April 30, 2020 Engagement Opportunity

Funding Systems Change: A Webinar for Practitioners

Option A: April 30, 9:30 – 11:00am CEST: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIuduqorDksHNNYN09hmIbs3XrKYLC5AdZv

Option B: April 30, 5:00 – 6:30pm CEST: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYqfuyqrjsrE9PiG0P1a5UPQqPdFUojarVI

Skoll World Forum

The Skoll World Forum convened online this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 300 participants gathered via webinar to hear from Catalyst 2030 partners about Embracing Complexity, a new report by funders and practitioners outlining why and how philanthropy should adapt to support systems change.

Tostan CEO Elena Bonometti presented a practitioner’s perspective.

“We have now seen it in the field for nearly 30 years and heard it at the Tostan Training Center from hundreds of other grassroots leaders: lasting social change comes from holistic, community-led approaches that prioritize well-being. Yet despite best intentions of all involved, we keep seeing funding approaches fail to create conditions for this transformation to occur.

Here’s an example we at Tostan encounter often. Many organizations care about making an impact on the African continent, but current systems and beliefs hold them back from investing in the capacity of local communities to understand their challenges, to identify the solutions and to transform their own conditions.

This dominant narrative that communities need someone external to tell them what to do may not be true in our hearts, but it is reflected in the policies, procedures, and measurements of success from many efforts across the world.

And the systems that hold these notions – the ones that need to change – are inhabited by people who may also want to change them. But making change at the individual level can be very hard and many people will decide that group belonging – or keeping their job! – is more important.

One example of the risks associated with choosing social belonging over well-being is evident today during COVID-19. Communities need to shift the way they greet each other to prevent the spread of the virus. Many would rather shake hands than deal with the sanctions of being perceived as rude. Tostan leaders are at the forefront in rural West Africa, using well developed social networks to rapidly model new behavior in this moment. These are the kinds of community infrastructures that create conditions for rapid response and resiliency.

We are so honored to be part of Catalyst 2030, an inspiring group of innovators committed to shift the funding paradigm for system change approaches, and excited about the release of: Embracing Complexity, a new report that outlines how philanthropy can support systems change.

Embracing Complexity is a call to funders to align the incentives in their own community of practice with what will bring about greater well-being for all of us. To shift the status and incentives in that system to align with the complexity and scalability we need today.”

Excerpt from Embracing Complexity

Significant financial resources are dedicated to solving humanity’s most pressing problems. 22 of the largest philanthropic foundations worldwide provided more than USD 6.1 billion for development work in 20171; in that same year, total development assistance from public and private actors in the 30 members states of the OECD-Development Assistance Committee (DAC) amounted to USD 434 billion.2 However, solving these problems requires long-term support that goes beyond activity-based funding and approaches that tackle the root cause – i.e., approaches that aim to change systems. To make optimum use of the funds available, it is necessary to introduce the systems change approach to organizations involved in the sector and to share best practice insights.

This report is therefore a collaborative effort of funders, intermediaries, and systems change leaders who aim to send a signal to the social sector funding community – including philanthropists, foundations, impact investors, corporate donors, government agencies, and multilateral organizations – that current practices need to evolve to better support systems change leaders.

Systemic challenges require systemic answers, but currently the dominant funding practices are ill-suited to support them. Systems change leaders often struggle because current funding practices are often built to support short-term projects with clear, measurable results rather than collaborative, evolving approaches to create lasting change. 55 percent of the systems change leaders we surveyed disagreed when asked whether their funders provide sufficient support for systems change work.

Download the complete report: Embracing Complexity

Catalyst 2030

At the current rate of progress, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will only be achieved by 2094 according to the Social Progress Index – 64 years after the deadline set by the UN. The effects of this delay will be devastating for all 17 goals, especially the climate. In response to this impending crisis, Catalyst 2030 was conceived.

Transformative solutions exist and they are happening around the world. These lie in the individual works of leading social entrepreneurs and innovators. According to the Schwab Foundation Impact Study, a mere 130 entrepreneurs collectively reach 662 million people, providing many of the rights to which people are entitled under the SDGs. The power of their combined action and their partnership with other stakeholders has the power to create impact at huge, global scale, thereby catapulting the SDGs forward.

Together, these leading social entrepreneurs have formed Catalyst 2030, a collaborative movement of joint action along with key funders and intermediaries. Its aim is to build a broad, multi stakeholder movement to change systems and make a significant dent in the climate crisis, reduce poverty and have a positive impact on the lives of many.

Co-Creators Catalyst 2030

Aflatoun International, Agenda for Change, APOPO, Ashoka, Associação Saúde Criança, Barefoot College International, B-fit, Bioregional, Blue Ventures, BoP Hub, Child and Youth Finance International, Child Helpline International, COMACO (Community Markets for Conservation), Conservation for Community Markets (COMACO), CREN – Centre for Nutritional Recovery and Education, Crisis Action, Daily Dump – PBK Waste Solutions Pvt Ltd, Dia Dia, Digital Opportunity Trust, Dimagi, Dream and Dream, Echoing Green, Enda inter-arabe, Ethno-Medical Centre, Euforia, EYElliance, First Book, Friendship, Fundación Capital, Fundación Mi Sangre, Fundación Paraguaya, Glasswing, Goonj, Greenhope, Groupe SOS, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, High Resolves, Human Heart Nature, Independent advisor (Former “Inveneo and Everylayer/Surf”), Industree Foundation, Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia, IPE – Institute for Ecological Research, La Grande Terre, Landesa, Leadership Victoria, Lifeline Energy, Livox, Mozaik, MzN International, Nafham, Novartis, Nuru Energy, One Family Foundation, Operation ASHA, Oxford (Skoll centre), Oxford (Tahina), Peek Vision, PlanetRead, Play Verto, Poverty Stoplight, Recode, Riders for Health, Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Shonaquip SE, Sidai Africa Ltd, Silulo Ulutho Technologies, Skoll Foundation, Solar Sister, Stir Education, Street Football World, Study Hall Educational Foundation, Swayam Shikshan Prayog, TAAP, TechMatters, The Clothing Bank, The Front Project, The Wellbeing Project, Tostan, True Footprint, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Vision Spring, Water For People, Waves for Change, Whiz, Kids Workshop, Whole Child International, Wilderness Foundation, World Economic Forum, World Toilet Organization, Worldreader, Yoti