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United Nations Refugee Agency's Refugee-Led Innovation Fund Winner

Why We Do This

Our story starts with Malish James, a South Sudanese refugee in Uganda's Bidibidi Refugee Settlement. Exploring the challenges in Bidibidi with Malish and his community, we discovered a problem we wanted to solve: international organizations are cutting food rations, and refugees struggle to afford other essential items like clothes for their children, so they often sell or exchange the little food aid they receive.


Globally, 1.4 billion adults lack banking services, making them ineligible for conventional loans. Almost half of these people worldwide live in Sub-Saharan Africa, concentrated in conflict-affected and rural areas where poverty is the hardest to eradicate.

Our journey

To address aspiring unbanked entrepreneurs, we introduced a groundbreaking new business model: the first-ever pay-it-forward community microloan, merging charity and microfinance. With Malish as our co-founder, we identified potential entrepreneurs, conducted a co-created pilot, and established our first community loan groups in Bidibidi. Since starting in 2022, we have developed our digital platform to secure donations from the Global North, which are then transformed into microloans in the Global South. As businesses thrive, loans are paid forward to new entrepreneurs in the same community, creating a sustainable ripple effect of new initiatives and independent local financial structures.

What sets us apart

Bridging Gaps mitigates recipient indebtedness by providing interest-free microloans and allowing for business restarts in crises. Our focus on "shifting the power" empowers communities, establishing their financial structures and fostering self-sufficiency through the pay-it-forward model.

 

We foster close relationships with our loan recipients through entrepreneurship training, business incubation, coaching, and long-term mentorship. The strong support of local partner organizations further increases our success rate due to existing relationships and trust within the local communities.

These are our

Core Values

Innovation

At Bridging Gaps, we take immense pride in our innovative and unique approach, cherishing it's adaptability that allows us the freedom for boundless creativity.

Trust

We promote trust through transparency towards all our partners and by maintaining personal relationships.

Optimism

As an entrepreneur from the world's poorest communities, optimism is vital. That’s why it's a key element at Bridging Gaps, where doing good is easy and fun.

Shifting the Power

Co-founded and co-led with the initial refugee community, Bridging Gaps prioritizes inclusive decision-making and community-led projects for empowering and sustaining supported communities.

Connection

We build connections between the Global North and the Global South, striving to nurture enduring relationships for everyone involved.

Compassion

In our diverse team, we prioritize care and compassion for each other, our partners, and microloan recipients, fostering an inclusive and respectful environment.

Our Team

Janina Peter

Founder and CEO

🇩🇪 Germany

Malish James

Co-Founder

🇺🇬 🇸🇸  Uganda / South Sudan

Danielle Marques

Partnerships & Community

🇧🇷 Brazil

Andreas Kästner

Bridging Gaps Team - Andreas
Operations

🇩🇪 Germany

Aida Letaru

Bridging Gaps Team - Aida
Facilitation

🇺🇬 Uganda

Anne Thürnau

Design

🇩🇪 Germany

Design

🇩🇪 Germany

Maria Ida Palmieri

Marketing & Growth

🇮🇹 Italy

Anousha Khosravi

Marketing

🇮🇷 Iran

Kseniia Shestopalova

Operations & Partnerships

🇷🇺 Russia

Chiara Moslow

Strategy & Project Management

🇺🇸 United States

Thalia Sabrina

Fundraising & Partnerships

🇮🇩 Indonesia

Lili Roza Tihanyi

Fundraising

🇭🇺 Hungary

Ambassadors

Ambassadors

Jaclyn Huang

Bridging Gaps Team - Jaclyn
Ambassador

🇩🇪 🇹🇼 Germany / Taiwan

Charlene Mwangi

Bridging Gaps Team - Charlene
Ambassador

🇰🇪 Kenya

Samuel Kinuthia

Bridging Gaps Team - Samuel
Ambassador

🇰🇪 Kenya

Katharina Korte

Ambassador

🇩🇪 Germany

Letícia Niehues

Ambassador

🇧🇷 Brazil

Open Positions

Legal Operations

open volunteering position

🇩🇪 Germany

  • You have a background in law, administration or a related field? 
We are looking for someone to navigate us through the German legal jungle, support our ongoing incorporation process, support internal processes like contracts with partners or volunteers, support design and structure of other legal documents, an HR handbook, donation receipts, and other processes as needed.
     
  • Ideally you will bring some experience within the German non-profit sector.
     
  • Volunteer 5-10 hours per week

Fundraising

Volunteer

🇧🇷 Brazil

  • We are looking for someone to support us in finding and applying for grants.
     
  • Volunteer 5-10 hours per week

Community Support

Volunteer

🇺🇬 🇸🇸  Uganda / South Sudan

  • We are looking for someone to provide support for our microloan recipients, to address their needs and build further capacities where necessary, ensuring the successful implementation and continuation of projects.
     
  • Volunteer 5-10 hours per week

Our Vision for
the Future

We want to see a world in which everyone has the means to create the life they dream of.

 

Beyond immediate economic benefits, our approach ensures long-term livelihoods. Each business, following our social business approach, contributes to the community's well-being. This way, we not only create new local financial structures but also empower the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

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