#ShiftThePower, Weaving New Power and Practice in the Global South

  • The ShiftThePower Fellowship has announced its inaugural cohort of 12 Fellows from Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Philippines, Spain, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  • The fellowship will drive innovation, participation, and action around practices in community philanthropy and community-led development as a means to truly shift current power dynamics in international development, especially for southern civil society

In June 2022, Global Fund for Community Foundations & Root Change announced the inaugural cohort of the 2022 #ShiftThePower Fellows Program – a movement of individuals and organizations redefining power practices, amplifying community philanthropy, and community-led development.

The diverse cohort of 12 Fellows bringing expertise and unique experiences include:

Together, the cohort and the organizations they represent will act as weavers. Bringing to the ShiftThePower movement reflections, action, and voice to mobilize newer forms of practice, especially within community philanthropy. Further sifting through bad practices in philanthropy and development aid, strengthening local practices and innovations in grassroots and community-led work, and partnering to build new models of philanthropy.

Philanthropy Circuit’s strategic approaches to building the narrative of African philanthropy have led to a focus on shifts in resource flow, locally-led giving, and cultivating new paradigms for development aid and practice. Over the past two years, in engaging with the Rights CoLab RINGO project, there have been strides in co-creating prototypes for international development. Also, within networks such as WINGS and Catalyst 2030, much focus has been placed on facilitation and support to create an enabling environment and build social entrepreneurship in Africa and the global south. As part of the next steps, we look to build dialogue and foster collaborations within communities of  practice around ShiftThePower movement and the  manifesto for change

Already much conversation is spinning around the ShiftThePower movement. Anticipation in acting collectively to build an understanding of musings, analysis, and strategy that could give way to faster adoption and outcomes. In reflection, that which once was strange is increasingly becoming familiar and must now sit with us at the table.

Current international dialogue reveals themes of decolonisation, localisation, power dynamics, racism, competitive funding cycles, narrative forming, reimagining southern civil society, diversity – equity and inclusion (DEI/EDI), language/taxonomy, the shrinking civic space, systems change, dialogue and actionable outcomes. These issue areas (and several more) are part of what is to be untangled in the quest for a global Good society.

“The guiding principle of the good society is social justice, the ethical core of which is greater equality.
Everybody with access to the resources to lead a fulfilling life, with equal civil, political, and social rights and the means to exercise them.
Sufficient income and wealth to meet essential needs and live a secure and dignified life.
Meaningful time free from employment and unpaid labor.
The conditions in which their health can flourish.
Environmental security.
And recognition and respect which confer self-esteem.”

While we work to implement the change we seek, we acknowledge what might be a long process. One that best involves mobilizing local civil society actors, community foundations, donors, networks, and key development stakeholders willing to reimagine new ways of growth, establish partnerships, and institute better practices. 

“Large-scale problems do not need large-scale solutions: they require small-scale solutions within a large-scale framework”

David Fleming

For more information on the ShiftThePower Fellowship – funded by Giving for Change, and how to be part of the growing movement connect with the Global Fund for Community Foundations and Root Change. To find out how we can work together to resource and mobilize community foundations and community-led development in Africa, contact [email protected].

The narrative we seek to critically amplify is inspired by the good work and generosity of local philanthropists within their communities in the region. Are you doing amazing work within your community? Do you identify as a community foundation? Share your stories and contribute to shaping the narratives of African philanthropy! 

By: Eme Iniekung, Program Coordinator, Philanthropy Circuit

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