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Partnerships Just ‘Lip Service’ UN Forum Told


5 September 2013 at 9:44 am
Lina Caneva
Many charities and philanthropists just give lip service to the concept of partnership work when in reality they work in silos, are too competitive and don’t deliver the full impact needed, a United Nations panel on civil society has been told.

Lina Caneva | 5 September 2013 at 9:44 am


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Partnerships Just ‘Lip Service’ UN Forum Told
5 September 2013 at 9:44 am

Many charities and philanthropists just give lip service to the concept of partnership work when in reality they work in silos, are too competitive and don’t deliver the full impact needed, a United Nations panel on civil society has been told.

The criticism came during a panel discussion by civil society experts meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York to discuss the role of charity in poverty alleviation to mark the International Day of Charity.

Panellist Neelam Makhijani, and Chief Executive of global resource charity, the Resource Alliance told the panel that a lack of fundraising and financial skills within charities mean they don’t have the expertise required to deliver full and meaningful impact.

The forum heard that charities, NGOs and other civil society organisations are on the ground, working with individuals, families and entire communities, providing them with basic necessities, such as food, water, shelter, health care and education. However, the Forum was told that while much good is being achieved, more can be done.

But not without more effective partnerships between key players – including funders.

“In essence money is being wasted. Even when impact is made, charities can be poor at communicating it to donors,” Panellist Neelam Makhijani said.

“As well, philanthropists frequently restrict funding to particular areas, refuse to pay for core costs and demand onerous reporting – all of which jeopardises the sustainability of the organisations they claim to be ‘supporting’.

“The use of jargon on both sides (charity and philanthropists) results in effectual communication and missed opportunities,” Makhijani said.

“The global crises we currently face are providing a sharp stimulus for rethinking international development policy. If we really want to tackle poverty, stop conflicts and war and improve the lives of our people, we need a strong civil society.

“To achieve this, more meaningful engagement is required. This means conversations in a language everyone understands and mutual respect between NGOS in South and North and the philanthropists who support them. Failure to achieve this means we will all suffer,” Makhijani said.

The Resource Alliance is a charity registered in England and Wales, based in London operating as a global network for fundraising and philanthropy.

The full lineup of panelists included:

• Navid Hanif, Director, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, UNDESA

• Selim Jahan, Director, Poverty Practice, UNDP Bureau for Development Policy

• Neelam Makhijani, CEO, The Resource Alliance

• Susan Myers, Vice President for UN Relations, UN Foundation


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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