Sasha Fisher had been working in African communities for a number of years before she moved to East Africa in 2010 to develop a new model for the developing world that focused on securing basic human needs through community-led development. Sasha founded Spark MicroGrants to prove community-driven development can be done at scale. Spark has designed a novel approach for launching communities facing poverty into action and has partnered with over 150 villages across Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ghana. Of the village projects backed by Spark, 94% are sustaining, 77% have launched secondary projects independently of Spark and 90% have continued to host regular community meetings where they discuss important topics, such as land disputes and new initiatives. The community discussions and decisions include thoughts and concerns by and about women and girls making the results even more successful.
As Sasha explains it, Spark’s model is different in that partner communities act as the main decision makers at every stage of the process. Spark’s facilitation process encourages communities to envision and work towards their own goals, putting them in the driver’s seat of their future. At JWFNY, we are concerned with social change impact – are we bringing fish or are we facilitating fishing – and Spark’s replicable model catalyzes community collective action.
Sasha is a visionary. She is a Jewish woman social entrepreneur – a woman who uses her Jewish values and a gender lens to help solve some of the world’s most intractable problems. If you would like to meet Sasha in person, please join us at Women on the Margins on December 5th from 10am-12pm at our office, 130 East 59th Street. All are welcome; there is no charge to attend; please rsvp to Natasha@JewishWomenNY.org to reserve a spot. See more about Sasha here: https://vimeo.com/79221157