Movements are critical for building trust 


Ame Trandem


The Plastic Solutions Fund is a new Philea member, and at this, our first Philea Forum, my colleagues and I were excited to dive into the theme of “Trust and Philanthropy.” Trust is at the core of our theory of change and with elections across the continent and beyond, trust made for a timely theme.

The civil society organisations that I work with tackling the plastic pollution crisis in Europe are grappling with eroding trust in public institutions, shrinking space for civil society and the threat that the EU’s Green Deal and climate ambitions will weaken from shifts in political power. The forum provided a valuable space to explore strategies to strengthen philanthropy’s role in building trust and democracy across many of these issues.

I particularly remember Sevda Kilicalp, Head of Research & Knowledge Development at Philea, speaking about the symptoms and stages of democratic backsliding, which included growing socio-economic inequalities, disinformation and populism. Rebuilding trust won’t be easy but promoting solution-focused narratives and investing more in movement building emerged as important means of catalysing meaningful and lasting change.

The Plastic Solutions Fund has been supporting the global Break Free From Plastic movement since its birth in 2016. The movement has grown to 125 civil society organisations in Europe alone across 37 countries; part of a global movement of more than 3,000 worldwide. Together, their power has enabled them to focus on many of the approaches the Forum covered: shifting narratives; driving policy changes at the local, regional and global levels, strategic litigation and debunking misinformation. Even as shifting political landscapes throw hurdles their way, I am confident in the movement’s ability to navigate them. Resiliency, which comes from the movement’s diversity, as well from commitments to building trust and agency within its membership, will enable them to find new solutions pathways.

I was also pleased to see the Forum’s focus on building trust between philanthropy and partners.  It is heartening that, like the Plastic Solutions Fund, other funders are showing trust by making long-term commitments, as well as core funding, to their partners. This is key to giving organisations confidence to think long term and aim for the deeper systems changes needed to revitalise European communities.  But as Latanya Mapp, President and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, said, “Trust is not just talking about it, but doing it.” This is a challenge for philanthropy to take seriously as we shift further power to the sector.

Leaving Ghent after the Forum, I have confidence that more funders are embracing the opportunities provided by building greater trust between philanthropy and partners and that by doing so we will be better able to address the challenges we are facing. I also look forward to applying the lessons from the Forum in support of my partners’ work to end plastic pollution.

Ame Trandem is the European Program Manager at the Plastic Solutions Fund, an international funder collaborative.

Tagged in: PhileaForum2024

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Jose Kalathil

Do you have any activity in India?

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