Impact is more than a buzzword


Zibran Choudhury


Pijar Foundation is a non-profit organisation that advocates the acceleration of a future-fit landscape against the backdrop of a rapidly shifting world and Indonesia’s ambitious goals, including Net Zero Emissions 2060 and Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Based in Jakarta and Jogjakarta, Pijar recognizes that changes require a catalytic environment. The organisation therefore seeks to foster change from all angles, by shaping minds, markets, and policies. We spoke to Cazadira Fediva Tamzil and Ferro Ferizka at the AVPN Global Conference 2022 to discuss their reflections.

What have been your reflections of the AVPN Global Conference 2022? Have there been any trends or themes that have emerged from your discussions?

We think a key theme has been an increasing awareness for philanthropy initiatives to be integrated with policies and coordinated with government officials to scale faster. The first step for big initiatives is to work together and find synergy, then the next step is to find ways to mainstream into government and international policies to achieve systems change.

We have an initiative under our future talent pillar called “Future Skills” that provides content delivered and designed by industry practitioners for university students nationwide. We coordinated with the Indonesian Government to maximise it, so we recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Civil Administration Agency to have three million Indonesian civil servants also use the content platform.

From this conference, we received a lot of interest to collaborate on the “Future Skills” platform because they see that the impact can reach university students nationwide and every Indonesian civil servant – the heart of Indonesia’s policymaking. We’re not just talking civil servants from one ministry, but the entire ecosystem of ministries in Indonesia, so it is a very instant way to create scaleable impact. We always seek to ensure that the platform’s content are up to date and can really push for social change.

You are building another platform called Global Future Talent Alliance (GFTA) to help close the global talent gap. Could you describe how the platform will do so?

The GFTA is meant to connect education innovators with potential resource providers, through a platform that seeks to reduce the time needed for paperwork so we can immediately get to action.

Here at the conference, we see a shared vision to make scalable impact within a very quick timeframe – not just minimal changes. Why is the platform significant? We spoke to international philanthropists and non-profits in the education space, and one of their biggest pain points is the time and paperwork required to curate initiatives out there that are worth backing.

Having a one-stop platform with a directory of curated initiatives would save time and cost. This platform can create a common language regarding our intended collective impact, so initiatives that misalign will not make it in the platform the very first place. We are ultimately about driving impact at the quickest timeframe, and through this conference we find a lot of organizations with a shared passion.

Impact investing is perhaps more prominent in Asia, what would your message be for philanthropic organisations on why they should adopt this framework of giving?

I think impact investment is different from just giving because you are essentially giving agency to the people that you want to help. Investors can provide the resources, but beneficiaries also have to do their part to help deliver something back – in our view, impact investment is about working together to create the largest impact.

In the education space, for example, there is currently a trust gap between public, private, and community actors, which impact investing can help bridge.

Pijar Foundation has a framework that speaks to this partnership model – something called ‘collaborative governance’. This framework calls for greater collective actions between public, private, and community sectors.

The need to invest in networks has been mentioned several times at this year’s conference. What’s your perspective?

Network exchange is good for accelerating dialogues. We can drive conversations between public, private, and community sectors to identify synergy areas, consolidate existing best practices, and work toward big, collective impact.

We see a slight fatigue on the word ‘impact’;, it’s become a buzzword. It’s very important for us to really show that impact is not just a buzzword – it’s actually something that can work for us both in the global North and South. We need to work together to drive initiatives that resonate with local contexts in which we deploy our initiatives.

One way forward when talking about deploying capital is making efforts to resonate with the people you’re looking to engage. Pijar sees its role as a table for partnerships between the North and the South, and between the Global South, involving those within and outside the philanthropy space. We want to create a space where people from different backgrounds can understand and bring to life these innovative concepts.

Zibran Choudhury is Communications, Partnerships & Membership Manager at Alliance magazine

Tagged in: #AVPN2022

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