Impact of new approaches needs to be demonstrated

Anna Wansbrough-Jones

The December issue of Alliance focused on the topic of community philanthropy and the concept of ‘durable development’ – shifting power closer to the ground and giving agency to local people and their organizations. Here, Anna Wansbrough-Jones responds to Sean Lowrie’s article ‘Never mind control, think about impact’.

In the last issue of Alliance Sean Lowrie of the Start Network highlighted how international aid should re-focus its work around impact, eg re-prioritizing ‘lives saved and suffering spared’. At the World Humanitarian Summit and since, aid recipients and humanitarians alike have pushed for changes in international aid systems and structures, and for a realignment of power, to ensure a focus on impact.

To me, the points relating to donors remain the core challenge: how will donors be convinced to give up power, and change compliance standards, in a context where expectations and scrutiny of them has increased, and where citizens in many donor countries are demanding increased evidence of accountability, impact and value for money?

Identifying non-traditional donors and building funding from within communities themselves (with the community philanthropists) are valid options. Yet I question if they alone will be enough.

Next Letter to read

Strengthening the bonds of civil society

Aimi Zhou and Ine Van Severen