Lessons: CSOs championing local giving to solve local challenges

Some of the participants from various organizations in a group photo during the philanthropic forum on catalyzing local giving at Four Points in Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam, July 21 2022. The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) partnered with the East Africa Philanthropy Network and the Tanzania Philanthropy Forum (TPO) to convene a meeting of philanthropic actors (“givers”) in Tanzania to share lessons on harness the power of communities in local resource mobilization and utilization for the growth of the giving movement in country.

In her opening remarks, the FCS Trust Limited Acting CEO and a champion of philanthropy (“giving”), Karin Rupia, urged givers to share their rich experiences attained through local giving and resource mobilisation. She highlighted her experience in local giving through the Giving Tuesday initiative – a global movement that celebrates giving in communities.

In 2016 FCS joined the Giving Tuesday global movement that celebrates generosity and inspires millions of people to give. Through the years, FCS has raised over TZS100 million, and collaborated with various local and international organsations and actors to give monetary and non-monetary resources to communities. Through the Giving Tuesday initiative, FCS has been able to raise funds for children’s surgery at Muhimbili National Hospital; conduct youth skills fairs at the University of Dar es Salaam and University of Dodoma, and purchase Preventive Protective Equipment (PPE) for the Medical Association of Tanzania during the COVID-19 pandemic. FCS is championing local giving. Society has the power to show up and address local issues.

She also urged givers to involve family members and friends in the giving movement. “Local giving is not just about offering financial resources, but also human resources.”

Marcelina David, founder of Kijana Jasiri in Dar es Salaam, is proof that local giving takes different forms and approaches as the organisation was able to impart entrepreneurship skills on youth and train them on resilience.

‘’We were among organisations trained by FCS on building community resilience.  Through the session, we learned about Giving Tuesday, and were inspired to hold a session to give back to the youth through youth capacity building. We didn’t have funds, but we leveraged online platforms and trained youth on resilience. Change begins with one change-maker. The youth have formed entrepreneurship groups and are creating awareness among themselves.”

Speaking on the East African context, Mike T. O’maera, EAPN Program Support Consultant, stated the importance of knowledge generation and dissemination as they enable givers to assess the best practices for the development of the philanthropic sector.  “Through the data generated, actors can advocate reforms in the operating environment, and laws and structures that philanthropic actors work in.”  He stressed the importance of documentation of giving stories, different forms of giving, and the importance of leadership processes that have systems meant to build future leaders who give back to communities.

The founder of the Doris Mollel Foundation, Doris Mollel, said her philanthropic journey began as dream to reality through her Miss Tanzania crown. She started to be offered free seats on Abood buses, free venues for holding giving campaigns, media publicity and donations from local companies.  Mollel said she is where she is today through determination, adding that local givers were offering material and psychological assistance to help take care of preterm babies and raise awareness.

Evans Okinyi, CEO of the East Africa Philanthropy Network, challenged stakeholders to generate knowledge on local giving, embrace partnerships as givers put communities first and use platforms such as EAPN to showcase what givers are doing.

Speaking at the forum, Prudence Glorious, the Chief Purpose Officer of PZG Impact Communications Firm, emphasised the power of strategic communications in communicating their impact and causes to stakeholders through traditional and social media.

While communicating your cause you need to be able to tell a story. It’s easier for people to relate to a story, especially one that is emotive. Connecting emotionally is how we build trust and relationships.

Know the challenges you are addressing and the difference your organisation is making – in numbers. You can pull those out while telling your story as you communicate to request for resources for your cause,” she said.

More than 50 civil society organizations that give back to society attended the forum.