The Innovation Fund provides a space for CEPA to move out of its core research based programmes and services and to work with a cross section of stakeholders in selecting, supporting and monitoring innovative initiatives that address poverty. Two percent of all annual service fees of CEPA are directed to the Innovation Fund. The Fund is in its 12th year of operation and has supported 41 initiatives to date (7 of them are currently ongoing). There has been a steady increase in the interest shown towards the fund over the years.
Grants from the Innovation Fund are up to SLRS 5, 00,000 per project per annum. Five initiatives are generally funded each year.
To link up with persons, networks and organisations working in the field of poverty
To increase outreach and knowledge of issues (tools, ground realities, approaches) related to poverty
To provide a platform for visibility and successful innovation for poverty reduction
The definition of innovation includes creative, catalytic, exploratory and experimental. Innovation could be applied at various points of the project/research process from conceptualisation, methodology to presentation modes of outcomes or lessons learnt. The initiatives use a range or sometimes a combination of methods in implementation. Previous initiatives have used research studies, seminars, audio visual productions, street theatre and fine arts.
Striking an optimal balance between innovation and feasibility has proven to be a continuous challenge for CEPA in terms of selection. In spite of this, completed initiatives have been successful in applying innovative approaches to problem identification, analysis and development of solutions and have contributed to the broad operational definition.
Call for poverty focused innovative proposals for the Innovation Fund 2013/2014 was advertised in June 2013 and we received 78 proposals from all over the country. Through several competitive selection rounds, seven projects were selected as it was hard to select five projects. Currently, the work is in progress.
– Uva Society Coordinating Development Foundation. This initiative intends to develop recommendations with the participation of relevant stakeholders of selected 25 under-utilized lands to improve their productivity. It is expected to develop some models to improve productivity of the under-utilized lands.
– The Committee for Peoples’ Right. While introducing a domestic, simple, modified, and efficient handloom making service among 20 households in 10 districts who are living below the national official poverty line, the project expects to uplift the fallen rush and reed industry and economically empower the target group. At the same time, it targets to strengthen the network of the rush and reed producers and make quality rush and reed products available in the market.
– Grama Abbiwurdhi Foundation for Environmental Conservation (GAFEC) This exploratory project intends to identify challenges to alleviate poverty and to ensure food security among rural peoples due the damages caused by wild animals such as wild boars, porcupines, deer, giant squirrels, hornbills. The project tests possible traditional and conventional strategies to overcome their damages. It also expects to share the results and have dialogues in several platforms to influence institutions which involves in policy making and plan implementation.
– The Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) While establishing a live fence with bee colonies, this pilot project aims to minimize tragedies faced by villagers (such as death, property damages and hazards on livelihoods) due to intrusion of wild elephants. Through the project, it is expected to secure and improve the living and economic conditions of the villagers.
– Surasa Development Foundation Currently the targeted community is facing a problem of not having skilled technicians to repair bicycles as this is the main mode of transport of the rural people. In addition, differently able young people and widows are neglected in the society and they do not get engaged in any kind of formal employment. While providing training on bicycle repairing for these two groups and uplifting their household income, the project tries to provide service facilities to repair bicycles of rural people and offer a proper value for rural peoples’ main transport mode.
– Colombo District Business Development Cooperative Society Ltd. This project targets a 300 group of poor urban slum dwellers in Colombo and guides them to identify problems associated with poverty. In addition the project expects to build a happy wealthy family through improving their financial capacities and life skills. As the main tool, this project uses audio visual media, including a series of drawings and songs.
– Dahana Participatory Social Development Foundation
This project utilises young female talents of poor households by providing them knowledge and skills to repair household electric equipments while establishing a young technician service. The project also generates awareness among poor households on the implications of purchasing energy inefficient equipments that causes wastage and assist them to manage their expenses cautiously.
Sri Lankan think-tank promoting a better understanding of poverty-related development issues. CEPA believes that poverty is an injustice that should be overcome and that overcoming poverty involves changing policies and practices nationally and internationally, as well as working with people in poverty.
(+94) 114 690 200
No. 29 R.G. Senanayake Mawatha (formerly Gregory's Road),
Colombo 07, Western, Sri Lanka, 00700