Stay foundation Stuttgart

When natives are the „development workers“

Shouldn’t development work be in the hands of those who know their native country best? On his travels through various African countries as a volunteer in development-aid, Benjamin Wolf had gotten to know projects and organisations initiated and managed by locals. Locals who take responsibility for the development of their society and solve social problems in an entrepreneurial way. Locals who had to develop the solutions themselves. Locals who are familiar with the culture and language and who know the needs of their home country. They are determined to help their fellow human beings with respect to health care, access to education and their own income. In order to support these locals, Benjamin founded the Stay Foundation in 2012.

The difficulty is that these local founders are not taken seriously enough, are not promoted, and are not supported in the right way by development aid organisations.

Who could have more impact than a local social enterprise? Dozens of them! This is how the concept of the Stay Alliance, an umbrella organisation of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations), came into being. In 2012 Benjamin began to implement the Stay Alliance in Uganda. He linked his contacts with Ugandan NGOs into a network. It started with three social entrepreneurs, to whom Stay mainly awarded scholarships for the training of auxiliary nurses and teachers. All scholarship holders successfully completed their education in 2015 and 2016 and now share their newly acquired knowledge with their colleagues, giving lessons and treating patients.

This successful step was followed by the establishment of the umbrella organisation, which comprises around 40 social enterprises as 2020. Companies wishing to become members of this alliance must demonstrate that, in addition to a concept in the areas of education, health and business, they are also considering self-financing. In the years the followed, we established Stay Alliances in Kenya and Rwanda and now have a network of 80 members in three countries.

The Stay strategy for social franchising

Today, they develop poverty reduction programmes. Here, the best and most effective ideas of individual social entrepreneurs are optimised. Subsequently, all 80 Stay Alliance social entrepreneurs can use the ideas free of charge – as a kind of „social franchise system“. Each of these programmes aims at financial independence.

You can download our strategy here.

What does the Stay Foundation do once the social enterprises have found each other? In the truest sense of the word, we provide development-aid. These local social enterprises, standing alone, often lack the financial support to exploit their development potential. But if funds are provided by industrial nations, and these funds are used for the expansion of existing social enterprises, it results in development-aid on an equal footing.

That is why we attract companies and private individuals in Germany to invest in social enterprises in developing countries. We organise events for entrepreneurs, are present at events where the subject is Africa, inform private individuals about the foundation and its objectives, examine possibilities for funding and cooperation.

Who are we? We have a core team of twelve employees covering finances, fundraising, personnel, communication and logistics. Of course at the heart are our experts for development cooperation.

All activities are supported by a large team of over 50 dedicated volunteers and interns. Our office in Stuttgart is the centre of operations, there we do teamwork par excellence. It is evident that our structure in Germany mirrors the structures of the Stay Alliances.

And that is what we are striving for: carrying the successful and sustainable idea of  local people who provide development-aid in their own country onward to other countries.