SOCAP24: Going Deeper, Catalyzing Systems Change — Tracks and Curation Councils Released!

Who dares to fund systems change?

Ian Randall Wasafiri

Funders seek social and environmental impact aligned to their values and interests. Their processes tend to prioritize measurable results for prescribed goals through direct implementation. Yet purpose-oriented funders are increasingly asking how their resources might catalyse greater systemic change. This requires a different approach, nurturing the conditions from which change emerges and creating equitable spaces for diverse stakeholders to unpack complex dynamics and act in concert on underlying issues. This is uncomfortable for funders, who must cede some control and shift to an emergent, long-term, and uncertain process.

Furthermore, complex issues are always underpinned by power disparities. If funders impose an external agenda on already disenfranchised communities, well-meaning money can perpetuate those disparities and crowd out local leadership and innovation. How might funders operate in ways that are rooted in context, elevating community agency and empowering systems leaders, rather than prescribing impact?

The session will be facilitated by founders of two systems change agencies: Wasafiri, and FutureTable. Our work is often funded from the Global North but implemented in the Global South, from Africa to the South Pacific, where we accompany local leaders and communities in tackling complex issues related to agriculture and food, climate and nature, peace and inclusion. We operate daily in the tension between funders who seek proof of their desired impact, and communities that need greater agency to navigate the swirl of lived complexity, interconnected issues, and messy power dynamics.

This participatory workshop will invite honest reflection on the institutional pressures upon funders to design for and claim impact, offering new mindsets and ways of working to catalyse impactful systemic change.

Track

Catalytic Philanthropy

Format

Workshop (Up to 3 Facilitators/Instructors)

Speakers

  • NameIan Randall
  • TitleFounding Director
  • OrganizationWasafiri
  • NameLorin Fries
  • TitleFounding Partner
  • OrganizationFutureTable

Description

Funders seek social and environmental impact aligned to their values and interests. Their processes tend to prioritize measurable results for prescribed goals through direct implementation. Yet purpose-oriented funders are increasingly asking how their resources might catalyse greater systemic change. This requires a different approach, nurturing the conditions from which change emerges and creating equitable spaces for diverse stakeholders to unpack complex dynamics and act in concert on underlying issues. This is uncomfortable for funders, who must cede some control and shift to an emergent, long-term, and uncertain process.

Furthermore, complex issues are always underpinned by power disparities. If funders impose an external agenda on already disenfranchised communities, well-meaning money can perpetuate those disparities and crowd out local leadership and innovation. How might funders operate in ways that are rooted in context, elevating community agency and empowering systems leaders, rather than prescribing impact?

The session will be facilitated by founders of two systems change agencies: Wasafiri, and FutureTable. Our work is often funded from the Global North but implemented in the Global South, from Africa to the South Pacific, where we accompany local leaders and communities in tackling complex issues related to agriculture and food, climate and nature, peace and inclusion. We operate daily in the tension between funders who seek proof of their desired impact, and communities that need greater agency to navigate the swirl of lived complexity, interconnected issues, and messy power dynamics.

This participatory workshop will invite honest reflection on the institutional pressures upon funders to design for and claim impact, offering new mindsets and ways of working to catalyse impactful systemic change.

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