“If you use it right, GIE is a data mine. You can pull out whatever you need to know to figure out if you are going be a good fit for a funding opportunity.”

Brian Manning Co-Founder, Mama Maji

Key Successes Made Possible by GIE

Funding Secured

  • Seed Funding (€5,000) secured through Young Water Solutions

  • 2-5 new opportunities discovered per month

  • 9.5+ hours saved per funding opportunity discovered on average

  • 20 minutes to find a new opportunity
Beyond Fundraising

  • 40%+ increase in operational functional capacity to fundraise

Plus, they are paying it forward by sharing relevant opportunities with partners

GIE Innovation Profile

  • Selected for Exhibition by UN Science Technology Innovation (STI) Forum 2018 helping solidify their legitimacy

  • Finalist in GIE's Digital Pitch Contest receiving feedback about their innovation story

Mama Maji empowers women to change their world through water and envisions a world where women build their communities. Mama Maji works with women in communities looking to expand their access to water, providing them with the skills, technology, and business plans necessary to expand access to water while increasing their incomes. These women, “Maji Mamas” use interlocking stabilized soil block technology to build environmentally sustainable tanks for their community at less than half the cost of the cheapest competitors on the market, increasing their income by upto 300%, and bringing water management solutions to her community.

 Focus Areas: Water Management, Gender, and Entrepreneurship


Discovering Funding

 More Opportunities with Fewer Missed Deadlines

Mama Maji estimates that using GIE has tripled the number of challenges they’ve been able to apply to within 6 months of using the platform. Because of the short turnaround time on many applications, prior to using GIE, Mama Maji often discovered a good opportunity after winners were announced.  

“The secret to GIE's usability is in their search engine. In the first two days of using Global Innovation Exchange, I found more opportunities than I had in the previous six months of research on other sites.”

Sydney Gray Co-Founder, Mama Maji 

Now, Sydney and the Maji Mama team use GIE on a regular basis to find new funding opportunities. They search for new opportunities regularly, discovering 2-5 new, good fit opportunities every month.

Passing it forward

Mama Maji knows how valuable it is to find the right opportunity at the right time, and tries to pay it forward by sharing funding opportunities with others in their network. While using GIE, Sydney often finds up to 3 opportunities that she knows are well targeted to social entrepreneurs in her network and passes them on.

Determining Fit

 Simplifying Fundraising and Saving Time

GIE helps Mama Maji streamline the fundraising slog. With GIE it takes Mama Maji on average 20 minutes to find an opportunity that they think could be a good fit, as compared to 10 hours with opportunities found with standard research. 

“It takes time to cut down all the funding opportunities out there and figure out where we're going to put our time and energy. So often the criteria that will disqualify us is sitting on some page of some PDF or on some website that I didn't know existed. And sometimes we don’t realize it until, we are already in the application process. GIE helps us find those things that would disqualify us up-front, so we aren't wasting our time."

Brian Manning, Co-founder, Mama Maji

Unlike other databases that overwhelm social entrepreneurs with every funder imaginable, GIE’s focus helps Mama Maji find opportunities that are right for them. Of the opportunities they think are a good fit from their standard research, Mama Maji discards 70% during secondary research. With opportunities discovered on GIE they only discard 20%. 

“The format of GIE's funding pages allows us to quickly scan through and discard all the opportunities that are not a good fit."

Sydney Gray, Co-founder, Mama Maji

Securing Funding 

Opportunities they Might Have Missed Otherwise

Mama Maji is one of the close to 70% of social entrepreneurs that report that they’ve discovered at least one new funding opportunity on GIE that was a good fit. Many of them then move on to apply and secure the funding.  

In September 2018, Mama Maji secured funding through Young Water Fellowship from Young Water Solutions, which they discovered on GIE. Mama Maji's Eliza Lesale was one of nine social entrepreneurs chosen out of 430 applicants by Young Water Solutions receiving a prize of seed funding (€5000), mentorship, and training to grow the Maji Mama Cluster in Enkoireroi, Kenya. The Young Water Fellowship also supported Eliza to travel to Stockholm and speak at World Water Week.

“We wouldn't have known about the Young Water Fellowship had it not been for GIE. It has been really wonderful to take part in an international program for the first time and to present about our Kenyan social enterprise at World Water Week.”

Eliza Lesale, Mama Maji

Beyond Fundraising

 Improving Operational Capacity

As a small and lean team, like many other early-stage social enterprises, Mama Maji is consistently looking for ways to use staff time and resources as efficiently as possible. Mama Maji noted that because GIE is easy to use, they are able to engage less experienced team members in searching for opportunities.

“Our local partners and team members in Kenya who have very limited access to internet have been able to use GIE to find funding for their projects. This is something we could have never done with any other platform.”

Sydney Gray, Co-founder, Mama Maji

Mama Maji estimates that GIE has helped them achieve a 40% increase in their functional capacity.

Innovation Profile on GIE

 Securing Recognitions that Solidify Legitimacy

GIE’s innovation profile has helped Mama Maji showcase their work as a digital pitch deck and highlight the recognitions they received, like being Selected for Exhibition by the United Nation’s Science Technology and Innovation Forum (STI Forum). Their recognition by STI Forum has been tremendously valuable by solidifying legitimacy with funders and key partners. The recognition helped one local government partner take notice and it helped Mama Maji lay the foundation for the first female Maasai chief where they will collaborate on a new franchise location in 2019. Additionally, it allowed Mama Maji to re-invigorate past partnerships, resulting in deeper connections and new opportunities. 

Mama Maji continues to use GIE to support their growth within Kenya, and as they look to expand to new geographies like Uganda. See what they're upto by checking out their innovation profile here.

Mama Maji's advice to other social entrepreneurs

“What we need to understand is we need to be ‘findable’. It blows my mind who is reading our profile on GIE. We applied to GIE's Digital Pitch Contest and a funder reviewed our profile. Now at a conference months after we submitted the application, I have someone from Australian Aid walk up to me recognizing Mama Maji’s profile from GIE!"