Building Civil Society
We work to nurture and support local civil society leaders with the capacity and vision necessary to make real change. Through our partnerships we are developing high quality schools that promote academic excellence. The best students from these schools can apply to one of our university scholarships. Their development is supported after university through an alumni organisation, which encourages information sharing and collaboration.
We recognise that academic education is not, in itself, sufficient to develop civil society. Our programmes instil civil society values in our students. From school, right through to university, the young people who participate in our programmes are active in volunteering, campaigning and working for change.
The FFF believes in systemic development. Currently too much aid is spent on programs which do not have a lasting impact. Partly, this is because too many NGOs, charities and other organisations doing international development work in silos. They often operate within their own sphere of specialisation – education, health, gender, and so on – and are not incentivised to collaborate.
But a greater problem is lack of systemic vision. Too often development work is focused on short or medium term goals or processes rather than supporting broader social and political change. Schools are built but do not equip their students to change their societies or are located in areas where the nutrition or health scenario impedes the capacity of students to learn. Girls are educated but their potential is blocked by lack of opportunity and intolerant cultural practices. Health projects are implemented but they are not linked to the education or economic programmes that can address the poverty and poor governance which cause sickness.
The strategic goals of FFF partnerships are to address the root of development problems. The Foundation focuses its programming on contributing to the development of states and societies that uphold, nurture and promote positive universal human values.
Sadly, the barriers building civil society and establishing quality education in many developing countries are not limited to lack of resources or capacity. The FFF also accepts that philanthropy alone will never be the answer to the world’s myriad of problems. Indeed, perhaps more than philanthropy, politics holds the real answers. This view informs the second prong of our approach. In more wealthy parts of the world, instead of working on traditional charitable projects we support academics, activists and NGOs advocating for political and social change in the way we manage and govern our planet.