Clifford Chance's Cornerstone initiative, which launched in 2019, is making good progress towards our ambitious 5-year objective of improving wellbeing in the poorest communities in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
Here we highlight key developments and achievements to date, and look at at what we will be delivering in the next phase.
To date, 182 people from across 26 offices have been involved in Cornerstone.
At the outset of the initiative, we took care to develop a strategy and theory of change to ensure that all of our investment and work is effectively targeted at improving wellbeing, along with a monitoring framework that will enable us to measure the impact we make over the course of the initiative. This process included running 10 focus groups on the ground in the communities we want to help and working closely alongside a consultant with considerable experience in creating effective strategies and monitoring frameworks in a development context. In particular, this enabled us to identify health, education, food security, family relationships, livelihoods and housing as the key areas in which the communities we want to support believe that their ability to improve their well being is held back.
We have embarked on 14 projects, in partnership with 10 NGOs, four of which have already completed. The projects have tackled key barriers to improved well-being amongst Kigali's poorest communities, including mental and physical health, access to legal services and welfare support, livelihoods, coding and science, technology, engineering and maths education, ecosystem renewal.
By the end of 2021/22, 52,647 people in Kigali had directly benefitted from Cornerstone and a further 925,189 had indirectly benefitted.
Cornerstone and carbon neutrality
To ensure that our delivery of Cornerstone has a carbon neutral effect, we began our work in Kigali with a tree growing partnership with the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association.