The International Educators Funders Group (IEFG) network connects diverse members from 100 grant-making Foundations and Charitable Trusts from around the world. Approximately 40% of the IEFG members are headquartered in the USA, 40% in Europe and only 20% across the rest of the world. Over the last three years, the Zenex Foundation has worked to bolster and amplify representation of Global South voices by increasing IEFG membership located in the Global South. This has been achieved through participation in the steering committee, involvement at conferences and engagement with other network related activity. The intention is to further elevate and strengthen voices from the Global South within and through education philanthropy.
Working collaboratively as donor agencies can only happen if there are platforms and spaces to share knowledge, learn from one another and create joint action. Zenex has supported IEFG to provide collaborative spaces for philanthropies, particularly in the Global South. These spaces are designed to improve knowledge of the education sector, encourage collaboration of ideas, ignite co-funding between donors and improve grant-making methodologies and practices. Activities range from:
- Outreach to build and expand membership in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
- Providing information and support to staff in member organisations.
- Supporting member organisations to improve education portfolios through knowledge exchange and staying up to date with the latest debates in global education and education philanthropy.
- Building a sense of community across education philanthropy to improve education in low-and middle-income countries.
- Producing a guide on how to ‘be better at locally led grant-making in Africa.’
It is important to improve locally led grant-making which encompasses an existing North–South relationship. In this context, the major objective is to unlock the potential of the Global South in its partnership with Northern funders. This entails Northern funders including and accepting the voices of the Global South.
- Strengthening of membership of the IEFG in the Global South.
- A shared understanding amongst Southern donors of grant making as a field of practice, including the role of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) in promoting evidenced-based intervention design.
- Increasing the capacity of Global South donors to better prepare and present their expertise.
- The Global North better understands, includes and accepts the information and experience of locally led grant makers from the Global South.
- Voices from the Global South in the education space are more clearly heard and valued in the context of international conferences and research.
This project forms part of the third pillar in the Zenex Strategy 2025 called ‘Thought Leadership’. Zenex has, over this strategic period, made great strides to embed itself as a grant-making thought leader in the education sector. Through this grant and the association with the IEFG, the Zenex Foundation is strategically locating itself as committed to transforming the International Philanthropic space to recognise and include the voices of the Global South. Philanthropy is a crucial stakeholder and is pivotal in the rebuilding and improving of learning outcomes. Education remains the sector which receives the largest support from philanthropies, particularly in the Global South. Given this advantage, philanthropy can ignite change, foster partnerships and create innovation.