Partnerships between non-profits, government agencies, foundations and private sector are key in delivering greater and more sustainable impact on people’s lives, as per UnitedNations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) #17 which is about”partnerships for the goals.” Partnering is the accelerator that all development actors need in order to be able to identify previously unimagined solutions to complex social problems.
Philanthropy has a critical role to play in achieving the 2030 Agenda agreed upon by the international community. Partnerships between foundations and governments hold strong potential to achieve greater impact in support of the 2030 agenda. Philanthropy has been seen to bridge the gap in developmental issues such as food security, health and education. For instance, following the COVID 19 pandemic various organizations from private sector, non-governmental organizations, public relations and advertising industries turned to philanthropy organizations for guidance in response and coordination to support governments in limiting the spread of COVID 19 infections through strengthening community awareness, resource mobilization and distribution. The decision to work with philanthropy organizations was due to the structures that have been put in place over time and the wide coverage within different communities/regions.
Philanthropy creates a critical mass to influence policies in the sector while advocating for an enabling environment. When cross-sector partnerships are forged, the sector speaks in one voice and therefore can influence and strengthen advocacy for an all-inclusive and supportive legal environment. For example, in Kenya, the philanthropy sector and the broader civil society came together to develop and have the Public Benefits Organization (PBO) Act published/gazetted into theKenya Law. This was a phenomenal achievement in the sector and demonstrated the power of collaboration for a common cause. There are plans to bring together the private sector foundations into this space to further push for the operationalization of the PBO Act.
Philanthropy provides financial and non-financial support that is often innovative, agile and quick. There has been a noted increase in innovative financing models for the philanthropy sector that address the challenges of co-investment in Africa.These conversations are aimed at addressing challenges such as navigating competition, building trust and aligning expectations around social impact, financial returns, governance among others.
Private sector and cross sector partnerships and collaborations have been instrumental in enhancing sustainability of the philanthropy sector through strategic resource mobilization. This has been demonstrated by increased collaborations especially in East Africa region between the private sector and foundations.For example, East Africa Business Council (EABC) linking Uganda and Tanzania disability funders working groups where in Tanzania, the Private SectorFoundation and the Confederation of Tanzania Industries CTI have collaborated to begin a project of supporting Small and Medium establishments run solely byPeople with Disabilities.
Through different forums (learning, membership forums, conferences), foundations are able to network with peers, share experiences, knowledge and information from different sectors and regions. This has led to an expanded knowledge, skills and expertise base from which other actors and stakeholders can draw lessons from. Additionally, there is a wealth of knowledge coming from research studies conducted at national, regional and/or global levels thereby enhancing increased understanding of the sector. These interactions and connections amplify organizations’ profile across the board, creating new avenues for new engagements/strengthening existing ones.
These kind of innovative solutions around private-public Sectors and/or cross-sector engagements are recognized by governments, multilaterals and bilaterals as allies in development. There lies opportunities and benefits for philanthropy in these partnerships and collaborations. Organizations, therefore, need to be strategic in partner selection, leverage on their existing strengths while ensuring that the partnership/collaboration is complementary to organization mission and values.