Can we crowdfund for social impact in the Pacific?
Eco-tourism in Vanuatu, upcycling to create jobs for women, economic empowerment through kava retailing and independent podcast for social issues are initiatives that have at least one thing in common: you can support them through the Pacific Crowdfunding Challenge, run by StartSomeGood and UNDP Pacific Office.
You can choose the social impact enterprise (or several!) that feels close to your heart and support its crowdfunding campaign by donating a sum that you are comfortable with, or by spreading the word.
Crowdfunding is a method of raising capital through the collective effort of personal networks, customers and individual investors, usually via dedicated online platforms like StartSomeGood.
The campaigns on startsomegood.com use an all-or-nothing approach which means if the projects don't reach their fundraising goal the money is returned to the donors.
The Fusion Hub
Sagufta Janif, a young social entrepreneur from Lautoka, Fiji, is upcycling waste into sustainable furniture, home decor and clothing items. The enterprise has already upcycled 1500 tonnes of trash and sold over 180 products.
The Fusion Hub runs "Waste-2-Worth" capacity building programmes for women living in poverty in which they learn joinery, upcycling, upholstery, power tool usage, and design. Upon completion of the program, the women are given a full-time contract to work with the Fusion Hub, or they can start their own upcycling business and become part of the Fusion Hub’s supply chain, a way of getting the market access. Through the programme, eight women have been employed by the Fusion Hub, 12 formed a cooperative in their community and 10 have become part of the supply chain.
Now, the Fusion Hub aims to establish a functional workshop to run more "Waste-2-Worth" programs, and to give a space for women to work on their enterprises and get business support. Another goal is to open a depot where the discarded items can be dropped off for upcycling.
Sagufta’s work has been acknowledged with several international accolades such as the Commonwealth Youth Awards Winner for Pacific Region and Youth Co:Lab Fiji 2020 Representative.
Mahun Bungalows is a locally owned hospitality business in Malekula Island, Vanuatu, promoting eco-tourism concept in the country. The project focuses on building up the local economy through community participation and preserving the natural environment of South West Bay area.
Mahun Bungalows have been receiving guests from different parts of the world and providing the visitors with unique cultural experience and nature-based activities in the remote and secluded area of the Pacific.
Damien Robinson Hophand, the owner of Mahun Bungalows, is determined to serve the needs of the underdeveloped community, by employing and building capacity of the local youths.
With assistance from the crowdfunding campaign, Damien will focus on replanting the mangroves and employing more young people from the area in his social enterprise.
Kelvin Anthony is starting up a podcast project that will enable young people in Fiji to have a voice and a safe space to talk about issues that affect them. This will be an independent - free from commercial and political influence - media platform where youth and underrepresented groups from Fiji’s diverse communities can share and engage in meaningful, sincere and constructive way. The launch is planned for June 2020.
Kelvin is a journalist by profession, and is currently undertaking a BA in Communication and Media Studies in Melbourne under the Australia Awards Scholarship. He is passionate about creating social impact in his home - Fiji - and across the Pacific.
Blackhouse Kava project aims at empowering farmers and recruiting the unemployed and low-income earners in Fiji through kava marketing and retailing. Kava has an important traditional and social role in Fijian and Pacific cultures. Even though local kava business is thriving, farmers in rural areas and outer islands often miss out on the profits as they don’t have direct access to the market. Etika Naitini, who is leading the social enterprise, saw the high demand for kava as an opportunity to benefit the farmers as well as the unemployed and people in a difficult financial situation who are engaged in the business as retail partners.
Blackhouse Kava has already partnered with two stay-at-home moms, two youths, two part-time working mothers, and a retired widow who work from home and receive a share of the revenue. Etika’s immediate plan (with assistance from the crowdfunding campaign) is to be able to bypass the middleman and buy from the kava farmers in villages, giving them a fair price and steady regular income and a higher profit than they would otherwise have made at the market. Etika’s long-term goals include opening a shop and establishing an export facility, compliant to overseas requirements.
StartSomeGood is a crowdfunding platform for social enterprises, non-profits, and community projects. It specialises in supporting world-changing projects and has helped over 1000 ventures raise over AUD 15 million. StartSomeGood is proud to have the highest project success rate in cause crowdfunding at 53%, and works hard to give every project on the site the advice and support they need to succeed. Find out more at www.startsomegood.com.
Evgeniya Kleshcheva, Communications and Partnerships, Inclusive Growth Programme, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji; tel: +679 738 5067; email: firstname.lastname@example.org;