We cluster our CBO grantee-partners geographically and thematically in groups of 4-12 organizations through which our grantee-partners share knowledge and work towards a common goal together. Explore our current and recent clusters of impact here.
Early childhood development (ECD) is critical to children's ability to thrive in their early years, to succeed in school, and to be productive later in life. However, only 12% of children in sub-Saharan Africa currently have access to quality early childhood services. And even where resources like ECD centers do exist, they often operate more as a daycare for parents during work hours, rather than as a robust support to children’s cognitive, emotional, and social development. Community-based organizations (CBOs) are uniquely positioned to work with the key actors in a child’s life – family, school, local institutions, and government agencies. As such, supporting community-based solutions for early childhood development leads to long-term, sustainable, positive impact on the children and the communities where they live.Firelight currently supports 23 community-based organizations in Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia to improve early childhood development center quality and empower families of children from birth to age 3 with home-based care programs that promote children’s holistic development.
Despite Tanzania’s mandate for “fee-free” primary education across the country, many children leave school without age-appropriate reading, writing, or arithmetic skills. A national assessment in 2012 found that by class 7, the last year of primary school, less than half of the students could read a class 2 level story in English. In response to this challenge, Firelight supported five community-based organizations (CBOs) that were using innovative approaches to improve children’s learning outcomes, often by harnessing the resources of families and communities to support and to enhance the efforts of teachers and schools. Each CBO takes a holistic and innovative approach to increase community involvement in children’s early learning, working closely with parents, teachers, and community members to create supportive learning environments at home and at school. Providing tailored capacity building in organizational development, learning and evaluation, networking, and social accountability, we have worked to encourage, strengthen, and document these community-driven innovations in early learning so that one day they might be adapted, replicated or scaled.
In Malawi, less than 15% of women have any years of secondary school education, with 42% of girls married before the age of 18. Given the magnitude of this challenge, Firelight believes that community-based organizations can play a significant role in rethinking and redesigning local approaches to secondary school and helping parents make the investment in secondary education for their girls. We support two community-based organizations and two local non-governmental organizations in improving the transition, persistence, and exam pass rates for girls in Malawi’s Community Day Secondary Schools. With tailored capacity building in organizational development, human-centered design, and social accountability, Firelight supports these four organizations to work with communities, students, teachers, local leaders, and government officials to develop and adapt innovative approaches to their unique community contexts.
The Shinyanga region of Tanzania has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the country, with 59% of girls married before the age of 18. Firelight believes that community-based organizations are uniquely positioned to stop child marriage where it starts – in the home and in the community. We also believe that community-based organizations have a major role to play in preventing child marriage in the future – by enabling normative change from the ground up and by presenting the voice of community in national-level conversations. In this grantee cluster, Firelight supports twelve community-based organizations (CBOs) to strengthen their capacity to mobilize their communities in the fight against child marriage, to develop strong child protection systems that link up to the district level, and to strengthen their programming in economic, social, and psychosocial support of children and their families. With tailored capacity building in organizational development, social accountability, and learning and evaluation from Firelight, our CBO grantee-partners are actively working to reduce the rate of child marriage in the region.
After the 1994 genocide that took the lives of almost a million Rwandans, it was estimated that 60 to 70 percent of the remaining population was female. Despite impressive national-level advancements in the representation of women at the highest levels of political office, the vast majority of women in Rwanda still face challenges that limit their educational access and development of marketable skills – hindering their full contribution in their communities’ and country’s development. Given the immense potential of adolescent girls to actively contribute to their societies, Firelight funded and supported the capacity of six community-based organizations to run and document effective, replicable, and potentially scalable holistic empowerment programs for vulnerable young women. The aim was to shift the young women’s economic, educational, and social outcomes in the long-term while also increasing the community’s belief in adolescent girls. Through flexible funding, tailored capacity building in organizational management, girl-centered programming, and network strengthening from Firelight, these CBO grantee-partners worked to build up girls’ financial assets, to improve their access to community support and services, and to enable them to control their own sexual and reproductive health.
Lesotho, a landlocked country in southern Africa, has the second highest prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the world, with over 20% of the population infected by the virus. Due to the devastating impact of the crisis, thousands of children have been orphaned and left vulnerable to HIV and AIDS, child abuse, malnutrition, and poverty. In response to these challenges, Firelight funded and builded the capacity of eleven community-based organizations (CBOs) to respond to the multifaceted needs of vulnerable children in their communities.