Corra is known for having a strong Scottish focus, but the projects we have the privilege to work with give us a truly international perspective. Corra’s long experience supporting Scottish charities to make a difference has historically included funding Scottish organisations to carry out projects overseas. These days our international work is done primarily through our management of two Scottish Government funding programmes. We also support other organisations with different aspects of international grant management and implementation through Fortify, our social enterprise arm.
Corra’s international team includes myself and my colleague Lillian as the two staff dedicated to international work, and we benefit from the support of colleagues working on aspects of grants management, including communications, financial administration, and database support. Lillian and I bring nearly twenty years of international development field experience to our roles at Corra. We’ve worked on projects as diverse as early years education in Ghana, small-holder farmer co-operatives in Georgia, and as part of partnerships spanning engagement with grass-roots community groups and formal collaboration with international organisations like the UN. We bring a mix of Scottish, African and global perspectives to Corra’s “international desk” and hope that our practical experience helps us to understand and support the organisations we work with.
There’s a lot of detail and process in our work, but also a lot of communication and careful analysis. We prepare and organise funding calls, review applications and recommend awards. Once Scottish Government has approved our recommendations, Corra leads on communication with all applicants, including sharing feedback on proposals, and concluding contracts and payments with organisations funded through the Small Grants Programme and the Climate Justice Innovation Fund. But the process doesn’t end there. We follow each organisation’s progress as they implement their plans. We read and share feedback on their reports and discuss developments with our partners as their projects progress. We know that the journey isn’t necessarily smooth so we encourage grantholders to share any challenges with us – that way we can work out how best to help.
It’s an interesting role, and one which involves balancing different perspectives. On the one hand, we’re responding to the Scottish Government’s requirements as a public funder, and on the other we’re considering the practical needs of international organisations working on projects as diverse as renewable energy for rural schools, girls’ education or conservation agriculture.
I’m writing this during #Scotclimateweek, a particularly exciting one because we’ve been able to announce the projects being funded through the Scottish Government’s 2019 Climate Justice Innovation Fund. These include support for a new community advocacy approach for water rights, and the trialling of both a new biogas stove and a solar-powered cold storage unit. We’re now busy helping to get everything confirmed and contracted so these fantastic new initiatives can get underway.
To finish on a personal note, I came to Corra when I returned home to Scotland after an extended period overseas. I love the fact that Scotland is an outward-looking nation and that our government has committed to supporting progress around the world. With the climate crisis at the forefront of many people’s minds, I’m proud that our team can play a role in Scotland’s action to tackle climate change and promote climate justice both here and abroad.