What We Do
The communities and youth in our countries of focus face numerous complex socioeconomic challenges. To help tackle these issues the Foundation provides flexible long term grant and non-grant support, with a strong emphasis on developing the organisational capacity of civil society organisations and promoting the creation of non-traditional learning and economic opportunities for young people, building skills in innovation and entrepreneurship and supporting young entrepreneurs to develop sustainable social enterprises.
Our approach to partnerships has the following key elements:
Investing through flexible funding
We believe in the importance of investing in local organisations rooted in, and accountable to, their communities. By providing flexible funding to help them grow and develop, test their own ideas, and respond to needs as they identify them, they can prioritise their own resources in response to the challenges they identify in their evolving contexts and be more resilient and impactful.
Sustained support allows organisations to plan, to grow sustainably, and to have the confidence to test new ideas and approaches. Our typical partnerships last up to three years; however we also place great importance on developing relationships, collaborations and networks with our partners beyond the grant.
All organisations and individuals have the potential to grow, and we wish to support this. We earmark a minimum percentage of each grant that we provide for capacity development, identifying needs jointly with our partners. Capacity development may take a variety of forms, including organisational development or supporting the professional development of individuals within organisations.
Investing in new ideas and approaches
We are interested in supporting organisations and approaches that try to do things differently – such projects can be an invaluable source of learning with potential to have an impact well beyond that specific locality. We set aside around 10% of our programme budget to support innovative ideas and approaches.
We provide support that goes beyond the grant. This will be tailored to each individual partner, but we anticipate that it will include advice and support in networking and capacity building. We are keen to utilise the experience of previous partners, including the alumni of our past scholarship programmes; we will continue to explore ways to draw more on these resources.
We believe that issues impacting the development of the region require thoughtful, in-depth analysis, and that this should be widely shared to help the general public better understand the situation, inform civil society, and encourage policymakers to take properly informed action. We support or commission particular research where we think this will increase understanding of an issue.
We believe societies are stronger when everyone is equally involved – and that equal involvement is a fundamental right. We encourage our partners to pay attention to diversity and ensure that minority, gender and disability issues are thought about and addressed in their work, and give priority to organisations that encourage community cohesion.
Our past partners have appreciated projects in which we convened associates old and new – this is a powerful way to promote knowledge and skills sharing in the region, and spread effective best practices. We support specific convening projects or organisations, or occasionally convene partners ourselves, linking our partners and alumni around common themes to share learning suggest joint projects and solutions to the key challenges facing our countries of focus.
Our work is delivered through two main programmes, the Civil Society Programme (CSP) and the Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP). Information on these programmes can be found through the links below.