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How it Works

OUR COOPERATION MODEL

The Blue Skies Foundation is a cooperation between the fresh fruit company Blue Skies, and two retailers, Waitrose & Partners in the UK and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands. Through this unique and progressive cooperation, the Foundation seeks to support the communities which participate in the production of fresh-cut fruit products that are made by Blue Skies.

The Foundation is structured in a way that enables projects to be chosen by the people living within the communities where Blue Skies operates in Ghana, South Africa, Senegal and Egypt. Our Councils, which are made up of representatives of the communities where we work, and our Board of Directors, ensure we follow a democratic process in how projects are prioritised, and take collective responsibility for overseeing the implementation and evaluation of all our initiatives. Funding is provided annually in equal contributions by our founding partners, Waitrose & Partners, Albert Heijn and Blue Skies.


HOW OUR PROJECTS ARE SELECTED

With so many project needs in the areas where Blue Skies operates, it’s impossible to be able to support every request. The Foundation’s project selection process is therefore vital in order to ensure each request is considered fairly so that the most appropriate decisions are made for how funds are used. Here is a summary of how it works...

  1. Community Engagement. The annual selection process starts with the Foundation engaging with local communities to raise awareness of the process and to begin capturing project ideas. These are submitted as ‘Concept Notes’ and given to committee members who represent different areas. Ideas can also be submitted online at: https://www.blueskies.com/foundation-form/
  2. First Round Filtering. Once concept notes have been received, a committee meeting is held to shortlist the ideas based on the initial information submitted. Projects which don’t fit the objectives of the Foundation, are outside budget requirements or aren’t feasible are rejected. After this, the remaining project ideas are visited as part of a process of due diligence to establish more information about the proposals and their feasibility.
  3. Second Round Shortlisting. Following due diligence, another committee meeting is held to go through the projects again and shortlist ideas further based on any additional information gathered. Again, projects which are deemed to be unfeasible based on the additional information provided are rejected. The remaining projects are then assessed and ranked in order of priority based on a range of criteria, including urgency, value for money, the number of beneficiaries and the intended impacts. Low ranking projects which don’t fit the budget will then be rejected.
  4. First Draft Submissions. The final draft applications are submitted to the Foundation Board of Directors for consideration. Successful projects are approved.

EVALUATING IMPACT

Each year the Foundation carries out an evaluation of its projects in order to understand how they are performing and how far they are meeting their intended objectives. With over 100 projects approved since 2009, it’s a major undertaking to be able to know how every initiative is doing, however this is a vital task as it helps us to understand what is working well and where there is a need for improvement. We can then apply these learnings to our selection process to maximise impact and strengthen the sustainability of future projects.

To achieve this, Blue Skies Foundation conducts a comprehensive project assessment from March to May every year. Projects are assessed against measurable objectives and the results are fed in to a Project Tracker. Projects are selected for assessment based on how well they scored in previous reports, and when they were last visited.

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