The Elton John AIDS Foundation is accepting Letters of Intent for its 2011 open call for grant proposals.

For this funding round, as in previous years, EJAF invites LOIs from any proposed project that is aligned with EJAF grantmaking priorities including HIV programs focused on gay men’s health and rights, African American health and rights, youth mobilization for sexual health and rights, syringe access and harm reduction, prisoner re-entry, and scale-up of quality HIV programming in the southern United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Any nonprofit organization located in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Central and South America may apply for funding.

Unsolicited proposals should request no more than $50,000 during the calendar year of 2011.

Organizations must complete the online LOI by June 1, 2011. Organizations approved to submit a full application will be notified by July 15, 2011, with full online applications due by September 1, 2011.

Visit the EJAF Web site for complete program guidelines and the online LOI form:  http://www.ejaf.org/pages/grants/eligibility/index.html

Be Free Global is inviting applications for grants of $1,000 as part of its second annual micro-grant campaign. Be Free Global’s mission is to link action and ideas for children by providing alternative funding opportunities for creative projects worldwide that work to improve the lives of children of diverse backgrounds.

Each year, Be Free Global will select nonprofit organizations whose work positively impacts children in their immediate communities around the world to receive a micro-grant to fund a specific initiative.

As a start-up foundation, Be Free Global’s first initiative is to identify small and rising nonprofit organizations and encourage their participation in the foundation’s micro-grant program. The foundation’s vision is to link doers for children around the globe in a global conversation where ideas are exchanged and cross-cultural dialogue is fostered around shared solutions to common issues. Financial support for the grant program is provided through charitable donations and fundraising events.

In this grantmaking cycle, Be Free Global is seeking to fund a select group of not-for-profit organizations on several continents that focus on providing educational resources to displaced children and children otherwise disconnected from traditional public and private resources. Grant applications are invited from organizations that use innovation, creativity, and direct solutions to overcome the challenges facing children in their community.

Complete program information and the grant application form are available at the Be Free Global Web site.

A competition for businesses that improve the environments in which young children grow up

Organisation

BiD Network and the Bernard van Leer Foundation

Deadline

May 31, 2011

Region / Country

Brazil, India, Peru, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda

Summary of RFP

Submit a business plan that will improve the environment in which young children grow up and you could…
* Receive feedback on your plan and get access to useful business tools.
* Get support from a coach to write your business plan. Win a business trip for trainings, b2b, and investor meetings.
* Get access to over 100 investors interested in financing SMEs in developing countries.
* Get access to a network of more than 36,000 like-minded entrepreneurs, coaches, and investors.

Participation criteria:

1. Check the general participation criteria.
2. Your business should have a positive impact on young children by improving the physical environment in which they grow up. For example: cleaner energy, water and sanitation solutions, better housing, safer transport, safe places to play, etc.
3. Your country of business should be: Brazil, Peru, Tanzania, Uganda, India, or Turkey.

Submission Instructions

How to submit your business plan?

1. Become a member of the BiD Network. Register at the link below.
2. Create a profile in the BiD Network.
3. Fill in and submit an online application and answer the 15 questions about your business idea.

Submit your application for coaching services before:

Peru and Brazil: the 15th of March 2011
India, Tanzania, Turkey and Uganda: the 31st of March 2011

Please pay special attention to the timeline of the competition.

4. Submit a complete business plan. If you already have a complete business plan you can attach it to your application directly. You can also submit it once your application is accepted.

Make sure to submit your complete business plan before the competition deadlines:

Peru and Brazil: the 30th of April 2011
India, Tanzania, Turkey and Uganda: 31st of May 2011

What happens after you submit your plan?

1. Your plan will enter the assessment process. You will receive extensive feedback in each stage.
2. In the beginning of May they will select the finalists from Latin America. In June they will select the finalists from Africa, Turkey and India. The entrepreneurs will be invited for a business trip for trainings, b2b, and investor meetings in their respective regions.
3. Whether or not you become a finalist, all high quality business plans are eligible for the BiD Network Investor Matchmaking Services.

This business plan competition is a collaboration between Bernard van Leer and BiD Network.

For more information, please visit: http://www.bidnetwork.org/page/179834

The Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND) has opened the door for nominations for the AGFUND International Prize for Pioneering Human Development Projects. It invites the United Nations, international, and regional organizations as well as NGOs, ministries, public institutions, universities, and research centres worldwide to submit their nominations for the Prize amounting to $500 000 in its four Categories. The theme of the prize for the year 2011 is ‘Empowering Youth through Entrepreneurship and Job Opportunities.’ subdivided to match the four categories of the Prize are as follows:
•  First Category:
The role of international organizations in supporting the developing countries’ national policies and programs for empowering youth through entrepreneurships and job opportunities. (For projects implemented by UN, international or regional organizations)

• Second Category:
NGOs-led efforts to empowering youth through entrepreneurships and job opportunities. (For projects implemented by national NGOs).

• Third Category:
The governmental bodies’ efforts in adoption of pioneering entrepreneurships for empowering youth and increasing their job opportunities. ((For projects by government ministries and public institutions).

• Fourth Category:
Individual-led efforts to empowering youth through entrepreneurships and job opportunities. (For projects initiated, sponsored and/or implemented by individuals).

The Communications Department is receiving nominations at the address of the Arab Gulf Programme for Development: Riyadh 11415, P.O. Box 18371, KSA; or the email address prize@agfund.org. For more information and for downloading the nomination form, please visit the AGFUND website www.agfund.org . Nomination forms will be accepted until May 31st, 2011.

The projects submitted for the Prize are evaluated with high objectivity and transparency by juries chosen every year with regard to the experience and specialization relevant to the Prize theme. The number of projects which have won the Prize since its inception in 1999 amounts to 38 projects, implemented by UN and international organizations as well as NGOs and individuals. More than one hundred developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe have benefited from the prize.

The Prize Committee is composed a number of distinguished world personalities representing the world’s geographical regions. The Committee convenes annually to discuss the evaluation results of the nominated projects and to choose the winning projects. Prizes are presented in a ceremony to which representatives of the winning organizations, specialists and experts in the field of development, celebrities interested in development issues, and media representatives are invited.

By Kelly N Patterson

In my 15 years of working with and for a vast variety of non-profit, community-based organizations, on 4 different continents, never have I been alarmed about the legitimacy of an organization’s operations, or intentions. However, after my recent volunteer work experience with Operation Safe Drinking Water (OSDW), I feel it is my obligation, as a professional development consultant, to inform and encourage local Bocas residents, past and current supporters and donors of OSDW , as well as local authorities, especially the Panamanian Department of Health, to investigate into the operations of Operation Safe Drinking Water, because—don’t take my word for it, do your homework!—their message is misleading both to donors/supporters and more importantly, dangerous to the local Guaymi communities they supposedly serve.

Operation Safe Drinking Water, founded and operated by Joe Bass and his wife Maribel Gomez, states their mission is “to provide safe drinking water to children of the indigenous communities of Bocas del Toro.” They promote group “tours” (especially church and youth groups) to come down to Bocas del Toro, Panama, and collectively pay for water tanks and then, voluntarily install the tanks in (mostly) local schools. Recently, I was invited by Joe Bass to volunteer as OSDW Communications and Development Director. Even though I was never allowed to see their budget (which is a red flag in itself) of incoming and outgoing costs; they claim they live off of donations only.

Thus, it was a shock to me to learn that after installing rain-catchment water systems to some local schools, there was no pre or post water/sanitation preventative (basic primary health) education to complement the fact that these people do not have “safe water” in their homes; do not have bathrooms; and that “wash your hands” is a new idea in the area (there are no community health workers in this area.) Therefore, locals are given the false and potentially dangerous misinformation that if their children get safe drinking water at school then they would be healthy. This means that the installation of these “safe water” tanks is basically useless in preventing water-borne diseases, when in fact, the children return home daily to unsafe water usage and sanitation habits, and have little to no basic primary health care knowledge (I know because I visited six different communities and I personally interviewed local women, men and children.)

Therefore, it was an additional shock to me that I had to “debate” with the founder and director, Joe Bass, as to the necessity of implementing a pre, post, and continual basic primary health education (wash your hands after going to the bathroom; how to make a basic pit latrine; boil water; bleach treatment; re-hydration drink; etc.) along with water tank installation. This was one of many “battles” with the organization that I found disconcerting.

Secondly, Maribel Gomez, who has no credentials whatsoever in basic primary health care, much less as medical credentials, is billing herself as a “nurse” at a make-shift clinic the organization has set up, by donation, on their property in Punta Coco. In addition to the danger of having an untrained civilian administering medical advice and treatments unsupervised by a medical professional, Maribel reads from the Bible first—proselytizing before administering health care.

Not once in my preliminary interviews and discussions with this organization was any religion or proselytizing mentioned—so this was a double shock. I quickly learned that the organization was billing itself as some kind of “missionaries” to certain supporters and donors, and not to others. Perhaps someone should look into how the IRS feels about this? They are supposedly a registered 501c3.

I also question the statistics OSDW claims about reduction in water-borne diseases for several reasons: (1) Joe Bass does not speak any Spanish, much less any of the indigenous languages; (2) OSDW has never worked with the local Department of Health or had an independent medical research team collect this information; and (3) there is no existing evaluation and monitoring systems to actual collect this data. Thus, I suspect these statistics are pure fiction and when I suggested that we bring professionals in to collect and analyze this data, the idea was vehemently discouraged….hmmm.

Basically, every attempt I made to make these programs legitimate, effective, sustainable, and actually a public health service to the people they serve became a battle. In my experience, sadly, the founder and director, Joe Bass, was more concerned about grants, marketing group visits, and income generation (without allowing me to see the budget) than actually making his current programs effective. Needless to say, I was quickly fired.

Therefore, for the safety of the indigenous people this organization is “serving”, and for the many donors and supporters of Operation Safe Drinking Water, I beseech you to investigate for yourselves the legitimacy, quality and effectiveness of this organization and its operations. This is exactly this kind of organization that gives non-profits a bad reputation, but more importantly, they are not only misleading donors and supporters to believe their operations are legitimate, but this misinformation also can be dangerous for the local communities. Therefore, I sincerely hope local Bocas citizens, donor and supporters, as well as local Panamanian authorities, investigate the legitimacy of Operation Safe Drinking Water. And again, do not take my word for it—PLEASE do your own investigations.

**En mis 15 años de trabajar con una vasta variedad de organizaciones sin fines de lucro, basadas en comunidades, en 4 continentes diferentes, nunca había estado alarmada acerca de la legitimidad de las operaciones de una organización o de sus intenciones. Sin embargo, después de mi reciente experiencia de trabajo voluntario con Operation Safe Drinking Water (OSDW), siento que es mi obligación, como una profesional del area de consultas para desarrollo, el informar y animar a los residentes locales de Bocas, al igual que a las autoridades locales, en especial al Departamento de Salud de Panamá, el investigar las operaciones de OSDW, debido a que -y no me tomen solamente mi palabra, hagan su tarea!- el mensaje de ellos is engañoso para ambos donantes/benefactores y más importante, peligroso para las comunidades Guaymi locales que ellos supuestamente sirven.

OSDW, fundada y operada por Joe Bass y su esposa Maribel Gomez, indican que su misión es la de “proveer agua potable a los niños de las comunidades indígenas de Bocas del Toro.” Ellos promueven grupos de “tours” (especialmente de iglesias y grupos juveniles) para que vengan a Bocas del Toro, Panamá, y pagen de manera colectiva, tanques de almacenamiento y luego, voluntariamente, instalen dichos tanques en (mayormente), escuelas locales. Recientemente, yo fui invitada por Joe Bass para servir de voluntaria como la Directora de Desarrollo y Comunicaciones de OSDW. Aun cuando nunca se me permitió una inspección de su presupuesto (lo cual es una advertencia en rojo, por si mismo) de entradas y salidas; ellos dicen vivir de donaciones unicamente.

Aunque fue un shock para me, el hecho de que después de instalar sistemas de captura de lluvia en algunas escuelas locales, no había pre o post educación preventiva de agua/sanidad para complementar el hecho de que estas personas no tienen “agua potable” en sus hogares; no tienen baños; y que “lavar sus manos” es un concepto nuevo en el área (no hay trabajadores del departamento de salud en esta área.) Por lo tanto, a los locales se les esta dando la errónea y potencialmente peligrosa información de que si sus hijos reciben agua potable en la escuela, estarán sanos. Esto indica que la instalación de esos “tanques de agua potable” es básicamente inútil en la prevención de enfermedades de origen en el agua, cuando en realidad los niños regresan a diario a usos inadecuados de agua y hábitos sanitarios, y tienen poca o nulo conocimiento básico de cuidado de su salud (yo lo se, ya que visite 6 comunidades diferente, donde entreviste a hombres, mujeres y niños.)

Por esto mismo, fue un shock adicional el que yo tuviese que debatir con el fundador y director, Joe Bass, de la necesidad de implementar un pre, post y continua educación básica de salud (lavarse las manos después de ir al baño; como construir una letrina de hueco básica; hervir agua; tratamiento con cloro; bebida de re-hidratación; etc.) junto a la instalación de los tanques. Esta fue una de muchas “batallas” con la organización, que yo hallé desconcertantes.

Segundo, Maribel Gomez, quien no cuenta con ningún tipo de credenciales en cuidados de la salud primarios, mucho menos credenciales de medico, se está acreditando a si misma como “Enfermera” en una clínica temporal que la organización ha levantado, por donación, dentro de su propiedad en Punta Coco. En adición a tener a una civil sin preparación, administrando consejos médicos al igual que tratamientos, sin ninguna supervision de un medico profesional, Maribel lee la biblia primer-proselitismo antes de administrar los cuidados para la salud.

Ni una sola vez, en mis entrevistas preliminares y discusiones con esta organización, se menciono ninguna religión o proselitismo-por lo que fue un shock doble. Rápidamente descubrí que la organización se estaba tachando de alguna clase de “misionarios” con algunos donantes y seguidores, y no a otros. Quizás alguien debería chequear como se siente el IRS acerca de esto? Ellos están supuestamente registrados como 501 c3.

También cuestiono las estadísticas que OSDW claman acerca de la reducción de enfermedades provenientes del agua por varias razones: (1) Joe Bass no habla nada de español, mucho menos de ninguno de los idiomas indígenas; (2) OSDW nunca ha trabajado con el Departamento de Salud local ni tampoco ha tenido ningún equipo de investigación independiente que recoja dichos datos; y (3) no hay una evaluación existente ni sistema de monitoreo que recoja estos datos. Por lo que sospecho que estas estadísticas son pura ficción y cuando sugerí que se contrataran profesionales para que recogieran y analizaran esta información, la idea fue vehementemente descartada…. hmmm.

Básicamente, cada intento que yo hice para hacer estos programas legítimos, efectivos, sostenibles, y básicamente un servicio de salud publica para las personas a quien ellos sirven, se convirtió en una batalla. En mi experiencia, lamentablemente, el fundador y director, Joe Bass, estaba mas preocupado con los permisos, visitas de grupos de mercadeo, y en la generación de ingresos (sin dejarme ver el presupuesto) mas que en preocuparse por hacer su programa, eficiente. No hay necesidad de decirlo, pero fui despedida rápidamente.

Por lo tanto, por la seguridad de las personas indígenas que esta organización esta “sirviendo”, y por los muchos donantes y partidarios de la OSDW, yo les ruego que investiguen uds mismos la legitimidad, calidad y efectividad de esta organización y de sus operaciones. Esta es exactamente el tipo de organización que le da una mala fama a los “sin fines de lucro”, pero más importante, ellos no solo están engañando a los donantes y partidarios de que esta operación es legitima, pero esta información erronea, también puede ser peligrosa para las comunidades locales. Por lo tanto, espero sinceramente que los ciudadanos locales de Bocas, donantes y partidarios, al igual que las autoridades Panameñas, investiguen la legitimidad de OSDW. Y nuevamente, no tomen mis palabras por el hecho-POR FAVOR hagan sus propias investigaciones.

Echoing Green will award twelve to twenty two-year fellowships to social entrepreneurs in 2011. The fellowships provide start-up capital and technical assistance to social entrepreneurs around the world working to turn their ideas into sustainable social change organizations.

Echoing Green seeks individuals or partnerships (organizations led by two people) with innovative solutions to significant social problems, strategies designed to create high-impact and sustainable change in people’s lives, and the ability to grow and lead a new organization.

The application process is open to citizens of all nationalities working in any country. Applicants must be fluent enough in English to participate in interviews and Echoing Green events, and must be 18 years of age or older.

Organizations seeking support must be the original idea of the applicant and must be independent, autonomous, and in a start-up phase, which means the applicant may have been running the organization full-time for up to two years, with Echoing Green’s financial support constituting its major/primary early funding. Applicants who have only worked on their organization on a part-time basis or have yet to start an organization are generally considered eligible. Applicants must make a full-time commitment to their organization’s development.

Fellows receive up to $60,000 ($90,000 for partnerships of two people) in seed funding over two years.

Visit the Echoing Green Web site for complete eligibility information, application materials, and profiles of fellows and their projects: http://www.echoinggreen.org/

Ashoka’s Changemakers Announces Geotourism Challenge to Save Coastal and Freshwater Destinations

Ashoka’s Changemakers, National Geographic, and the Inter-American Development Bank are hosting the Geotourism Challenge 2010: Places on the Edge: Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations competition to find innovative solutions for coastal, waterway, and island destinations that protect the environment and strengthen the heritage and livelihoods of local residents.

The Places on the Edge competition is open to all types of individuals and organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities). The competition seeks submissions describing sustainable models that enhance the unique character and beauty of oceans, rivers, bays, lakes, estuaries, and waterways, and the culture and heritage of their inhabitants.

Entries should describe innovative ideas that engage and educate tourists and local residents; prevent or curb pollution and waste; protect wildlife, coral reefs, and fisheries; and promote construction of innovative sustainable structures that withstand natural disasters like hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Innovations may include creative applications of technology, cultural and business practices, science, policies, and social organization.

To be eligible for awards, entries must indicate growth beyond the conceptual stage and have demonstrated impact and sustainability. While the competition’s sponsors support new ideas at every stage and encourage their entry, the judges are better able to evaluate programs that are beyond the conceptual stage and have demonstrated a proof of impact.

Entries may be submitted in English, Spanish, French, or Portuguese.

The top three entries will win $5,000 each. The best two entries submitted by the early entry deadline of October 20, 2010, will be eligible to each win $500. Through the Multilateral Investment Fund Opportunity 2010, the IADB and MIF will provide a total of up to $5 million of co-financing for competition entries that provide innovative ideas for sustainable destination management by micro- to medium-sized companies in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Visit the Changemakers Web site for complete competition guidelines and entry procedures.