Make It Grow: what we do and why
Community groups hold valuable knowledge and have great ideas for dynamic solutions to tackling local food security issues, but they often remain dormant in an environment that favours large scale, top-down solutions. Further, community groups often have the least access to start-up funding and the least capacity to develop written proposals. This can hinder their ability to take root and grow.
Ideas from community groups can flourish when we create more space and opportunity for seeing and listening to proposals from underrepresented communities. Videos allow for community-led project ideas to be seen and heard by those who are able to invest and donate.
Make it Grow advocates for the use of community-created video proposals as a tool for effective communication of project ideas, for fundraising and grant applications. Make it Grow works with donor organisations and foundations interested in building a funding landscape that is more inclusive and accessible to community food initiatives.
We facilitate the creation of video proposals. In doing this, we use participatory approaches and digital tools to support community organisations to develop skills to plan their projects, produce their own videos and pitch their ideas to funders.
Video Proposals are made using simple smart-phone technologies so that communities are able to take the lead, in their own language and their own way. Video proposals are a more inclusive alternative to those lengthy written applications that exclude key knowledgeable players from engaging in local food systems innovation and transformation.
Making a video proposal allows communities to represent themselves and to easily review their project plans together as part of the video-making process; promoting social inclusion and collaboration throughout the process.
The audio-visual medium of video enables funders to gain an immediate sense of place and purpose. Instead of an application that requires written skills inline with a specific formula, we are 'with' the video-makers— hearing and seeing their hopes and dreams.
We have developed resources to support video proposal production; including a facilitation toolkit with carefully designed steps to support practical, collaborative learning for video-making. These resources are a step towards scaling out this valuable approach to community fund-raising for sustainable food projects and more.
Through our tried and tested capacity-building approach, we train local facilitators and trainers who then go on to work with community organisations. As video and digital use continue to grow, our trainees not only co-design, plan and fundraise for their projects but build helpful digitals skills. This puts community groups at the front and centre of innovation processes, empowering them to transform local food systems.
Make it Grow participants co-create a community video proposal. Kufunda Village, Zimbabwe, 2022.
Fundraising with Community Video Proposals can empower communities to build local food sovereignty and food security, taking control of their own development.
Make it Grow's participatory approach and workshop programme is a catalyst for the development of successful, community-led sustainable food initiatives.
Through our pioneering approach, Make it Grow is working to create a more inclusive global landscape for community-based fundraising.
"They [community video proposals] have the potential to change the world, especially for remote communities. I found the approach so engaging and beneficial." Decent Gaura
Now is a perfect time for donor agencies to adjust their grant application processes, to accept and support community video proposals. This simple yet innovative shift will enhance the inclusion of marginalised communities worldwide, building a thriving environment of community-led food initiatives, enabling projects to develop from seed to full bloom.
Please contact Pamela Richardson for further information.
Contact: Dr Pamela Richardson, Institute for Sustainable Food, University of Sheffield.