How COVID-19 is shifting the North-South philanthropic power dynamic
In our recent study of 24 philanthropic organizations operating or based in the Global South—in particular the Middle East, Africa, and South East Asia—we interviewed more than 40 grant makers and grantees, and asked if and how the pandemic had changed their work. We then combined insights from these interviews with large amounts of secondary data, including industry reports, commentaries from sector experts, research data on grant giving, and industry webinars. Our findings clearly indicate a desire in the Global South to continue radically recalibrating traditional industry practices. There is a desire for faster decision-making that responds to locally defined needs, as well as less-restricted funding and more-efficient reporting requirements. Global South practitioners also suggested that making and sustaining these changes could help fill institutional voids that continue to hinder the effective disbursement of philanthropy in emerging markets. In particular, they expressed a renewed appetite for South-South collaboration, with a view to building strong peer networks, knowledge sharing, and collaborative funding initiatives. In this article, we elaborate on this changing dynamic, as well as show how some specific interventions can help institutionalize it and thus further empower the Global South.