*We are no longer accepting expansion proposals. Thank you for your interest.*
Manna Project International Site Expansion:
An Open Request for Proposals
How will you change the world?
Manna Project International wants YOU to design and build our third international community development site. We're looking for two or three young (1-5 years out of university), entrepreneurial community development leaders to found a holistic community development site in the international location of their choice. This is a life changing professional opportunity that combines adventure, leadership, travel, bootstrapping and international development. No joke.
Here's our pitch. Submit a proposal to conduct a 2 month feasibility trip that describes how you will use those 2 months to lay the groundwork for a successful site and sketches out what that site will eventually look like. To get started, see our proposal guidelines. Up to two 2-3 person teams of successful applicants will be approved to conduct a 2 month feasibility trip to solidify relationships with local community partners and develop a more robust site plan.
If your feasibility trip is approved, here's what you can expect from us:
- The legitimacy and backing of an experienced international NGO;
- A little bit of cash (you'll be responsible for fundraising the majority of what you'll need);
- A week of training at an existing MPI international site;
- A stateside and international support team of people who've been there, done that, and are eager for more;
- Insurance and administrative support back in the States;
- Logistics advice;
- MPI's community development structure and approach;
- A set of benchmarks to pursue on your trip; and
- Community partnering guidelines.
If your feasibility trip leads to approval for a new site, you will:
Be the founders of a new development site that empowers and supports a holistic range of locally-led development efforts and organizations in the country where you work; Receive initial training at an existing international MPI site to learn MPI's proven international development model; Be provided administrative and technical support and guidance from MPI's domestic and international teams; Be provided international health insurance and other forms of organizational coverage; Have the freedom to craft the site to the country's needs and your team's vision and ambitions; Lay the groundwork for the first and future teams of 8-12 young yearlong volunteer Program Directors (PDs) who you will lead and work alongside; and Work for an established leader in student/youth-driven international development.
Founded in 2004, Manna Project International (MPI) has established itself as a leader in student/youth-driven international development. With international community development sites in Nicaragua and Ecuador and chapters at 10 university campuses, MPI enlists college students and recent graduates to work both domestically in the U.S. and abroad. Our international sites are staffed by groups of 8-12 yearlong volunteers (typically 1-4 years out of college) who plan, manage and run the site's operations and host short-term student volunteer groups for spring-break and summer service trips. Rather than "voluntourism", these short-term volunteers work in MPI's existing programs and on substantive special projects, providing a productive contribution to the communities we work with. In recent years, MPI has organized as many as 20 spring break international service trips a year for university student groups and hundreds of summer volunteers at its international sites. In 2008 alone, roughly 250 student leaders volunteered internationally through MPI. The foundation for all of this has been the energy and dedication of young people. MPI was founded by college students and is led by passionate college students and recent college graduates.
Learn more about us here.
This is what we think the next year will look like in terms of starting a new site. We will welcome any proposed changes to this schedule if they are well considered and appropriate, and will be flexible about making this schedule work with the successful proposers' schedules to most efficiently, comfortably, affordably, and happily launch a new site in 2010.
Step 1: Feasibility Trip Proposal Due (October 15th, 2009)
Using your own community connections or an MPI-owned database of potential/past international community partners, your 2 or 3 person group of potential site founders submit a site-specific expansion proposal to the MPI Board of Directors (Board). From the submitted applications, the Board anticipates selecting up to two teams that will be approved to embark on an 8 week feasibility trip.
NOTE: Because of the organization's strong foundation in and familiarity with Latin America, MPI anticipates that the successful proposal(s) will most likely be for countries in Latin America or the Caribbean. The Board is open to proposals for other continents if they are exceptionally strong and convince the organizational leadership that they are superior. While the Board warns potential respondents that this is unlikely, proposals for locations beyond Latin America and the Caribbean will be considered.
Step 2: Site exploration and final site selection (January 5th, 2010 - March 5th, 2010)
Following the initial vetting process, the one or two selected scouting teams arrive at one of the current international sites for a week-long joint training, during which they can see an MPI site in action. After that, they arrive at their international scouting sites for the remaining seven weeks in which they work to further evaluate their chosen location and solidify a relationship with a good partner organization(s). Halfway through this two-month period, they submit an updated site plan to the Board based on initial assessments of location and partner organization potential. This is accompanied by an updated workplan for their final 3 weeks, which addresses any outstanding questions or concerns and builds upon successes to date.
At some point during the last two weeks of the feasibility trip, a board or staff member will visit the site to see the location firsthand, meet with local contacts, and discuss the status of the progress of the team's final proposal. At the end of their two month scouting trips, teams that conclude their site has all the ingredients to become a successful MPI international site submit a final “go” proposal for consideration by the Board. Based on this/these go proposals, the Board may approve up to one team to found a new MPI site.
Step 3: Recruitment and planning (April - May, 2010)
By April 5, 2010, the Board has made a decision on whether to launch a site. At this point, if a site has been approved, the site leaders begin the process of recruiting and selecting their inaugural team of PDs. MPI has already recruited new PD teams for its existing sites and in the process, has recruited applicants for the new site as well. The new site leaders can also recruit from their own personal network, current and past MPI PDs and summer volunteers, and site leaders from scouting trips whose locations were not selected. By mid-May, with the nucleus of their team selected with having had three months to fundraise, the site directors are ready to land.
Step 4: Arrival and site launch (May - July 2010)
As the site leaders return to their site location, their PDs in the United States continue to fundraise, organize and raise awareness about the project. On the ground, the site directors dedicate themselves to preparations for the rest of the group (housing, furniture, etc.) and above all to building relationships in the communities they will be working with. The PD team will arrive in July after attending orientation with the Nicaragua and Ecuador PDs.
Following site approval, one of the Site Founders will take on the role of Country Director and must commit up front to stay on for a second year. The Country Director will be compensated the same weekly living stipend that Program Directors receive.
The Country Director’s daily responsibilities include any and all tasks necessary to maintaining and improving the operations of the organization. This includes but is not limited to:
- Maintaining legal operation of the organization in that country, along with local attorneys;
- Managing on-site finances, reporting regularly to the Executive Director and volunteers;
- Ensuring that volunteers conduct local programs and in a goal-oriented, culturally sensitive way, and that they are in line with MPI’s mission and vision;
- Communicating regularly with volunteers to ensure their well-being, safety, effectiveness in projects and overall volunteer experience;
- Navigating the annual transition between groups of yearlong volunteers, with an eye to efficient, effective, and sustainable progress in programming;
- Building and deepening MPI’s local and international partnerships; and
- Reporting regularly and thoroughly to the Executive Director and Board of Directors on the condition and quality of MPI programs and resources in the country for which the director is responsible.
Proposal Guidelines can be found email@example.com. Please direct all proposals, questions, and comments to