Niamani MutimaAfrican NGOs Want Foundations to Recognize Two-Way Learning Opportunities

By: Niamani Mutima In: Global Philanthropy

8 Jun 2011

The Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group (AGAG) recently released the summary report “Making the Right Fit:  Supporting NGOs in Africa Using Direct and Indirect Funding.” In it, African NGOs offer feedback about the benefits of receiving funds directly from foundations versus through intermediary organizations.

One benefit is the two-way learning opportunities. “Foundations should not underestimate the importance of the learning that happens and goes both ways,” one NGO shares in the report. “NGOs see the value in their relationship with foundations beyond the financial support; it is an opportunity to engage with and learn from foundations.”

The report also notes that frank discussions are opportunities for grantees, intermediary organizations, and foundations to learn more about how each operates in their respective environments. This is especially important when the foundation does not have an in-country presence or has limited opportunities for interaction. Legal environments also vary from country to country, so NGOs might not be aware of restrictions on cross-border giving.

The report reveals that foundations have many reasons for choosing one funding method over another. If funders are restricted to using one method, awareness of the benefits of both can help inform their strategies. 

The study is not meant to be exhaustive but rather to illustrate key issues. AGAG hopes the report will encourage African NGOs, intermediary organizations, and foundations to consider the benefits of direct and indirect funding in strengthening their partnerships. 

Read the summary report and start a conversation. If you’re involved in grantmaking, explore your options to ensure you’re “making the right fit” for your grantmaking strategy.  

Niamani Mutima is executive director of Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group, a project of the Tides Center, which promotes increased and more effective funding in Africa though building and sharing knowledge about grantmaking in Africa.

1 Response to African NGOs Want Foundations to Recognize Two-Way Learning Opportunities

Jennifer Lentfer

July 18th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

It’s great to see that “how funding is received does make a differ-
ence for national NGOs in Africa” is an important conclusion which is being taken seriously within philanthropy. My blog, is devoted to this idea and how it relates to putting real resources behind local means of overcoming obstacles. Please feel free to visit!

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