Post by Ken Banks, Innovation Strategy and Fellowships Director Ushahidi / Making All Voices Count fellow photo Civil society organisations working on the frontlines of governance and accountability issues across much of the developing world are often the first to spot an opportunity for innovation. After all, they live and breathe the problem day-to-day, and have often faced it personally, making them – more often than not – the best people to find the best solution. Ideas, though, are cheap – or so the saying goes. Articulating it, funding it and resourcing it are often the biggest barriers for most grassroots organisations. Ironically, the larger international NGOs, which often have the skills and resources to play the system, lack the same insight. This makes identifying and supporting local innovators – the ‘unusual suspects’ as we like to call them – a priority for the Ushahidi team at Making All Voices Count. Whether we like it or not, technology is going to have an increasing role to play in governance and accountability solutions and, although things are changing, many of these much-needed skills are in short supply within the grassroots non-profit sector in much of the developing world. This skills gap often also extends to business management, budgeting, strategy, and monitoring and evaluation, too. This is why the Making All Voices Count Fellowship Program exists. We want to see all ideas and innovators have a chance, so as well as committing funding to projects we are also able to offer more tangible support in the form of Fellows. Fellows are likely to be career professionals with a proven track record in their field, and the Fellowship will give them a chance to share their skills and experience with a Making All Voices Count funded partner who have identified a specific skills gap, or need, within their organisation. Fellows will be placed within the funded partner organisation for up to six months, and have all travel and salary covered. The placement will not only help our funded partners by increasing their own capacity, but also give Fellows the opportunity to work within, and gain experience of, the social innovation sector. Funded partner needs may be diverse and include help developing and running a social media campaign, creating a business model, building a website, or designing and coding a mobile app. Fellows may be individuals or employees of companies or other non-profits, whose employer agrees to second them to the grantee. The Fellows Program is demand-driven, so we only place people where there’s a clear and demonstrable need. Where people express interest in becoming a Fellow ahead of there being a suitable vacancy, we run a Fellows Register which we later draw on during the matching process. You can find out more about the Program, check out the current vacancies, or get yourself on the Register through the Making All Voices Count website.