The Big Issues and What to Do About Them

November 30, 2007
Alliance magazine, April 2008.

Jeanne Elone, a program associate at TrustAfrica, is one of seven young leaders in the philanthropic sector who are featured in an article in Alliance magazine. It reads in part:

One of the plenary sessions at the forthcoming Council on Foundations Philanthropy Summit will focus on the big issues facing the future of philanthropy, with delegates voting to select their own ‘hot’ topics. Alliance asked a group of young philanthropic sector leaders fromdifferent parts of the world to cast their votes in advance and outline the key issues for philanthropy in their country or region. It also asked them for their views on partnership and leadership—two of the Summit’s main themes. Finally, it asked them whether problems of the magnitude of poverty and climatechange are just too big for philanthropy to tackle.


Africa: from short-term support to long-term, transformative investment

As philanthropic initiatives on the continent grow and expand, the challenge will be to move beyond punctual and short-term support to long-term investments for transformative social change,’ notes Jeanne Elone of TrustAfrica. Africa’s problems require long-term support and can’t be divided into neat project packages, she says.

Among the individual challenges she identifies is the absence of international foundations. Many foundations operating in Africa do so from overseas, which ‘categorically excludes agenda-setting from people on the ground’. International foundations, she feels, need to ‘make space for African leadership and support African philanthropic institutions. They are the ones with a direct stake in the continent and are best suited to lead development efforts, yet their voices are too rarely heard in shaping the initiatives of international philanthropic institutions.’

Another issue is a lack of organizational capacity among NGOs, either caused or exacerbated by the lack of core funding. Elone also criticizes what she calls the ‘lone ranger’ approach that many funders adopt, working in isolation from other agencies and replicating projects funded by others. Finally, Africa’s legal and regulatory environment is an impediment to the continent’s philanthropy.

Read the complete article (pdf) in our Publications database.


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