I recently had the pleasure of attending IAPB’s Council of Members in Hyderabad, India last month. The Council was a fantastic platform to meet partners, organisations and individuals involved in fighting avoidable blindness, as well as initiating new ideas.
The Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) actually ran two sessions at the event: a breakfast session where we and several SightFirst Regional Technical Advisors spoke about the grant process and some of the programmes we have helped support. The second was a session focused on building new, and maintaining successful partnerships.
Partnerships and collaborations are such a key area when it comes to achieving results in eye health. The Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) SightFirst programme supports collaborations in eye health through two areas of funding of interest to the IAPB community – SightFirst grant projects and research.
The LCIF SightFirst programme strengthens eye care systems in underserved communities enabling them to fight blindness and vision loss and assist those who are blind or visually impaired. The programme funds high-quality, sustainable projects that deliver eye care services, develop infrastructure, train personnel, increase public awareness of eye health, and/or provide rehabilitation and education for persons who are blind or have low vision.
Applying for the SightFirst Grant
We often receive questions about who can apply for an LCIF SightFirst grant. Lions must be in involved in LCIF-funded projects from inception. The local Lions make all the difference in project success. They are members of civil society and are able to partner with local groups to mobilize their communities and governments to effect change. Lions districts work with their regional SightFirst Technical Advisor and SightFirst chairperson and committee to assess local eye care needs and develop grant project proposals. Lions must endorse grant applications and manage the project funds.
We recommend you reach out to a Technical Advisor or contact SightFirst@lionsclubs.org for assistance connecting with a Lions district. The SightFirst Advisory Committee approves grants twice a year and applications are due May 9 and October 9, 2019. More information and a list of Technical Advisors in your region, can be found online.
SightFirst funds are also available to support public health research initiatives whose outcomes directly influence or inform operation of the SightFirst programme and, in some cases, that of other global blindness prevention efforts. SightFirst research projects evaluate existing approaches, identify and validate innovative or improved programme strategies, determine the eye care needs of a particular region or population, and/or assess the barriers to uptake of eye care services.
SightFirst research grants of up to US$100,000 are awarded annually. The research grants do not require the involvement of local Lions. We have recently just announced Letters of Intent for the research grants are due by December 3, 2018.
Since the 1990 launch of SightFirst, Lions have improved eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Nearly 75% of visual impairments are preventable or curable, often for mere dollars. Through Campaign 100, LCIF’s most ambitious capital fundraising campaign, the foundation will expand their commitment to communities, making an even greater global impact on vision.
Visit http://www.LCIF.org/BE100 to learn how Campaign 100 will lead the charge to rid the world of infectious blindness, reduce avoidable blindness and visual impairment, and improve overall quality of life by providing services to those with blindness or visual impairment.