The Legatum Foundation organises and structures its granting according to the Strategic Initiative (SI) model. Unlike our portfolios prior to 2007, which included dozens of single projects spread across several countries and continents, SIs are innovative because they encourage collaboration within communities and focus resources, ideas and capital on a particular social problem in a specific geographic area.

What is a Strategic Initiative?

  • It is a clustered portfolio of single- and multi-year projects within a specific geographic area

  • It requires a significant investment of approximately $1+ million, granted over the course of three to four years

  • It has specific goals to bring about clearly defined social change

  • It is often focussed in a single priority sector (health, education, etc.), but is multi-sectoral where appropriate

  • It brings together the work of various partners: grassroots, community-based organisations (CBOs), and sometimes international non- governmental organisations (INGOs), which together can help "move the needle" on an issue in a particular area

The Legatum Foundation organises and structures its granting according to the Strategic Initiative (SI) model. Unlike our portfolios prior to 2007, which included dozens of single projects spread across several countries and continents, SIs are innovative because they encourage collaboration within communities and focus resources, ideas and capital on a particular social problem in a specific geographic area. A single SI is composed of a cluster of outstanding community-based projects, all working in a specific location and addressing a specific priority poverty issue or set of issues – such as health, human liberty, or education – with coordinated, holistic interventions. Designed for integrated impact, a strategic initiative focusses the work of multiple projects that, together, address one or more core issue in a multitude of ways.

Through SIs, the Legatum Foundation is able to coordinate the efforts of otherwise isolated programmes and increase the size and depth of the impact over a three-year implementation period. SIs achieve greater efficiency by avoiding duplication of efforts, minimising overhead and hastening the timeline for change. Programme directors actively manage each initiative: conducting site visits, assessing outcomes and measuring change. Projects that under-perform are removed from the initiative and resources are added to others that are more successful.

The goal of the model is to achieve scale and sustainability – both breadth of impact and depth of impact – in order to leave a legacy that will survive, at least in part, even after funding is complete.

Single Project Model

  • Uncoordinated impact across a vast geography and varied sectors
  • Too expensive to monitor every project closely
  • Unmeasurable cumulative benefit

Strategic Initiative Model

  • Coordinated impact within a specific geography and targeted sector(s)
  • Clustered model allows for cost-effective project monitoring
  • Cumulative benefit is measurable and achievable

A Closer Look: One SI in Detail

Renowned for its deeply entrenched and widespread poverty, the state of Bihar in India has one of the lowest rates of antenatal care coverage in the country, and the infant and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in India. In addition, the state has one of the lowest rates of immunisation for children. The Eastern India Health SI has significantly improved health for women and infants in over 360 villages in Bihar. Programmes encompassed a variety of interventions, including training birth attendants and health practitioners; providing vaccinations and first aid; improving sanitation; and advocating to improve access to health care services. In addition, self-help groups (SHGs) were formed among women in remote villages, contributing significantly to the long-term impact of the SI. Through the various contributions SHGs continue to provide to communities, they improve the status of women – a paradigm shift critical to long-term changes in infant and maternal health, as well as in the ability of a community to escape the cycle of poverty.

The results were impressive: over 357,000 people benefitted from the initiative. In villages where programmes were conducted, there was at least a 40 percent reduction in infant and maternal mortality rates, up to a 50 percent increase in safe deliveries, and up to a 40 percent increase in immunisation and antenatal and postnatal care.

 

SECTOR

Health

 

LOCATION

India

 

LIVES CHANGED

357,025

Click here to explore this initiative in full

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