How does MAD select projects?

By Charu Agarwal

Before we dive into our selection process, it’s important to understand what MAD’s really all about. Close to 3 billion people still live in poverty and we think that’s simply ridiculous. So we’re on a mission to empower everyday people to get involved in reducing poverty by giving them an opportunity to fund and implement poverty alleviation projects.

Poverty alleviation can be a big topic so we’re very specific about what we want to do. We want to reduce poverty by addressing the specific problems that make and keep people poor. These problems are commonly referred to as the Millennium Development Goals and they include issues like access to food, sanitation, clean water, education and healthcare.

Because poverty doesn’t discrimate by country, at MAD we do not identify ourselves as Malaysian, Cambodian, Sri Lankan or Bhutanese. We hold a global passport and our mission is to be able to help those most in need in every corner of the world. At the moment because we’re just over a year old, we have limited ourselves to South-East Asia as it helps to ensure operational cost efficiency.

MAD does not implement projects but oversees the implementation process and ensure funds are used properly. Therefore, we work with some really strong local partners who are able to successfully implement projects we have fundraised for. We want partners who are credible, doing great work, need help in funding and are able to successfully implement and scale projects. We want to keep working with the same partners to help them impact more people until the partner no longer needs MAD.

There are loads of projects which need funding and a wealth of non-profits doing amazing work on the ground. We can’t be everywhere so we have to narrow our focus.

In a nutshell, we select projects which:

  1. Have a significant impact on reducing poverty and reaches those most in need (poorest of the poor)
  2. Allow our funders and donors contribution to make the greatest impact
  3. Are sustainable and scalable
  4. Can be implemented by strong credible local partners
  5. Allow beneficiares to take ownership by contributing towards the project in some way
  6. Are able to incorporate a meaningful MAD Experience for our fundraisers.

You’ll notice our last criteria ties in with the core of what we do at MAD which is to empower everyday people to fundraise and travel to disadvantaged communities to see the impact they are creating. Therefore, projects we support must be able to integrate a meaningful MAD Experience for our fundraisers.

While we’re keen to help anybody in need of help, we also believe in the importance of implementing projects that will be sustainable in the long term. We also believe that we can’t create change unless those that we help take ownership for the change. This is why we require all beneficiaries to take ownership of their projects by contributing what they can to the cost of the projects.

Now that you know how we select projects, if you come across any communities which fit our criteria, we would love to hear from you.