Earlier this week we published an audit report by the Hypercube Community that circulated on social media and email. The report alleged that some of the founders of the hub had possibly abused the funds and facilities of the hub.
We contacted the 3 funders; Hivos, the US Embassy, and Indigo Trust. Hivos gave us their comment and we published it here. They essentially sought to distance themselves but confirmed some of the report’s contents – that they had terminated their relationship with Hypercube at some point and that the reasons cited by the report are part of why they would ordinarily terminate such relationships.
Indigo Trust and the US Embassy also eventually sent in their responses.
Here’s Indigo’s comment:
We funded Hypercube (£30,000) in September 2013 in partnership with the US Embassy in Zimbabwe and haven’t funded this organisation since. Our Trust aims to stimulate innovation and we do accept that there is a high risk involved in funding brand new organisations. We did our best to identify the team with the best skill set, vision and business plan. Unfortunately at times, things don’t go according to plan and we discontinue funding in these instances.
The US Embassy’s comment was short and as expected:
We do not comment on, nor do we participate in, independent audits of our grants or grant processes
As expected because they already did a Lessons Learned session where 3 co-founders – Munyaradzi Chiura, Rinesh Desai and Nikki Kershaw – shared why, in their opinion, the hub had failed. You can read about those lessons learned here.
There has been some interest on social media in what exactly happened at Hypercube and one would obviously hope that donors and those that they donate to would be more open about how the money is spent. Especially when initiatives are considered the community type, like Hypercube was.
So far, what we’re getting from all this is that some serious and unfortunate things did happen at Hypercube while it was in operation but that both the donors and the recipients of the donations, would prefer that the details of these things remain unknown to the community they purported to serve. Which is just unfortunate.
If indeed money was abused, isn’t this the same abuse that we everyday accuse the politicians of doing. Yes, you could say that this money did not belong to the community in that it was given to Hypercube but then you’d also need to argue that abuse of money in some instances is ok.
If it is the case that money was not abused, then surely it would be better for the donors to be open about this by providing the data on how the money was used. Either way, we hope those that donate to these donors demand to see the data, even for amounts as ‘small’ as the Hypercube Hub grants.