Community Philanthropy as a Strategy for Enhancing Citizen Voice and Participation
The Giving for Change programme sets out to demonstrate the role that local resources – harnessed and organized by civil society organizations, social movements, and the communities they represent – can play in amplifying voice and strengthening local ownership of development agendas.
A five-year programme, Giving for Change is implemented in eight countries while maintaining a global “system-wide” perspective. At its core, Giving for Change seeks to position local resource mobilization as a fundamental expression of civic participation, solidarity, and, where necessary, dissent.
The programme is being embarked upon against a global background of shrinking civil space, democratic backsliding, and an increased climate of hostility towards minority groups and the organizations that defend their rights. Through a combination of community level, national and global activities, Giving for Change will foster, promote and highlight new kinds of democratic and participatory approaches to giving using the framing of community philanthropy – which are aimed at building a broad base of citizens recognizing and claiming their own rights and the rights of others, and holding governments and other power holders to account.
Centering local assets, local voices, and the essential role of trust as a driver of social change, the programme will also seek to address systemic power imbalances and shortcomings within the international development system itself by advocating for and modeling new, more equitable practices and approaches that build local power and that mark a shift away from top-down, short-term methods.
Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its Strengthening Civil Society - Power of Voices programme, this is the first investment of this size and scale by a bilateral funder in the community philanthropy field and it builds on more than 20 years of experience and practice with deep roots in the Global South.
Community Philanthropy as a Development Approach
Community philanthropy is based on the premise that all communities have their own assets (money, skills, knowledge, networks, etc.). When these are pooled together, they build community power and voice. By contributing their own resources, people start to feel like co-investors with a stake in their own development and become more invested in acting in ways that advance and protect their collective interests and rights. At the same time, community philanthropy enables horizontal forms of accountability to emerge, based on trust, mutuality and transparency.
About the Programme
Programme activities focus on three core areas:
- At community level: Giving for Change using action research, peer learning and small grants, promotes community philanthropy as a strategy that builds local assets, agency and trust, and which enables communities to harness, organize and leverage their resources in pursuit of local priorities and development objectives and to engage other actors (government, private sector, international development actors) from a position of voice and power.
- At the national level: Giving for Change seeks to influence state and other actors to support the development of community philanthropy as part of a national development strategy, whether by creating an enabling environment for giving or through the creation or strengthening of multi-stakeholder networks and alliances.
- At the global level: Giving for Change engages in sector-wide dialogues and debates within the philanthropy and international development system both as a strategy for influencing but also with a view to developing or helping to shape new, more equitable, partnerships that both shift power and resources closer to the ground and support community philanthropy to flourish.
The Giving for Change Alliance
The Giving for Change Alliance is led by the Africa Philanthropy Network, Global Fund for Community Foundations, Kenya Community Development Foundation and Wilde Ganzen Foundation working with the following anchor partners:
Brazil: Rede de Filantropia para a Justica Social (The Brazilian Network for Social Justice Philanthropy), CESE
Burkina Faso: Association Burkinabé de Fundraising (ABF)
Ethiopia: Development Expertise Center (DEC)
Ghana: STAR Ghana Foundation, West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI)
Kenya: Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF, also consortium member)
Mozambique: Micaia Foundation
Palestine: Dalia Association Uganda: Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF)