Indigo’s current strategy has identified four focus areas which form the basis of our grant-making.
Globally, approximately 1.3 billion people live with some form of visual impairment. The most common causes of visual impairment and blindness are cataract and uncorrected refractive error (URE). Both conditions have been demonstrated to have a detrimental effect on psychological wellbeing and economic productivity, but in the vast majority of cases the conditions can be easily treated through surgery or glasses. Repeated cost-effectiveness studies have shown that both conditions can be treated safely and at a low cost, while a vast body of medical literature exists showing the safest and most effective ways of treating the conditions. Despite the fact that both conditions can be so easily treated, there are many people around the world who do not have access to the treatments necessary to improve or restore their sight. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, governments and NGOs are working to address this through training healthcare staff, equipping eyecare facilities and providing outreach services. We believe that more can be done with additional funding, so are providing funds to eyecare organisations to address both cataract and URE. We also plan to work with other funders to ensure that efforts to address the problems can be speeded up.
Access to Justice in sub-Saharan Africa
A healthy, equitable justice system requires that those working or preparing to work in the system – such as judges, lawyers and law students – have access to legal information. In many countries around the world, however, these materials may only be available online behind paywall subscriptions or else as hard-to-access hard-copy formats. Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) are working to address the issue and have promoted the cause of free access to law for over two decades. Research that we commissioned in sub-Saharan Africa identified several clear, positive impacts resulting from the existence and use of LIIs, including:
- Acting as significant tools for social and legal change.
- Helping students complete their legal education.
- In South Africa, increasing access to the legal profession for economically disadvantaged groups.
- Strengthening the development of high quality domestic case law, which had been underdeveloped prior to digitisation.
- Helping citizens develop a more meaningful understanding of the law.
We contend that increased investment in and support to LIIs and other relevant organisations can help increase the gains that have already been made and further aid the development of a just and equitable legal system in many countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
Access to Justice in the UK
Increasing evidence supports the case that where early legal advice is not available additional pressure is placed both on the court and criminal justice system, and even more importantly on individuals whose problems can easily spiral out of control. What starts as an unresolved debt issue, can end up leading to homelessness, poor health and loss of employment. Conversely where early legal help and advice is available, it often not only recoups its costs at the point of intervention, but also results in significant, additional, state savings elsewhere in the system. Despite these findings, cuts to legal aid in the UK in recent years have resulted in fewer people being able to access this kind of invaluable support. Law centres and similar providers have long existed to help people access legal advice and representation, but the need is so great that many people are unable to access help. We believe that by funding such organisations and championing the cause of access to justice in the UK, we can help make a difference.
Each year, individual and organisational donors give billions of pounds to charitable causes in the UK and overseas. It’s widely acknowledged, however, that donations to not always go where they are most needed or to the most effective organisations. This can be the result of many factors, including lack of access to information about where the need is greatest and how best to meet it. Our strategy here aims to increase the availability, quality and use of information by donors in decision-making processes and to support better ways of grant-making.