When people tell us to “keep up the good work because you never know who is watching”, we usually receive it as yet another well-intentioned compliment never to give it another thought again.
Today, this came true in my life! Someone I didn’t know was watching my good work and thought I deserved a reward. You know one of those emails where it’s too good to be true you almost feel like this is a scam? I received one today and it read as follows:
The Good News
You have been nominated by Arthur Attwell to receive a Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant to the value of $5000. Flash Grants are awarded by nomination only, from Shuttleworth Fellows to individuals they would like to support/reward/encourage in their work for social good”
Well, imagine my pleasant surprise! Yet still, I wanted to be sure it was real. After a few minutes of research and a couple of email exchanges, I concluded it was real.
Shuttleworth Foundation awards a number of small grants, twice a year, to a collection of social change agents, no strings attached, in support of their work. They call these Flash Grants and recipients are selected based on nominations from the foundation’s fellows. Each award is worth $5,000 and you don’t have to apply for it.
This year, one of the fellows, Arthur Attwell nominated me to receive one of the prizes for the work I was doing. He sent me the following email:
It’s a real pleasure to be able to recognise the work you’re doing. In addition to your exciting work with small-scale farmers, I was impressed by and grateful for your openness on your blog. It takes a lot of energy, courage and generosity to share your journey and your thinking, and to do it with such professionalism. Thank you for that.”
Shuttleworth Foundation’s Open Philosophy
In line with the foundation’s core philosophy of openness, the only requirement for the use of the grant is to share with the world how I used the money. While I am not 100% certain yet, this is what I plan to do…at least for now.
I intend to invest the money into a number of projects I am working on or involved in.
Firstly into Sesi Technologies SaveTheGrains Project. SaveTheGrains is a soon-to-be-launched project to mobilize support to help smallholder farmers in Africa fight poverty through post-harvest technologies.
Secondly to Nsesa Foundation, my non-profit that is working to bring basic technology skills at the fingertips of youth in Africa. We are doing this through our projects SuaCode and Project iSWEST.
Thirdly I will apply part of the grant towards furthering the philosophy of open knowledge by writing a few e-books.
I will update the world on how I actually used the funds in a few months.
What This Means For Me…and You
In conclusion, receiving the Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant has been a huge validation of the work my teams and I have been doing. To anyone out there doing social good, I say to you: continue in your good work. You don’t know who is watching.To anyone out there doing social good: continue in your good work. You don't know who is watching. Click To Tweet
Wow, this is pleasant and exciting. To God be the glory. Congratulations Isaac. E is proud of your and your team.