Private foundations and philanthropists

Projekt of "Cotton Made" in Africa in Benin

Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in activities undertaken by private foundations and philanthropists in de­vel­op­ing and emerging economies. Some foundations and philanthropists sponsor pro­jects that are carried out by existing organisations. Others plan and im­ple­ment their own projects in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

What these committed individuals and internationally active foundations have in common is the belief that it is not enough to address the many challenges of our times – such as climate change, food security and en­vir­on­mental protection – in their home coun­tries only. What is more, the foun­da­tions' money may well have a greater impact in less developed coun­tries than in the foundations' home coun­tries.

However, financial support is not the only way in which private foundations and philanthropists are helping to improve the living conditions of people around the world. They also develop innovative and business-based app­roa­ches and are willing to take risks. And their work often helps to get the general public more interested in global issues.

Foundations' and philanthropists' in­ter­national activities focus on education, health, ag­ri­cul­ture, sus­tain­able economic de­vel­op­ment and support for civil society. These are areas in which the BMZ is active too.

Forms of co­op­er­a­tion

The BMZ works together with private foundations and philanthropists in a variety of ways. Such co­op­er­a­tion gives private players a chance to expand successful programmes and to benefit from the networks, contacts and vast experience of German de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion actors. The BMZ, for its part, can benefit from working with private players because this enables it to increase the effectiveness of its de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion. This is in line with the aid effectiveness agenda agreed at the in­ter­national conferences in Paris, Accra and Busan. Through their expert exchange and dialogue, both sides are able to enhance the quality and reach of their work.

The BMZ's co­op­er­a­tion with such players addresses many different issues and a variety of levels. Funding is provided both for local projects and na­tio­nal programmes and for regional and global initiatives.

Between 2005 and 2013, the BMZ has worked together with about 60 non-profit private or corporate foundations, 47 of them from Germany.

Advice for foundations and philanthropists

German private foundations and philanthropists who want to undertake projects in de­vel­op­ing and emerging economies or want to engage in de­vel­op­ment education work in Germany can turn to the "Global Civic En­gage­ment" service point for advice.

And, in their partner coun­tries, they can get support and advice from the German embassy. There are only a few foundations that have their own offices in project coun­tries. So they can use the coun­try and project of­fices of GIZ and KfW to forge contacts with governmental and non-governmental players on the ground and with potential local project partners.

Exchange among experts

Exchange between Germany's official de­vel­op­ment institutions and private foundations occurs at several different levels. For instance, the BMZ and Global Civic En­gage­ment take part in networking events for German foun­dations, such as the annual German Foundation Congress. In addition, the BMZ has dialogues with individual foundations on specific issues. There are also regular meetings in the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries and emerging e­co­no­mies themselves to exchange information and experience. This facilitates syn­er­gies, and it addresses the problem of various players working in parallel on the same issue without proper coordination.

Project-based co­op­er­a­tion

Various forms of co­op­er­a­tion are possible between the BMZ (or its implementing organisations) and private foundations.

  • Implementing projects together
    The BMZ, the German Aid by Trade Foundation and other partners are engaged, for instance, in efforts to foster sus­tain­able cotton cultivation on smallholder farms in nine African coun­tries. Together with the Siemens Foundation, the BMZ has been supporting a series of G20 Inclusive Business Workshops. The intention is to foster en­ter­prises that use inclusive business models to address social and environmental challenges in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.
  • Cofinancing foundation projects
    Foundations that are private project executing agencies can apply for BMZ cofinancing for their projects.
  • Sponsoring third parties' projects together
    One example is the BMZ's co­op­er­a­tion with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest foundation in the world. Together with the Gates Foundation and other partners, the BMZ is contributing to the work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
  • Entering into co­op­er­a­tion agreements
    In order to provide a framework for working together on several projects, the BMZ has concluded co­op­er­a­tion agreements with several sizeable foundations that operate on an in­ter­national level. For in­stance, the BMZ is working with the Aga Khan De­vel­op­ment Network on microfinance and sus­tain­able economic de­vel­op­ment in East Africa and in Central Asia. The partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focuses on health and rural de­vel­op­ment. And the BMZ's agreement with the Clinton Foundation is concerned with pov­er­ty reduction, health and rural de­vel­op­ment with a focus on Africa.

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