By Ceri Davies
On August 25th 2016 a meeting was held at the UN House in Lusaka, Zambia - the first concerted effort to bring together the various local and global foundations operating in the country. The aim of the meeting was to introduce the philanthropic sector to Agenda 2030, promote the benefits of the SDG Philanthropy Platform and further our understanding of the landscape of philanthropy in the country. Approximately 16 local organizations, many of them grantees, attended the meeting, working on a variety of thematic initiatives including addressing the problem of growing inequality.
The overall theme of the meeting was information sharing and enhanced understanding, which is in line with the goals of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. An engaging presentation on the SDG framework, opportunities for philanthropy, and an overview of the SDG Philanthropy Platform was made at the meeting. Organizations present expressed their appreciation of the comprehensive presentation and were keen to learn more. In an effort to make sure everyone was aligned, a participant asked, “What is the definition of philanthropy?” This was answered by the group, combining different aspects and ideas of what constitutes ‘philanthropy.’
The UN Resident Coordinator’s Office delivered a succinct presentation on the Zambia - UN Sustainable Development Partnership Framework (2016-2021), to further the understanding of the organizations on the framework that guides the UN’s partnership with the government of Zambia and frames broad areas in which the UN and the government will partner on for the next 5 years. Key to this framework is developing new partnerships across sectors to achieve transformation.
To add a more concrete and tangible dimension to the discussion, highlights from other pilot countries were presented and discussed. Organizations were interested to see the achievements from other countries and the diverse nature of the platform in each country. A participant found it interesting that each pilot country focuses on a specific theme and indicated that choosing a theme in Zambia must fit with the needs and challenges in-country and the themes already being addressed by foundations. To end the session, we discussed the value of the Platform to foundations and the role it should play. Participants stated that they saw great value in the Platform, especially for its value in including and amplifying the voice of philanthropy in development processes.
Ceri Davies is Research & Project Officer at the SDG Philanthropy Platform, Zambia