Food Nutrition Foundation is a Zambian organization I am proud to have worked with now for about two years. It's been fun to watch them grow and mature and begin to shape ideas into programs and programs into community impact. They asked me what I thought about applying for the ONE Africa Award, a $100,000 award which aims to recognize, reward, and advance the exceptional work of organizations founded by Africans that are based in Africa.
They are a small organization and so my first thought was it may be a bit beyond their current capacity, but upon further consideration, it dawned upon me how great it was that they have the raw ambition and willingness to give it a go. But, what really struck me was how the contest itself was an excellent model for a well-structured, efficient, and effective organization. I couldn't help but notice how the words demonstration and impact were liberally applied and how an emphasis on measurement and collaboration were critical to an award. Any organization that commits to adopting these principles, would find impact improving in their community. Take a look at the rules and see if you agree…
The 2013 ONE AFRICA Award will award best practices by an African organization or individual addressing social development issues through innovative advocacy in promotion of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) attainment.
- Extent to which the organization has designed and implemented an innovative advocacy program that employs new approaches to impact in a given sector(s).
- Ability to demonstrate and communicate specific indicators of progress and impact linking work to a given sector(s) in a clear results-oriented framework.
- Demonstration of the ability to replicate efforts of the organization to take intervention to scale.
- Demonstration of strong internal and constituency accountability mechanisms (i.e. community leadership consultations and involvement in programs to demonstrate the interventions are relevant to the majority of the poor in the target community and empowers them in a sustainable way) along with transparency of operations.
- Extent to which the organization has employed creative partnerships to achieve its goal(s) and ensure coordination with other development actors. These partnerships may include public and/or private sector players.
As a result of this contest, FNF is now looking at these parameters with an eye towards their internal and external methodologies and with the goal of applying them to organizational growth for the future. Organizations will do well to understand that an innovative, well-organized program complete with measurement systems that target community relevance, progress, and impact are critical for growth and sustainability in today's highly competitive funding environment.