How can donors empower grassroots change? New research explores


Alliance magazine


A new study from Bridgespan identifies five mindsets and pathways that NGOs and donors throughout Africa and India can adopt to support communities aiming to solve their own socio-economic challenges.

Over the past decade, there has been a growing recognition across the social sector that community-driven change increases the odds of achieving impact that lasts, not least because the community feels a sense of ownership, according to a new paper by The Bridgespan Group. So how might other NGOs and funders begin to lean into community-driven change and adopt the mindsets and pathways that can effect sustainable social change?

To learn more about how this kind of ground-up, community-driven change comes to life, a Bridgespan team spent several months researching and interviewing community-driven change NGOs that work in urban informal settlements in India and Africa. They focused on four NGOs: Mumbai-based CORO; Mumbai-based Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA); Kenya’s Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO); and, Ubuntu Pathways, which works in South Africa’s Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) township.

‘Our intent is not to lay out a blueprint for community-driven change or to make community-driven change appear easy to do. Rather, we want to present insights so that NGOs and funders – as well as other actors looking to participate or invest in community-driven change efforts – can make more informed decisions on what might work best for them. This report identifies some emerging and critical signposts that might guide, not direct, others’ efforts’, said Venkatachalam’s co-author and partner in Bridgespan’s Johannesburg office Jan Schwier said.

Read the full report at

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *