Adeso’s aim is to help build a Global South that does not depend on foreign aid, but rather is self-determining and emboldened to utilize resources and skills from within.

Adeso is committed to decolonizing aid at all levels and across all stakeholders. We have designed a portfolio of solutions to eliminate existing funding barriers and influence the sector – from philanthropy, to the INGO community, to bi-laterals – to radically change their practices and approaches to giving. We are re-imagining and reshaping the future aid system to one that is formed on the principles of solidarity, self-determination and equality.

Decolonizing Aid with INGOs: The Pledge for Change 2030

Recognizing the large role International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGOs) play in humanitarian aid and development assistance– and their ability to take immediate action and affect large-scale change – Adeso convened the leaders of a set of large INGOs and challenged them to re-imagine their roles through the lens of a paradigm shift in how global aid operates.

Pledge for Change 2030: was launched in October of 2022, where bold INGOs and their leaders made public commitments to shift the power more directly to local organizations in the Global South. They have pledged to reimagine their roles in three main areas: Equitable Partnerships, Authentic Storytelling and Influencing Wider Change. In April 2023, we had an in-person CEO retreat in Nairobi with signatories and supporters of the pledge coming together to set-up an accountability mechanism that will be used as a strong foundation towards tangible change for years to come.

Decolonizing Philanthropy

There are real challenges to getting funds to the world’s first responders and last mile organizations. With goals of funding going more directly to the people closest to the world’s most pressing challenges, we have yet to see significant, catalytic funds – and the decision making process that guides them – shift to local civil society organizations in the global south. The Proximate Fund for Africa: is a global pool of funds that helps create the infrastructure that is needed to fund local civil society organizations at scale. By co-creating this pivotal mechanism, the Global North and Global South philanthropies can move money closer to where the challenges and the solutions to solve them are. In ideation stage, our goal is to co-design this transformative fund in 2023 and launch it in 2024.

With the success that Adeso has seen in shifting rhetoric and practice with INGOs through the Pledge for Change journey, Adeso sees interest and momentum to create a similar space for foundation leaders in the philanthropy space.

Adeso has led various meetings with foundations and organizations facilitating dialogue to move towards a more decolonized approach to philanthropy. We are also creating a donor education curriculum for decolonizing global funding, reconsidering how decisions are made and funds are allocated with the aim to change the status quo in the global philanthropy sector.

Decolonizing Aid through Bi-laterals and Multi-laterals

Adeso has seen some success in shifting rhetoric and practice with INGOs and philanthropies but the largest amount of humanitarian and development assistance comes from governments through their bi-lateral funding mechanisms. This component of the system is the most complex to change but there are new openings to exploit. As a local organization that has received funding from various bi-lateral donors, including USAID, Adeso has great understanding of the barriers that exist within this complicated machinery in its effort to develop relationships with local organizations Adeso is supporting USAID’s commitments to locally led development and is advocating for more direct funding to local civil society organizations.

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