Stay foundation Stuttgart
After many years of volunteer work in development-aid, Benjamin Wolf founded the Stay Foundation with friends in 2012 as a counterpoint to classical approaches.
On his travels through various African countries he had got to know projects and organisations initiated and managed by locals. Locals who take responsibility for the development of their society, who solve social problems in an entrepreneurial way and thus help their fellow human beings.
In these organisations, it had been necessary for the locals to develop the solutions themselves. This means people who are familiar with the culture and language and who know or have experienced the needs of their fellow human beings, such as health care, access to education and their own income.
The difficulty is that these local founders are not taken seriously enough, are not promoted, and are supported in the right way by development aid organisations.
The core concept
This is how the concept of the "Stay Alliance", an umbrella organisation of NGOs, came into being. In 2012 Wolf began to implement the Stay Alliance in Uganda. He linked his contacts with Ugandan NGOs to a network. It started with three social entrepreneurs, to whom Stay mainly awarded scholarships for the training of auxiliary nurses and teachers. All scholarship holders successfully completed their education in 2015 and 2016 and now share their newly acquired knowledge with their colleagues, giving lessons and treating patients.
This successful step was followed by the establishment of the umbrella organisation, which comprises 32 social enterprises as of April 2016. They met in April 2016 to work out in detail how they want to work together in the future. The aim is now to expand the umbrella organisation, some of whose financial resources are already generated by the members themselves in order to be independent in the long term. Companies wishing to become members of this alliance must demonstrate that, in addition to a concept in the areas of education, health and business, they are also considering self-financing.
The stay strategy for social franchising
In a second step, poverty reduction programmes are developed in the Stay Alliance. Here, the best and most effective ideas of individual social entrepreneurs are optimised. Subsequently, all 80 Stay Alliance social entrepreneurs can use the ideas free of charge (a kind of "social franchise system"). Each of these programmes is financially sustainable.
You can download our poverty reduction strategy here.
What does the Stay Foundation do once the social enterprises have found each other?
In the truest sense of the word development-aid.These local social enterprises lack the financial support to exploit their development potential.
The team of the Stay Foundation in Stuttgart is sure that if funds are provided by industrial nations, which are then used for the expansion of existing social enterprises, it is development-aid on an equal footing.
The challenge in Germany is therefore to attract companies and private individuals to invest in social enterprises in developing countries. In order to raise awareness of Africa and the local social enterprises which are active there, the team organises events for entrepreneurs, is present at events on the subject of Africa, informs private individuals about the foundation and its objectives, examines possibilities for funding and cooperation with the aim of supporting the remaining development in Africa.
To this end, there is a core team of volunteers who, as in other organisations, take care of finances, fundraising, personnel, communication and logistics. The foundation must also have a person responsible for development cooperation. Unique for Stay are the student groups at German universities, who ensure the support of the foundation with interns and fundraising events.
All areas of the core team live from and with the support of over 50 volunteers and interns. The office in the west of Stuttgart is the centre of the action, although many details are also created outside the office, they are archived there and made available to everyone. Teamwork par excellence. On closer inspection, the structure in Germany resembles the structure of the Stay Alliance.
And the Stay Foundation wants even more: it wants to carry the functioning idea of the local people who provide development-aid in their own country to other countries.