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Nonfiction in response to Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
September 2018

Just An Idea

By Georgia Bernbaum

The ninth goal of the United Nations Sustainable Development goals is to build infrastructure, promote industrialization and encourage innovation.  Government members and non-government organization members have been committed to improving these objectives in developing countries around the world. They have made huge strides in this area, but sometimes more can be accomplished on a micro-level than a macro-level. In fact, in many cases community driven change is most effective. One prominent example of this The Pollination Project. This organization was started in 2013, and “through a global network of grantees and community partners, [they] identify extraordinary grassroots leaders who would not likely qualify for funding from other foundations.” Since the very first grant, they have been funding a different project every single day.

Infrastructure is the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed for operation of a society. Community Road Maintenance Project is one The Pollination Project has funded. This initiative was created to form and empower road management committees among roadside communities around Cameroon. Ever since the construction of roads in the area in 2008, the communities along the roads were left to tend to them with no knowledge of road maintenance. The project selects twelve individuals from the community and trains them, in addition to providing them with the necessary tools. Because the roads are now properly managed, food and other necessities can be easily transported to the villages, hence improving their livelihoods.

Industrialization is defined as the development of industries in a country or region. Takawiri Craft Enterprises, funded by The Pollination Project, aims to create employment for youth. They also assist the fishing industry by beneficially using the water hyacinth. Takawiri works with and empowers local communities who have suffered due to a loss of income from fishing as the invasive species, water hyacinth, has taken over the lake.

Innovation is creating a new method, idea or project. Mamwaki Enterprise, a Pollination Project grantee, is a prime example of this. Mamwaki is a social enterprise that makes products accessible and affordable in Kenya. The enterprise uses innovative ways to re-use fecal matter in bio-fuel production in over populated slums. The remains of the sanitation waste is developed into valuable and affordable bio-products that can be sold to households, small eateries, and farmers.

In 2014, I joined some of these amazing organizations and became a grantee of The Pollination Project. When I was eleven years old, I created the Dance Happy Project. My project provides dance lessons for children living at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. The dance lessons provided an outlet for the children to express themselves while also teaching them basic dance technique. The Pollination Project was the first grant I applied for, and I was scared. I had no idea what I was doing, but I applied to this organization because there was no special requirements needed, just an idea.

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