promoting increased & more effective funding in Africa
Imagine an African government with a desire to encourage connection, transparency and collaboration among their donors. Imagine a group of foundations who have chosen not to operate in silos, but instead to share their work, find synergies and combine their resources for wide and sustainable impact.
Such an office exists within the Government of Liberia. It is a pilot project based within the Office of the President and financially supported by private dollars, that embraces reporting and the tracking of outcomes. A tracking system available for the world to see (via the web), provides an avenue of accountability by the country’s citizens and the world at large.
During the recent AGAG retreat my colleagues questioned, fairly, the issues of sustainability, and whether or not being housed within the government will dampen the integrity of the project. I could be proven wrong, but because there are many players involved — not just those from private foundations– it reduces the likelihood. The office has connected with nonprofits working on the ground, individual donors, and other leaders within civil society. Instead of remaining anonymous, the funders of the project have created a grassroots movement to get others donors involved; to let the world know about the project with the hope it might be a replicable model.
For those of you questioning the accountability of the Liberia leadership, be reminded we are all accountable. You can’t simply question whether or not someone is accountable; you must also be willing to step up if you find that they are not. That responsibility now belongs to you as well.
Regarding sustainability, honestly, only time will tell. But the leadership within the government and those foundations involved are committed to nurturing the project over the remaining two years. Not just through funding, but also by helping develop relationships, systems, and when appropriate, stepping away (often difficult for us) to let the leadership lead.
And for those of you who continually question the authenticity of African leaders – choosing to lump all into the same proverbial barrel – chances are you have plenty of corruption to deal with on your own soil. Let this leadership be free to choose a path of integrity and innovation for their people.
Yvonne Moore is the Executive Director of the Daphne Foundation, a family foundation focused on the causes and consequence of poverty in New York City and in Western Africa. Her foundation is part of a three-year pilot project, The Philanthropy Secretariat, based within the Government of Liberia. The focus of the Secretariat is to connect foundations investing in the country’s re-development to help increase impact, sustainability and improve their connections to and between other foundations, government and civil society.