In his report from the African Grantmakers Network Assembly in Arusha, Yves Niyiragira (Fahamu) highlights grassroots initiatives that seek to promote agro-ecological policies for food security and sovereignty in Africa, calling on major grantmakers for their support. “How do we help to amplify the voices of rural women farmers who promote agro-ecological farming so that their message is heard all over the world?”
Space for civil society has been closing around the globe, with a noticeable rise in restrictive laws and pushback by state and non-state actors. In mid-June, Ariadne, the European Foundation Centre, and the International Human Rights Funders Group convened an international group of funders for a two-day workshop to develop strategies to counter this trend.
Brad Smith (Foundation Center): “Inequality is an inescapable fact of our world: while extreme poverty in many regions of the globe may be declining, recent research suggests that the gap between rich and poor is fast becoming a growing threat to peace, economic prosperity, the environment, public health, democracy and just about any other major challenge you can name. Indeed, one of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals developed by seventy nations (with the direct participation of 7.5 million people around the world) is to ‘reduce inequality within and among nations.’ So, why don’t more foundations embrace the term?”
Community foundations take a special role in long-term rehabilitation work following natural disasters, but as Avila Kilmurray (GACP) suggests, they are often not seen as international partners. “No one is better situated to make this long-term commitment than community foundations, but they are often left out of international relief efforts.”
Otar Makharashavili (Bolder Giving) reports on a recent webinar cohosted with WINGS, as part of the organization’s Global Givers Initiative, which aims to advance philanthropic giving by promoting donor awareness and action in Southeastern Europe through donor storytelling. “The lack of trust in civil society and the NGO sector in general continues to be the biggest roadblock for groups working on local individual philanthropy promotion.”
Caroline Hartnell (Alliance magazine) reports from the 26th EFC Annual Conference in Milan, focusing on 2015 as a critical year for change. “European foundations have a responsibility to recognize that what is needed now is not system maintenance and recovery; it is system innovation, redesign and transformation.”
Laurence Lien, former CEO of NVPC, on his latest venture, the Asia Philanthropy Circle. “We hope to mobilize philanthropists in Asia, for the purpose of learning, sharing, exchange and joint action.”