Shift the Power
Everyone in the aid sector talks about it: Shift the Power
But progress has been very slow, says the factsheet of the report below. Also in our own research End of 2022, we found out that most organisations are not yet taking action when it comes to Shift the Power.
Negative Perceptions as a root cause of inequalities
Attached report-factsheet (see below) provides proof of what is underneath: negative perceptions from northern-based organisations about their southern-based partner’s capabilities.
It’s what we felt, but seems always difficult to proof – and is the very reason why we started iMPACT direct.
According to this research, we have been participating in with RSS Foundation, almost 25% of the Private Development Initiatives have a negative perception about their partner organisation in Burkina Faso, Ghana or Kenya, almost 25% have an inconsistent perspective (i.e. say they want to work in an equal way, but take back control in trust-issues), and a bit more than 50% have a positive perspective about their counterparts.
The way we try to tackle root causes of inequality in development aid, and work towards a Shift of Power, include:
* First of all, having a mixed leadership and team that includes young people and people with an international background/experience on board, who want to share and learn from each other. (In comparison, leaders with a negative perception on southern-based partners are more often 65+ men without international background or experience, the report reveals.)
* Implementing trust-based partnerships, which includes supporting the NGOs’ plans (instead of them aligning to ours) and be open for conversation, questions and discussions. At least 3 times a year we discuss the partnership with our locally-led NGO-partners in an annual visit, and during 2 group discussions.
* Part of the support is Training, Mentoring and Matchmaking (amongst ourselves or with external experts), which is needed because in traditional aid partnerships many of our partners have never been encouraged to strategize, take the lead, or to develop the paperwork accordingly. We believe that in our 3-year partnership we are able to support each other (or with external experts) to build ownership and leadership towards true independence.
* And although the report mentions there is too much focus on finance in the Shift the Power debate, we feel it is a vital aspect to gain formal decision-making power, and that is why our locally-led NGO-partners are in the lead of their project and professionalisation budget.
Note: The above reflects our understanding of the report, and we hope to inspire others by sharing how we put shift the power into practice. However, we invite you to read the factsheet below yourself, as it gives so many great insights to work from!
And please feel welcome to share your thoughts at out LinkedIn discussion page.