Exploring Opportunities and Challenges for Providing Direct Funding to Local Health NGOs in East Africa
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CitationStoddard, Gretchen. 2019. Exploring Opportunities and Challenges for Providing Direct Funding to Local Health NGOs in East Africa. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
AbstractThe DELTA Project informs the IZUMI Foundation’s new grantmaking strategy to provide direct philanthropic funding to local health NGOs in East Africa. A recent report on philanthropic giving by US foundations estimated that of the 35.4 billion USD awarded for international giving between 2011-2015, only 1.1% (381.8 million USD) was awarded directly to local organizations (Needles et al., 2018). Although significant to the local organizations that received the funding, compared to the overall funding awarded, this nearly negligible amount is at odds with the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) emphasis on empowering local organizations, leaders, and institutions to lead social change within their countries. In parallel to the lack of funding for local organizations, a dearth of research exists on global philanthropic funding and on East African, grassroots health organizations.
To address the DELTA Project research question, what are the opportunities and challenges for proving direct funding to local health NGOs in East Africa, a series of exploratory, qualitative interviews were conducted. Eighteen interviews were conducted in-country with local organizations in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. Additionally, eleven interviews were conducted with US- and European-based foundations working in global health in Sub-Saharan Africa. The interviews explored attitudes, beliefs, and practices related to providing philanthropic funding to local organizations in East Africa.
Interview results were analyzed using a qualitative framework analysis to identify developing themes. Six overarching themes emerged from the interviews, with dozens of pertinent sub-themes revealed; themes were further synthesized into opportunities and/or challenges. From the opportunities and challenges, five recommendations were developed to inform IZUMI Foundation’s funding strategy implementation.
The DELTA Project adds exploratory, qualitative data to the growing philanthropy field and may spark critical reflection, or serve as an insightful resource, for other funding organizations interested in supporting locally-led social change. While many diverse partnerships are needed to achieve the SDGs, the field needs risk-taking institutions leading the way, to grow collaborations directly with local change-makers. Building an evidence base for the effectiveness of this form of philanthropy will allow other funders and institutions to consider working directly with grassroots/local NGOs in East Africa and around the world.
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