Dr. Ben Ocra, Director of the Ghana Philanthropy Forum, discussed philanthropy trends in Ghana during an interview conducted by the Association of German Foundations. Ocra identified three ‘broad issues’ that will be at the forefront of Ghanaian philanthropy over the next 10 years: ‘Building knowledge and capacity on new trends in philanthropy… creating systems that will ensure sustainability… [and] a government policy framework that will strengthen the relationship between Ghana’s foundations, the philanthropy sector, and the government’.
Ocra explains that in Ghana, philanthropy in its traditional form can be defined as ‘charitable giving by indigenous individuals or locals’. In the future, he expects that the sector can develop by maximizing transparency, accountability, and trust in funder-fundee relationships.
Regarding philanthropy’s role in the future, Ocra comments, ‘Philanthropy should complement government actions in bringing development to its citizens. It must be seen as playing an integrated role in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. Philanthropy can also help solve the mounting unemployment situation by encouraging social entrepreneurship, supported by venture philanthropy.’
Ocra continues by identifying that philanthropy in Ghana will have a national focus in the future, rather than regional or global. ‘Ghana’s philanthropy will be nationally focused as it is emerging now, facing a reduction in external funding. It has not matured to the extent that it can impact the region or the continent. Ghana’s philanthropy is on the verge of discovering indigenous high net worth individuals who can make impactful donations to charity.’
Read the full interview here.
Dr. Ocra makes a good point about emerging trends in Ghana's philanthropy space that point towards creating systems that will ensure sustainability. An important example is an ongoing experimental collaboration between the African Institute of Philanthropy and its social enterprise partner Aistiphi Inc. Together these organizations are deploying innovations that have the potential to reshape Ghana's philanthropy space in the years ahead. The model is also being adapted for other countries in sub-Saharan AFrica. The core of the model is simple. As. Dr. Ocra explains, within the Ghanaian context and in fact within the sub-Saharan African context, "philanthropy in its traditional form can be defined as ‘charitable giving by indigenous individuals or locals." What Aistiphi and the its partner have done is develop innovations that target this brand of local 'philanthropy'. The kind of giving that come from businesses, nonprofits, alumni groups, religious organizations, clubs and associations, professional bodies, local celebrities, even schools and school children. The model established for Ghana uses the framework of a nationwide call to community service of sorts. All are summoned to do something, to give back. Aistiphi created official communities such as the Aistiphi Business League (corporate), Aistiphi Nonprofit Charities (for NGOs), Aistiphi Alumni Unlimited (for alums), Aistiphi Diaspora Communities (for organizations of citizens abroad), etc. They even established communities for schools and universities to encourage giving back across the school system in Ghana. Folks interested in seeing the model in action can find it on their website at http://philanthropy.space/ghana/. Aistiphi's model is promising and it has important implications for the practice of philanthropy in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa in the years ahead. It is important to highlight this contribution in discussions of current and future trends in philanthropy.