Launching a new funding stream tackling visual impairment: The Indigo Trust

Deputy Trust Executive
Organisation: Indigo Trust

StrongerTogether Criscent Bwambale gets a checkup before being fitted with glasses after an operation/ Story: Launching a new funding stream tackling visual impairment: The Indigo Trust The Indigo Trust is a UK-based grant-making foundation that is part of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts. Since Indigo’s founding almost 20 years ago, the Trust has awarded over £13 million in funding to a variety of causes in the UK and overseas. Projects supported by Indigo range from criminal justice issues in the UK to technology initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. We have spent the last year or so, however, reviewing our activities to identify where we have had greatest impact and to identify new areas where we believe we can make a difference. As a result of that work, we have decided to launch a new funding stream tackling visual impairment.

During our strategy review, it quickly became obvious that treating certain forms of visual impairment – such as cataract and uncorrected refractive error – is one of the most cost-effective medical interventions around. The costs are low, treatment is generally safe and there is a huge body of literature on what works and why. The benefits of treating visual impairment, meanwhile, are also clear both for the individual and wider society. Researching and comparing various areas and interventions, we repeatedly came back to visual impairment as something of a no-brainer. Indeed, it was a mystery to us as to why more money wasn’t being spent on the issue by aid agencies or the philanthropic community.

It is our belief that we can best make a difference in the areas of cataract and uncorrected refractive error. The interventions here are well understood, safe and incredibly cost effective. To this end, we have already made grants to EYElliance and to the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Over the coming months we will be looking to identify future opportunities as part of this funding stream.

We are already in discussions with several IAPB members (and some non-members) about their work and how we can best use the funds we have available to tackle the problem. We look forward to meeting many more IAPB members over the coming months and years, especially those working on cataract and URE in sub-Saharan Africa.

Image on top: #StrongerTogether Criscent Bwambale gets a checkup before being fitted with glasses after an operation in Western Uganda to remove double cataracts, allowing the 6 year old to see the world for the first time. Photo Credit: Tommy Trenchard for #StrongerTogether Photo Competition