The indigo foundation - some questions and answers - Unfinished Business - CycleBlaze

The indigo foundation - some questions and answers

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I get many questions about the indigo foundation as I cycle and her I try to answer the most frequent. Those of you who would like even information can find it on the indigo website.

What is the indigo foundation? The indigo foundation is a community development organisation started 23 years ago by former aid workers who felt that money could be spent more effectively on local groups. indigo - always in lower case - forms partnerships with local communities around the world to empower women and girls, improve education and health outcomes and defend human rights. 

What are the guiding principles of the indigo foundation? The indigo foundation emphasises community ownership, sustainability, transparency and gender equity.

What is the structure of the indigo foundation? The indigo foundation does not own or rent property. It's what we now call a virtual organisation, with three part-time employees, who work from home. In addition, there are many volunteers, including the Board and partnership coordinators.  This structure minimises operating costs so that most of the money raised funds the work with communities.

What types of partnerships does the indigo foundation enter? The indigo foundation prefers to talk about partnerships rather than projects. Some examples of the partnerships that indigo support are schools in Afghanistan; a youth organisation in Timor-Leste that confronts sexual harassment; an organisation in Indonesia that funds bursaries enabling girls from female-led households to attend university.

How does the indigo foundation hear about partnerships? indigo "hears" about potential partnerships rather than "sending a call" for proposals. Its network has many people who have lived and worked overseas and are in touch with communities. Examples are many: the partnership in Bougainville was recommended by a Board member who lived in PNG; the work in Afghanistan comes through Afghan refugees who arrived in Australia 20 years ago; the partnership in Timor-Leste was recommended by a volunteer.

Why am I supporting the indigo foundation?  I'm often asked when cycle touring "who are you supporting"? My typical response has been that I am just going for a bike ride. After all, I'm typically in a rush and fundraising would be one more task. Am I the only person who works the day before leaving Scotland for good and cycling across the USA? I had no idea when we would next earn some money!

But the question has always made me think that I would support an organisation if they could do the fundraising part leaving me to pedal away and to promote the cause. And that's now what I am doing for indigo.

It all came about due to my good fortune of learning about the indigo foundation through meeting a Board member, Robin Brown. I educated myself about indigo and decided that it met my thinking about what a charity should be. Two issues appealed 1) the low overhead costs and 2) the emphasis on women and girls.

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When I decided to cycle from my home in Canberra to Singapore - the "unfinished business", I asked Robin if the indigo foundation would be interested in my support. Two days before leaving, I had coffee with Robin and Lyla Rogan, chair of the Board. I asked Lyla if there had been a lot of debate over the pros and cons of "taking me on". She said no! I greatly appreciate this confidence and am doing my best to live up to it.

Doing my best to live up to it!
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