This was made known at its maiden Quarterly Dialogue on Philanthropy in Nigeria, organised by PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PwC). The event’s theme focused on creating lasting impacts through sustainable philanthropy in discussion with local philanthropists.
With more events on the horizon, the purpose of these Quarterly Dialogues will be convening local philanthropists and high-net-worth individuals across Nigeria and in other West African states to participate in dialogues that would redefine local philanthropy and promote local funding of credible civil societies.
Ford Foundation’s West Africa Regional Director, Dr. ChiChi Aniagolu, called on High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) in Nigeria and in the West African sub-region, to support local Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the face of dwindling financial funding from foreign governments and international partners.
Dr. Aniagolu said as a result of recent significant declines in global funding, the very existence of CSOs, who provide support and services for local communities in education, human rights, HIV awareness, among others, is threatened.
“The election of conservative governments in the West, amidst their unique national challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with various humanitarian war conflicts around the world, have drastically reduced donor funding to Nigeria and other West African countries. Yet, the needs for the interventions and services these CSOs address continue to rise as many Nigerians depend on them for support in their everyday lives,” she said.
Research and data show that Nigeria is amongst the ‘Big 5’ private wealth markets in Africa, with over 10,000 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) with private wealth of $1 million or more. However, efforts of their philanthropic works have been uncoordinated and not channeled through recognizable CSOs, which has therefore led to short-term reliefs rather than sustainable long-term change.
The rising class of Nigerian philanthropists could redefine the philanthropy landscape to drive homegrown development by supporting CSOs at the forefront of leading change efforts.
“The time is now. If CSOs do not identify other funding sources, the sector may significantly dwindle in the next 10 years or so. CSOs understand the communities they work in and have the experience and expertise to deliver development excellence. That has been our experience at the Ford Foundation. If local philanthropists don’t help to fill the gaps being left behind by development partners and even expand on them, our development challenges may get significantly worse in the coming years”, Dr. Aniagolu said.
On his part, President of the MacArthur Foundation, John Palfrey, said MacArthur was committed to ensuring that their contributions impacted society positively. “At the MacArthur Foundation, scale impact doesn’t have to do with the organization going the whole hog all by itself. We leverage partners and collaborations, then create platforms such as ‘Levers of Change’ to build scale and impact. We are committed to delivering impact in a systematic way,” he said.
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