Intensive Support

Through our Matchbox program, we offer support to selected organisations in Latin America and Africa on strategic tech & data projects.

About our Matchbox partnerships

Matchbox is The Engine Room’s intensive support format offering no-cost, comprehensive support to selected organisations based in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America over a period of six to nine months.

Our Matchbox partnerships are demand-driven and tailored to the needs of our partners. The application process starts with the submission of a project idea that involves leveraging data and technology to tackle social justice issues or advocate for rights.  

We then help you to design, develop, and implement this project. Our support is holistic, meaning we address both the project and the organisational context it lives in, assisting with everything from design and strategy to security and privacy.

You can explore some examples of work with past partners later on this page. 

How a partnership works

One of our regional leads, along with a team of experts depending on your needs, will guide you from project inception through to implementation.

While most interactions happen remotely, we generally try to include some in-person visits as well, to better understand and support your work.

Our partnerships are designed to help you design, develop, and implement impactful projects while strengthening your organization as a whole.

Selection Process

📣 1. Open call: We put out an open call for Matchbox partners based in either Sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America 

✅ 2. Initial Application: The initial application is a brief questionnaire, designed to verify basic eligibility for the program.

📑 3. Full Application: Eligible organisations will be invited to submit a more detailed application form, including project descriptions and organisational needs.

💡 4. Review and Interviews: Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews (conducted via video call) to further assess alignment and commitment.

🚀 5. Final Selection: Partners will be selected based on their application and interview, focusing on potential impact and readiness for intensive collaboration.

Eligibility criteria 

To ensure we form partnerships that are most likely to benefit from and align with the Matchbox program’s objectives, we are looking for partners who meet the following criteria:

  • Your focus should be on addressing a social justice issue (this can take many forms!)
  • The work you would like support with should involve the strategic use of data and technology to achieve specific goals.
  • As this support is offered at no cost, we prioritise organisations that don’t have the financial and other resources necessary to carry out this kind of work themselves, and who require support to effectively implement data and technology in their work.
  • Teams that are very open and eager to learn, particularly those just starting out or looking to enhance their capacities in tech and data-related project design, are encouraged to apply.
  • Your organisation must be based or actively working on the ground in Sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America (depending on the specific call-out), engaging directly with local communities and issues.

Past partnerships

Since 2013, we have partnered with more than ten teams in Latin America and Sub Saharan Africa. The issues these groups were working on include digitising politicians’ expenses to combat corruption, applying technology to access water services, tracking police violence, and more.    

In previous Matchbox partnerships, we’ve worked with: