graduation ceremony recognizing outstanding fellows at the close out session for the inaugural cohort of the Sahara Impact Fund in an event themed “Moving from Hype to Impact- Youth in Action”. As we celebrate our outgoing fellows during this year’s awards and graduation ceremony, we recognize their unorthodox innovations across the continent.
Amidst the tough conditions in 2020 and gradual recovery in 2021 from the lock- down occasioned by the pandemic, young people across the continent ran their social enterprises and implemented projects with enthusiasm. An SIF fellow said during the graduation ceremony ‘doing good does you good” and this is absolutely true. Today, we celebrate the achievements of our finalists and congratulate them on the wonderful and life changing experience over the fellowship period in-spite of the pandemic.
Sahara Group and the Sahara Foundation remain committed to supporting and inspiring innovative ideas /initiatives by creating fit for purpose opportunities in emerging markets.
To stay updated with the Foundation’s activities, please follow us on social media @iamsaharafdn
Sahara Foundation, Bringing benevolence to life