EAAG participated in the Wings Forum 2014 held on 27th – 30th March in Istanbul Turkey. Themed “The Power of Networks – Building a Connected Global Philanthropy” session discussions aimed to generate and share innovative ways of building a coordinated global philanthropy movement through effective networking, information sharing and enhancing exemplary leadership. Sessions profiled case studies, synthesized reports and experiences on best practices for effective philanthropy around the globe.
Network and relationship building for effective grantmaking, the value of quantifying giving through a globally coordinated, reliable and comparable approach to philanthropy research and the undeniable role of philanthropy in the global development agenda specifically, the Post 2015 development agenda were key messages from the event.
The session explored the evolving trends and diversity of philanthropy actors and practices drawing organizations, individuals and associations from different funding types, structures, cultures, interests, and ideologies from continents. Africa was fairly represented by 27 participants, 15 of whom were EAAG members.
2014 Participating members
East Africa had the opportunity to share experiences on local philanthropy in a session themed “Scaling up African Philanthropy: Case Studies from East, West and Southern Africa’’. The session was coordinated by African Grantmakers Network (AGN) and East Africa Association of Grantmakers (EAAG). Session participants from East Africa included the Safaricom Foundation, the Kengen Foundation, Akiba Uhaki Foundation, the Foundation for Civil Society, the Tanzania Gatsby Trust and Allavida’ East Africa among others.
Participants had an opportunity to share African Philanthropy narratives and their composition, values, motivation, operating environments, actors and support structures. Guided by AGN’s “Sizing the Field” Report, discussions underscored the prevalent horizontal and informal forms of giving while acknowledging the challenges that came with unstructured architecture in measuring magnitude, value and impact of philanthropy in development. Although largely unstructured, Community philanthropy was identified as the most prevalent form of giving in Africa with indications of an incremental rise in institutionalized corporate and family philanthropy.
The discourse on increased opportunities for the growth and impact of African philanthropy was a key session highlight. One significant shift has been the unprecedented economic growth of the African middle class and subsequent emerging set of high-net-worth individuals the continent is witnessing, and how this phenomenon is reconstructing unplanned giving into structured individual philanthropy. Second has been the rise of reliable technology including mobile money and its transformative effects on fundraising mechanisms especially in East Africa. Third is the increase in responsiveness by communities particularly around development resources in the region, evidenced by increasing endowment development and innovative community organizing models that are leveraging other forms of giving within and outside community environments. Foundations such as the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) were applauded for pioneering a continental best practice model for community resource mobilization and management.
Session summary contributions from participants showed that despite its massive growth adequate documentation on philanthropy is still lacking. The benefits of organized philanthropy, networking and partnership are significant but without a supporting operating environment, transparency and accountability, African philanthropy is the region is endangered.
For more outcomes from the convention, please visit http://www.wingforum.org .
The WINGS forum is held after every four years. The next conference will be held in Mexico in 2018.