We are breaking the mold

iguacu is a not-for-profit social enterprise. As a social enterprise, we avoid layers of bureaucracy, committees and tick boxes. We care about effectiveness and the impact of the organizations we recommend. We value efficiency, innovation, openness and continuous shared learning. iguacu attracts the energy that makes things happen.

Our solutions-driven approach has helped us build a trusted global name. Our agility has proven to be one of our biggest strengths in effectively addressing complex fast moving situations on the ground. Our imperative to be rigorous is the only factor determining the timeliness of our response.

Our network-based intelligence is what makes iguacu different. We liaise at length with our extensive network of area experts on a confidential basis, providing a protected space for them to speak freely. Many global news services have withdrawn from the countries we cover, which also often face significant limits to press freedom and freedom of speech. Our network provides unique and invaluable insight which we ensure reaches the global public through our country profiles and the iguacu actions.

The iguacu investigation

Every crisis or disaster is different, affected by a range of different contextual factors – historical, geographical, cultural, socio-economic, political, ethnic and religious – as well as practical constraints on the ground affecting any humanitarian or development response.

The great value of iguacu’s approach is the depth, scope and qualitative nature of our investigation. Speaking one-to-one with a broad range of experts yields an in-depth understanding of what is actually happening on the ground right now. What are the key challenges? Which are the most effective organizations addressing them?

The experts we speak to come from a broad range of professional contexts, including, but not limited to, academia, international/national/local aid and humanitarian relief organizations, development agencies, economic and/or political institutes, think-tanks, governmental/inter-governmental bodies, charities, private sector and community associations. We also take care to vary the viewpoint, speaking to people both at the strategic level and on the ‘frontline’ of operations.

The final stage of our investigation is the iguacu due diligence process applied to the shortlist of organizations that has emerged from the network liaison. This process assesses the organizations’ current need for funding, their governance, systems and procedures to handle funds responsibly, and whether or not their appeal for funding is restricted to the country in question and not to programs or budgets elsewhere. Appeals must be restricted to be recommended by iguacu. Should an organization pass our due diligence review, they then become the iguacu action and their continuing effectiveness is monitored.

While usually our network identifies support for specific organizations as the most effective type of support the public can give, alternative actions are also possible. For example, with the Ebola outbreak, our network argued against financial support, and the iguacu recommendation became a call for volunteers. Having a grounded bottom-up approach allows us to determine in each context the most effective action the public can take.

Our network is often based in difficult, inaccessible regions, working in challenging conditions. But they stop and find the time to speak to iguacu. They advise us for no fee. They think iguacu is a great idea, whose time has come, as we bring the global public to the right door.

We are not-for-profit

Our funding model going forward will involve untied sponsorship with like-minded partners – responsible companies, philanthropists and other funders – and we have also established a secure link for members of the public who wish to express their support for iguacu through a donation to our running costs. We are currently finalizing a sustainable funding model that reflects the ethos of iguacu and the fact that we are a world class service for the global public. As soon as we have more news, we’ll post it here.

Freedom from any funding or tied grants that may carry an agenda or seek to influence what we do means we can remain independent and our research is independent. We can innovate, act directly, attract talented people, continue to build our wonderful worldwide network, and answer only to our mission. We serve the global public.

If you think iguacu is a great idea worth supporting financially, you can directly support our work here. If your organization would like to discuss sponsorship of iguacu or the provision of pro bono services and other in-kind support please contact iguacu’s CEO Katherine Davies via

What’s in a name?

‘iguacu’ (pronounced: igwah-soo) means ‘big water’ and is also the name of the great South American river known for its awe-inspiring waterfall.

We seek to honor and empower compassionate intention. iguacu evokes the power and beauty of thoughtful mass action, likening one person’s intention to a drop of water, and mass action to the great and beautiful Iguaçu.

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Photo Credits (top to bottom): Xavier Sayanoff