For the past three years, National Geographic Society, Ashoka Changemakers and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have been working together to support geotourism initiatives in the Latin American and the Caribbean Region. For MIF, the concept of geotourism is fully in line with its vision of sustainable tourism and its efforts on the regional and global stage to promote tourism, sustainable development and heritage conservation.
This pioneering partnership for the geotourism sector has not only enabled the MIF to expand possibilities for support in the Latin American and Caribbean region, but has also stimulated other institutions and created alliances with key companies to improve the competitiveness of regional supplies and access to global markets.
The MIF Opportunity 2010 seeks to identify ideas or concepts of sustainable tourism projects in Latin America and the Caribbean that can become concrete initiatives to generate replicable solutions at the regional level.
FOCUS AND PRIORITIES
The main focus of the MIF Opportunity 2010 is on innovative solutions that protect the environment and strengthen the heritage and livelihoods of local residents. The MIF will co-finance innovative projects in the field of sustainable destination management with a focus on geographical areas where tourism is developing micro, small, and medium-sized companies that offer a variety of experiences to tourists.
For the MIF, selection of the proposals will be based on the criteria of innovation, the ability of the idea to be replicated, and the tools that emerge as a result of the initiatives.
The MIF will support proposals to generate new models, methodologies and tools aimed at improving the management of sustainable tourism in the following areas:
1. Partnership models and tools for evaluation and the creation of theme destinations;
2. Segmentation and new models offer access to niche markets;
3. The use of geographic tools and technology for sustainable destination planning;
4. Innovative methods for participatory planning and inclusive management destinations that involve indigenous people;
5. New approaches to public-private management of sustainable destinations;
6. Innovative models of evaluating and monitoring how destinations are being impacted;
7. Strategies and tools for marketing and communications for the strategic positioning of new destinations in markets;
8. New strategies and tools to access finance for micro and small tourism enterprises;
9. Partnerships and innovative use of technology to optimize market access and efficiency of the value chain; and
10. New methods and technological support for the training of individuals and small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in tourism.
TARGET AUDIENCE AND CONDITIONS FOR PARTICIPATION
The MIF welcomes the participation of organizations related to small and medium-sized enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean (non-governmental organizations, businesses, community-based organizations, training institutions, microfinance institutions, etc.) that are legally constituted and registered on a national or regional level, and that have at least five years of continuous exercise and are capable of co-financing of at least 50% of the total project cost (minimum 25% cash and 25% in-kind).
In short, the MIF seeks strong and organized partners with technical expertise, innovative approaches and co-financing capacity.
1. Apply to the MIF Opportunity 2010 through the application form provided online by Ashoka Changemakers.
2. The project profile will be evaluated by a screening committee composed of specialists from the MIF.
3. After this assessment, the MIF will invite applicants that receive the highest ratings to submit a complete application form.
4. Completed forms will then be subject to a detailed assessment by a Selection Committee consisting of specialists in the sector, Ashoka Changemakers, and National Geographic, as well as staff from the MIF and IDB.
5. The MIF will determine the eligibility of full proposals tentatively selected by the Selection Committee. This check will be based on the documents included in the Full Request Form.
6. When a proposal is selected and declared eligible, a work plan will be established in conjunction with the applicant that includes all activities related to the design. Note that this selection is not a direct approval of funding but a commitment of MIF technical support to the applicant in the project design work. The applicant will later need to prepare additional project documents to submit to the MIF Donors Committee, who will give final approval for funding.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. My organization is not based in Latin American or the Caribbean. Can I apply to the MIF Opportunity 2010?
Only projects that will be implemented in Latin America or the Caribbean are eligible for this competition.
2. Can a project apply to the Geotourism Challenge competition and also to the MIF Opportunity?
Yes, as long as the proposal complies with the conditions of both contests’ applications. However, applicants should consider that it is difficult to combine these conditions because the Geotourism Challenge is more focused on the recognition and reward for companies and business initiatives adopting the geotourism philosophy, while the MIF Opportunity is focused on innovative ideas or proposals in the conceptualization phase.
3. Can a community organization apply to the MIF Opportunity?
If a community organization is legally incorporated and registered in its country, has at least five years of continuous operation, has institutional capacity in project management and can contribute at least 50% of the total project cost (25% cash and 25% in kind).
4. Can a family restaurant apply to the MIF Opportunity?
No, the MIF Opportunity targets business organizations and it does not support single private businesses.
5. Must there be co-financing funds available from the outset of the project?
Co-financing funds must be guaranteed in order to sign a co-financing contract with the MIF. While not mandatory to have co-financing funds available at the beginning of the project, it is recommended to ensure their availability as soon as possible. Failure to provide such funds as agreed in the disbursement schedule will be cause for cancellation of the project.
6. Can you apply for a project that runs in several countries?
Yes, if it is a regional project. The applicant must demonstrate the ability and experience in managing regional projects and ensure their access to sources of financing. The place of execution of the project will be established by agreement between the MIF and the applicant.
7. Can several organizations partner to apply to the MIF Opportunity?
Yes, as long as they form a legal consortium or alliance, and the consortium or alliance specifies which of the entities will be legally responsible for the implementation of the project (this entity must be in operation for at least 5 years).
8. Can I buy vehicles with the MIF co-financing?
No, the MIF does not fund equipment and infrastructure. Only a small percentage of the budget (8% maximum) can be used to cover project management needs (with no recurring charges). MIF financing costs are primarily related to technical assistance and consultancy fees.
9. Can I pay my organization’s staff with funding from the MIF?
Depending on the case, a part of personnel costs for project management can be paid by the MIF. Consultants hired as technical assistants with funds from the MIF should be external to the institution and precisely those needed to achieve the project objectives.
10. Does the MIF pay overhead for the executing agencies for project management?
No, the MIF considers projects to be a mutual cooperation between the MIF and its executing agencies; therefore, it expects that overhead will be part of the co-financing provided by the implementing partner.
11. Is it possible to consider wages and implementing partner procurement a matching contribution to the MIF?
To some extent, yes. The matching contributions must equal 50% of the total project value. Of this 50%, half (25%) should be a cash contribution (cash) and half (25%) can be valued in kind. The matching contributions should be normal costs incurred by the applicant, whether or not a MIF project is implemented (rent, staff salaries, payment for services, etc.).
12. Can an institution submit multiple proposals?
No, unless an international organization is submitting proposals from several countries. In this case, proposals should be technically and administratively independent.