When summer did not follow the spring

Posted on 15 November 2017 | Global challenges, peace-buildingHuman rights, citizenship & democracySocio-economic development, poverty

Over a few months in 2012, a question came up among Christian Aid’s staff in Africa reflecting on the impact of the ‘Arab Springs’: Will a summer or a winter follow the spring? ‘Summer’ means democratisation spreading and deepening; ‘winter’, on the other hand, means repression retaliating with a vengeance, leading to severe constrictions of democratic space. While the democratic spring was reason to celebrate, the political weather forecast was bleak. Between January 2012 and October 2013, Civicus documented 413 threats and attacks on civil society in 87 countries. Ethiopia imposed new curbs on free speech, and froze the assets of human rights NGOs. Bills imposing further restrictions on civil society groups were filed in Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa, and many more. These legal restrictions underlay a context of increasing violence and physical attacks. It certainly seemed that winter was following the spring.

Is there a one-size-fits-all solution for foundations conducting due diligence on prospective grantees?

Posted on 24 October 2017 | Foundations' operations

When the IKEA Foundation started grantmaking back in 2010, there was no due diligence process, or organisational assessment as we call it. Neither was there much need; the first projects were inherited from IKEA’s social initiatives with large organisations like Save the Children, UNICEF and renowned universities. We signed agreements, requested the partners’ bank information and transferred the funds.

Civil Society under threat: why protecting and growing civil society globally is vital

Posted on | Foundations' operationsGlobal challenges, peace-buildingHuman rights, citizenship & democracy

The Barrow Cadbury Trust was set up by husband and wife, Barrow and Geraldine Cadbury, almost 100 years ago. We consider ourselves to be part of, as well as funders of, civil society and we still follow the old Quaker imperative (since adopted widely by others) of ‘speaking truth to power’. That’s something we can do more or less with impunity in the UK, but this is not of course the case in all areas of the globe.

Rethinking Poverty: What makes a good society?

Posted on | Diversity, migration & social inclusionHuman rights, citizenship & democracySocio-economic development, poverty

The title of this book, Rethinking Poverty – What makes a good society?, promises a theoretical treatise on the elimination, or reframing, of poverty and destitution in the UK. It turns out, however, to be an authoritative unpacking of why our collective approach to poverty has failed and suggests some straightforward, no-nonsense remedies for changing the mindset with which we grapple with poverty.

Wellbeing and social progress: using convening power to catalyse change

Posted on 16 October 2017 | Socio-economic development, poverty

Wellbeing is at the heart of what we do at the Carnegie UK Trust.  Our Trust Deed, written by Andrew Carnegie, was far ahead of its time in charging us with the duty to “improve wellbeing”.  At that time, 100 years ago, wellbeing was not a common form of words for the activities of charitable organisations.  So when the term began to be used as a way of understanding social progress in the 2000s, we took a particular interest.

Stand with us!: activists call funders to action

Posted on 25 September 2017 | GenderHuman rights, citizenship & democracy

In communities globally, feminist groups led by women, girls, and trans and intersex[1] people are collectively organising to make the world more peaceful, democratic and fair. At the same time, a rise in fascist ideologies, authoritarianism, and populist agendas in many parts of the world threatens their work for justice. Repressive agendas put fundamental rights and freedoms at risk and promote nativism, xenophobia and increased surveillance in the name of national welfare and security. In this political environment, state-sanctioned violence is on the rise, targeting migrants, Muslim people, Black communities, women and gender nonconforming people, and other marginalised groups.




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