The ICMI Solidarity Fund was established by ICMI in 1992, on the proposal of its President Miguel de Guzmán, during ICME-7 held in Québec, Canada. Its purpose is to help the development of mathematics education in countries in which there is a need for it that justifies international assistance. The Solidarity Fund is based on private contributions by individuals, associations, etc. Since its inception, the Solidarity Fund has received generous donations from various organizations and individuals in mathematics education, and it currently holds approximately USD 38000.
Directed by a Steering Committee appointed by the ICMI Executive Committee, the Solidarity Fund was activated to support concrete initiatives and activities that may foster solidarity in mathematics education between well-defined quarters in developed and less developed countries. The main idea defining its mission is to support projects that might help the improvement — in a broad sense — of mathematics education in a region, country, or province. Particular emphasis is placed on projects that enable the activation of a self-sustainable infrastructure (such as preparation of teachers or researchers in mathematics education, curriculum development, production of teaching/learning materials, creation of networks, initiation of research activities) within mathematics education. Only in very special cases has the Fund been used to support individuals in leaving their country for conferences, courses, etc.
The Solidarity Fund has contributed in its first years to different projects in Central America and Africa (reports have appeared in the ICMI Bulletin) but later the number of projects submitted to ICMI nearly collapsed. Alan Bishop was thus invited by the ICMI EC to review the functioning of the Solidarity Programme, make recommendations concerning its orientation and development and propose actions to stimulate more activity. His suggestions were discussed by the ICMI EC and a list of resolutions adopted. A Solidarity Working Group, chaired by Alan Bishop, will be asked to relaunch the Solidarity Programme according to these lines and to better coordinate its activities with those of the IMU Committee for Developing Countries. A first step in that direction has been the joint support to a regional workshop for teachers organized in Hanoi, associated with the ICMI Study 17 conference in Hanoi in December 2006.