Ford Motor Company and its philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund, have launched a grants programme to support social enterprises that benefit women and children while developing sustainable mobility solutions globally.
SHE-MOVES (Strengthen Her: Mobilizing Ventures for Social Innovation) is designed to provide “Whole-Person Leadership” development and promote access to mobility, and is being introduced in South Africa, Nigeria as well as India in 2019.
“Recognising that women are essential to community resilience and well-being, the projects funded by SHE-MOVES all have women at the heart of social enterprises, either as leaders or beneficiaries,” says Neale Hill, Managing Director, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.
Administered by non-profit organization (NPO) Global Water Challenge, and run in partnership with World Vision International and Virginia Commonwealth University, the initiative combines philanthropy with social enterprise incubation models to drive positive change in line with five of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good Health and Wellbeing; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; and Affordable and Clean Energy.
“Through the concept of Whole-Person Leadership, SHE-MOVES seeks to provide women with opportunities to promote better health, develop tools for critical thinking and activate their ideas within their communities,” Hill adds.
In South Africa, SHE-MOVES has partnered with the Uhambo Foundation in Cape Town – a woman-led NPO that seeks to enable children with mobility and other disabilities to live full and satisfying lives in their communities. It also supports parents and caregivers with skills training and empowerment opportunities.
Uhambo Foundation received a grant to assist mothers of children with disabilities in rural farming communities with skills development and the creation of essential support networks.
With this grant, Uhambo will extend its existing programs into new areas, reaching 216 community members and training stakeholders in how to support families of children with disabilities. Mothers in five communities will be empowered to lead parent groups to support each other with Uhambo’s guidance. Just as excitingly, this grant will capacitate parents and community members to undertake research into the barriers experienced by families of children with disabilities to ensure that their voices are heard and able to guide the work of stakeholders.
Ford South Africa is further assisting Uhambo by donating a Ford Tourneo Custom to support the foundation’s commendable work in the region.
“We are extremely grateful to receive the SHE-MOVES grant and the donation of the Ford Tourneo Custom, both of which will assist us immensely in reaching out to more members of the community and help improve the lives of children affected by disabilities, particularly in the impoverished rural areas,” states Sarah Driver-Jowitt, General Manager of Uhambo Foundation.
“While addressing quality of life and issues of mobility for these children, we also empower mothers, caregivers and the broader communities with essential skills to support these children and each other, and we truly appreciate the amazing contribution from Ford Motor Company which gives us the opportunity to help more people,” she adds.
In Nigeria, SHE-MOVES awarded a grant to Shuttlers, a woman-owned, app-based shuttle service located in Lagos, to provide safe transport for 400 women to meet their mobility needs.
Additionally, Shuttlers is providing on-board mentorship and technology-based training to this group of women to develop essential job skills, thus empowering them to find employment as well as enhancing their growth potential in the business environment. Training is provided by means of mobile devices that are used during their daily commutes.
Committed to communities
Ford Motor Company and the Ford Fund are involved in a wide range of community upliftment programmes across Sub-Saharan Africa, with a new project launched in June 2019 to assist drought-stricken communities in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
An innovative mobile water generation project has been introduced by World Vision South Africa, funded by the Bill Ford Better World Challenge, Ford Motor Company Fund and Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.
The Bill Ford Better World Challenge is jointly funded by company chairman Bill Ford and the Ford Fund, giving employees and NPOs worldwide the opportunity to address critical concerns in their communities such as food, water, shelter and mobility, and to develop sustainable solutions to improve the quality of life for people in need.
World Vision South Africa was one of two winners of the 2018 Bill Ford Better World Challenge and received a grant for its pioneering concept to address the devastating drought affecting the Eastern Cape. Additional funding was awarded by Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.
The grants were used to acquire an innovative Watergen atmospheric water generator which extracts clean and fresh drinking water from the air in an energy-efficient manner, providing this crucial resource where a lack of infrastructure or critical shortages impact the local communities.
Over the next two years the project will assist many of the 79 schools located in Uitenhage and KwaNobuhle in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, and will benefit at least four clinics in the area. A total of 50 early childhood development (ECD) centres will be assisted, along with an estimated 3 400 households.
Mounted on a custom-built heavy-duty double-axle trailer, the unit comprises a Watergen GEN-350 atmospheric water generator that is capable of producing up to 900 litres of water per day, powered by a diesel generator that ensures the system is completely mobile and can be operated in any location. The rig is towed to sites by the team from World Vision South Africa with a Ford Ranger Double Cab.
“Ford is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate through a wide range of volunteer programmes, donations and through grants awarded by Ford Motor Company Fund,” Hill states.
“Through initiatives like SHE-MOVES, World Vision SA’s water project and our wide range of employee volunteer programmes, which includes Ford’s annual Global Caring Month, we have an important role to play in the wellbeing and sustainability of society. We are delighted be associated with these high-impact programmes that make a real, tangible difference in peoples’ lives,” he concludes.