Shifting the Power Balance to the Global South

Event details
  • June 17th, 2021, 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM
  • Country: Online, United Kingdom


The devastating nature of the COVID-19 pandemic means that many large foundations in the Global North have pragmatically diverted some of their funding to the health sector even if this was not previously a core focus.

This shift has highlighted the historically unequal power dynamic between philanthropic organizations in the Global South and resource-rich foundations of the Global North. It has underlined the control foundations exert over the allocation of funding and removed the veil that concealed deep frustrations with established grant making practices. Grantees have increasingly found their voice and demanded faster disbursement and more unrestricted funding. Foundations in turn have been flexible, deviating from traditional practices, simplifying processes and responding more directly to the real needs of the frontline in the Global South.

As the Radical Flexibility Fund argue, donors could improve accountability further by assessing their assumptions and asking questions such as: “Did we help communities engage and solve their own problems? If not, why not?” and in so doing ensure the “community has the power to identify the goals of an intervention” and that donors thus enforced the rules and standards of the community rather than imposing their own.

This session will explore the pandemic-induced changed dynamic of philanthropy and how it can be encouraged, entrenched and lead to much greater scalable and sustainable impact.

About #ShiftThePower – Building a movement for change

The purpose of these seminars would be to explore the multiple elements that underpin this inequitable power dynamics in philanthropy with a view to:

Building a coherent and concise articulation of the power imbalance issue;
developing specific recommendations and actions that can serve to address the challenge;
aggregating the output of the seminars into a simple but powerful narrative; and,
developing specific actions to transformed #ShiftThePower into an advocacy movement.
The ultimate outcome of the seminars would be to build a robust and substantiated body of evidence that could be used to underpin the advocacy movement and that could equip the initial participating organisations with the tools required to trigger action.

It would serve to unite these organisations and, over time, to encourage other organisation to join the movement. Success would be judged by the shift in funding and engagement practices of Global North grant makers such that Global South grant recipients witnessed a radical improvement in their capacity, their resilience and in their input into global development policy at both local and international levels.

These outcomes would be defined by the participating organisation and evolved into clear metrics that could be used to track progress of the group.

Please use the form here to register for this event.

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