the idea

The idea for our scholarship programme began in 2007 when Helen from innocent’s UK team went to Tamil Nadu in India for two weeks. While she was there, she supported the Irula Tribal Women’s Welfare Society which was funded by the innocent foundation. It was such a success that we made it into an annual programme. Each year, we invite partners to borrow innocent’s employees for a bit.  The idea is that we can skill-match innocent staff (the scholars) with projects and work that our partners need undertaking. The partner gets a project or piece of work completed for them at no cost and the innocent staff member gets the opportunity to volunteer, develop their skills, and in some cases (depending on the project), travel internationally.

The scholarships typically last around 10 days – with a little bit of work by the scholar done before and after. Then the scholars come back to the innocent offices, and share their learnings and experiences with the rest of the company, so that everyone gets a better understanding of the work carried out by our brilliant partners, and how the scholar was able to contribute.

it’s a great way for our project partners to get the right skills to get stuff done

Plus, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime for the scholar, and helps innocent staff feel part of the foundation work. Win-win.

In 2019, we sent four heroes around the world:

  • James G (innocent’s senior finance manager) worked with Feedback Madagascar to develop the value chain of silk in Madagascar.
  • Jimmy L (innocent’s finance team leader) also worked with Feedback Madagascar, where he built on James’s good work and helped create a commercial sales strategy.
  • James I (innocent’s digital content producer) helped Washington University’s Project Peanut Butter by creating digital assets like photos, videos and adverts for the team in Sierra Leone.
  • Louisa H (innocent’s nutritionist) worked with Send A Cow’s Kenyan team on a nutritional meal planning tool.

In 2022, we sent three more all-stars to Kenya:

In 2023, we kept things rolling:

  • Maria M and Borja A helped a smallholder farming co-op in Kilifi County, Kenya, to make some good cash from their cashew crop (EFF);
  • Imogen A helped Concern Worldwide UK to freshen up their fundraising in London;
  • Matt D worked with Kickstart International in Nairobi, Kenya, to create an online map of the best irrigated smallholder farms around.

Check out the successes page for previous scholars’ experiences and more detail on the projects carried out.