The problem is, with some exceptions, the majority of philanthropy treats symptoms - by providing and doing - rather than activating solutions with people. Philanthropy also has its stuck paradigms; such as focussing on grants as a foundation’s most important product; that philanthropy should support only proven approaches; or that funders shouldn’t take controversial positions; and many others.
But as the demands of the world shift so rapidly, Philanthropy needs to challenge these assumptions, ask whether they are still valid, and look at how to flip these totally or partially. Fortunately, some innovative foundations have begun questioning these orthodoxies, and are leading the way to providing a new culture and the appropriate revised practices within philanthropy.
One of our chosen routes as a Foundation is to catalyse eco-systems amongst the role players in various sectors. Often NGO’s or Social Entrepreneurs (or Foundations) operate separately in similar systems or initiatives, competing for support and resources, when cooperating within these systems with a common cause would be far more effective.
Our trajectory and willingness to challenge the status quo and operate outside of orthodox convention has linked us directly into a number of global forums with large and small foundations - from Cape Town to Oxford and Dubai to Geneva and New York - with some of the groups now working to shift paradigms and methods of engagement. The groups are agreeing that we need to look deeply and honestly at the state of development in the modern world, and realise that the methods used to enable individuals, education institutions and communities are out of touch and in the main unrealistic – often even unsympathetic to the actual needs of each situation.
What we need is A Revolution in Development to shift paradigms and methods of engagement, shifting our veils of understanding and beliefs, and engage deeply with people across the spectrum in each country and region directly to ensure that the needs and perspectives of all are heard.