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.

There are barriers to change that are political and these require focused and strategic efforts at influencing International Nongovernmental Organizations, philanthropy and bi-lateral donors.

Decolonizing Aid with INGOs: The Pledge for Change

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.

Since early 2021, the leaders of the Pledge for Change coalition have worked to develop a series of public commitments in three key areas – Equitable Partnerships, Authentic Storytelling and Influencing Wider Change – to move toward a decolonial and anti-racist system. They will make their Pledges for Change public by the end of 2022.

Decolonizing Philanthropy

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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