“The African experience of giving has always been present. There is a spirit that moves in communities and makes people take action to help each other selflessly.” – Richard Ssewakiryanga
The first-ever Philanthropy Symposium was a great milestone for the Philanthropy for Development programme at the end of 2021. Themed ‘Giving for Good’, the symposium was held on 21st December 2021 in partnership with Open Space Center to convene youth, policymakers and other civil society stakeholders to discuss their experiences on giving, challenges and trends of giving in Uganda.
The youth panel shared their experiences and motivations towards giving in kind, time or skill. For most of them, giving is the solution to a community need or problem and one has to give without expecting anything in return. The motivation of these young people sprung from passion, faith beliefs and the need to transform lives in their communities. For Rachel Konso, her passion to work with young girls led her to learn tailoring skills to make reusable sanitary towels for girls in her community.
“I am glad we can hold a symposium on local giving and philanthropy without talking about money from Bill Gates or Ford Foundation”, Richard Ssewakiryanga the keynote speaker said, as he introduced a topical discussion on Local Resources for Local Needs. He based the discussion on the changes in the recent two years of the coronavirus pandemic across the globe, how they have influenced our view on local resources and philanthropy and what actions we need to take as we leverage the advantages that we envisage.
He emphasized that the important development from the war against the global pandemic is the upsurge of local resources to build resilience at the community and national levels. With generosity at the community level at an all-time high during the pandemic, it is no wonder that Uganda is the 8th most giving country in the world! [Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index 2021]
The second panel was a blend of policymakers and key civil society stakeholders that unfolded the aspect of giving in relation to local economic development, gender and sustainability. Some key issues pointed out were: giving has to have accountability; giving should be collective; resources given should be translated to investment; and giving is not limited to gender or race.
The panel concluded that there is a need to change mindsets on giving, need to reflect on whether there are existing laws on which giving can be anchored to create an enabling environment and need to understand what people are giving towards. In addition, documentation and appreciation of giving were raised as key motivators for those who give and that philanthropy should be able to translate from an immediate need to a long term need.
“True philanthropy requires a disruptive mindset, innovative thinking and a philosophy driven by entrepreneurial insights and creative opportunities.” ― Naveen Jain