On 19-20 October 2004, 50 participants from international and local foundations, the Thai Government and the World Bank met in Bangkok to explore possible areas of collaboration in Thailand’s development agenda. It was the first in a series of Foundation-World Bank Country Dialogues being organized by the Bank’s Foundations Unit and the International Committee of the European Foundation Centre (EFC) in Brussels. The purpose is to explore ways that the Bank can work more effectively with philanthropic organizations.
The meeting was co-hosted by the World Bank’s Thailand Country Office and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Southeast Asia Regional Office.
The dialogue comprised two plenary sessions, followed by breakout sessions on poverty, education, HIV/AIDS, governance and environment. The first plenary was devoted to a discussion of Thailand’s National Development Agenda (NDA), while the second looked at the promotion of philanthropy and partnership in Thailand. Among other contributors, Senator Mechai Viravaidya, President of the Population and Community Development Association (PCDA), addressing approaches to sustainable fundraising for NGOs, stressed that NGOs should not depend on philanthropic efforts alone. They should also develop innovative fundraising approaches, redesign programmes to include cost recovery, and generate income through business activities.
The dialogue produced several recommendations on how the World Bank and foundations could work together:
¨ Information exchange such as an online database of foundations working in the region; expanding World Bank civil society meetings to include more local foundations; and more systematic dissemination of Bank research materials and publications.
¨ Promoting philanthropy The EFC could play a key role in advising on the creation of an enabling environment for local philanthropy and would work closely with the Thai Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (CPCS).
¨ Technical assistance This could include the Bank working with NGOs to develop business plans; the EFC providing training on best practice in grantmaking and evaluation; and the Bank making grant funding available specifically for the development of partnerships.
¨ Convening The World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation and CPCS could jointly act as coordinators for ongoing workshops.
¨ Engaging government The Bank could use its influence with government to promote and scale up successful civil society development initiatives to advocate for good governance in both public and private sectors.
¨ A regional model The dialogue could serve as a model for similar meetings in neighbouring countries and as a means of sharing lessons learned from Thailand’s development programmes.
The second in this series of dialogues recently took place in Brazil, in late February.
For more details about the Brazil meeting, see http://www.efc.be/2238