Earlier this year I met a group of collaborators who are all working on and for a community philanthropy model. When they described to me what they were doing I got really excited. Why? Well, for starters, I was schooled in the core principles of community-driven development right at the start of my career, and have held these values dear ever since. It was these values that led me to Comic Relief, as I saw in its grantmaking a deep commitment to ensuring that community and the people who live with poverty and injustice should be setting priorities.
A further reason for my excitement is that it is a very different resource mobilization model. The idea is that community members pool some of their own resources, however small, in a community-managed fund, then other investors also contribute to the pot. This approach has the potential to do a number of positive things.
In Uganda, a community celebrates the completion of a clinic that received funding from Comic Relief.
First, to generate local domestic resources and reduce dependency on external funds, devolving power and getting resources closer to the ground – putting fuel in the tank of locally-driven development. Second, to really deepen community engagement and ownership of decisions on development interventions and investments. There is nothing like having your own cash to ensure you take an active interest in how it is used.