One Acre Fund

An Update on Barr’s Global Program

Heiner Baumann shares grantee highlights from 2015.

One year ago, in his President’s Message, Jim Canales announced that the Barr Foundation would be concluding its Global program. I want to share an update on what the Global team has done since then and what to expect from us moving forward.

Our priority for 2015 was to ensure a responsible and thoughtful conclusion of the work we have been engaging in since 2010. Our grantees had a terrific year in 2015. Here are just a few examples I am proud to share of grantees’ milestones and achievements in their respective fields:

Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Resilience:

  • Thanks to One Acre Fund, in East Africa there are 275,000 smallholder farmers achieving resilience against drought and external shocks through crop insurance coverage. In addition, 126,000 families successfully diversified their harvests and diets through adoption of alternative crops. More than 4.4 million trees were planted, creating $22 million in future income and sequestering 66,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

  • In Haiti, Root Capital has helped create an environment where smallholder farmers’ enterprises are highly successful in developing the organic fermented cocoa value chain. As a result, for the second consecutive year, Haitian cocoa producers won top honors for their highly-sought-out variety of organic cocoa. In addition, farmers are earning higher incomes and reinvesting in the future of their families.

Community Health:

  • In Malawi, Save the Children has demonstrated feasibility and acceptability of malaria rapid diagnostic technology (RDT) and treatment with significant potential to improve the health of children. It created and approved a national scale-up plan based on the success of RDT at the community level in Malawi.

  • In East Africa and India, grantees including Living Goods and BBC Media Action have raised more than $20 million in follow-on funding for scaling up work that has proven to significantly increase health outcomes for children and mothers.

Clean Energy:

  • In Ethiopia, the Government of Ethiopia and Ministry of Water and Energy have strengthened the market for improved cookstoves, leading to 2 million units produced and sold. The accessibility of these cookstoves is significantly reducing wood and charcoal consumption while decreasing indoor air pollution.
  • In Haiti, despite many in-country and other external challenges, Carbon Roots International has helped mobilize a viable alternative to wood charcoal. Green charcoal production from biomass is now on track to triple capacity, with demand outpacing supply.
  • In East Africa, One Acre Fund has helped sell 152,000 solar lights, generating meaningful impact on expenditures saved ($35 per household on average), carbon emissions prevented, study time enabled, and quality of life improved.

In addition to engaging with these efforts, over the last 12 months, Barr Global has:

  • Committed $4 million in new grants to existing grantees in order to best position them to complete projects started, achieve and sustain target outcomes, and attract additional resources for future work.

  • Approved $1.6 million to organizations that, a year ago, were deep into conversations with us about potential support and whose work we felt would complement that of our existing partners. One example is a new grant to Medic Mobile, which will advise several of our current grantees on mobile technology.

  • Begun to document and share the outstanding work of our grantees, including via our website. The following video about Living Goods and their success fostering healthy communities is one example:

Last year, 2015, was also our biggest payout year to date—totaling $10.3 million. At Barr’s December board meeting, our trustees approved three new global grants, the final new commitments for the program. In the coming months, Barr’s Global team will remain actively engaged with our current partners and will share more about their work, lessons learned, and impact.

We enter the New Year with immense gratitude to our partners. It has been an absolute privilege to support their efforts.

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Heiner Baumann

Heiner Baumann

Guest Author · Former Director of Global Programs