A Fund to Reward Innovation in Nigeria


 


PrOpCom introduces The Mudu Fund: The Mudu Fund is a mechanism for supporting PrOpCom’s activities through selected grants to stakeholders to cover the risks incurred in undertaking new technology, relationships or procedures that will lead to greater market efficiency.  A mudu [pronounced: moo-doo] is the common unit of measure in which food is sold in markets across Nigeria.  It originated in northern Nigerian grain markets as a unit of mass for rice and had become an acceptable form of measure in other grain markets across the country.  The Mudu Fund aims to be a recognisable tool to improve pro-poor opportunities within agricultural markets.


Whilst the programme is able to support change by providing technical assistance and by facilitating change processes with the provision of knowledge (studies) or supporting stakeholder meetings and consensus-building, this is not enough. Several market systems are held back by a lack of innovation. Facilitation alone is not sufficient to bring about the changes.  Potential investors, policy-makers and other key actors in the market system are held back by the risks inherent in any change. The Mudu Fund offers a way to reduce the cost of failure, to soften the challenge, reduce the appearance of risk for these actors; encourage actors to partner (share visions and resources) and attract new skills and capital to the sector.
In general, the Mudu Fund takes three approaches to funding:
 Stakeholder innovation grants are PrOpCom’s mechanism to support stakeholder initiatives and innovations in agricultural commodity markets.  The process is stakeholder initiated, with stakeholders defining the timing, scope and area of impact of proposed grants.
 Institutional support grants provide foundational support to organizations identified by PrOpCom as essential to market development.  Grants are given to assist with start-up activities and capacity building, thus encouraging and sharing the risk of establishing needed institutions to support programme’s Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) objectives.
 Challenge Grant: Issuing a challenge within the M4P context whereby funding is awarded to recipients based on innovative proposals to make improvements in a specific segment of the market system.
Stakeholder innovation grants and institutional support grants are initiated by firms, associations, or organizations.  In consultation with PrOpCom, they develop and submit a grant proposal.  The proposed activity must seek to facilitate basic changes in market systems and institutions to improve market operations leading to increases in profits and revenue in such a way that poor people can benefit.
Challenge Fund grants are competitively awarded grants made in response to a specific challenge designed by PrOpCom.  Key characteristics of the challenge grant include:
 PrOpCom identifies the market system problem to be addressed, targeting intended impact within existing interventions.
 PrOpCom establishes the funding limit for each grant.
 Awards are made through an open, transparent and competitive process defined in advance of issuing the solicitation.
 PrOpCom will typically use a two stage filtering process – submission of concept notes followed by successful applicants then submitting full proposals.
 Selection criteria for each challenge will be based on the impact and sustainability of the proposed approach, as well as the viability of bidders.
Mudu Fund grants may be extended to private Nigerian organisations (not-for-profit or for-profit) and international for-profit and non-profit organizations interested in participating in and furthering the development of Nigerian agricultural commodity and service markets, provided that they are legally registered and recognized under the laws of Nigeria.  Grantees must display sound management in the form of financial, administrative, and technical policies and procedures that are in written format and present a system of controls that safeguard assets, protect against fraud, waste, and abuse; and support the achievement of program goals and objectives.
To date, PrOpCom has made a total of 9 stakeholder innovation and institutional support grants with a total value of £335,061 (N= 84 million).
For further information on the Mudu Fund, please contact:

mudufund@propcom.org