New Principles of Accountability for International Philanthropy
May 8, 2007
The Council on Foundations and European Foundation Centre (EFC) have launched the Principles of Accountability for International Philanthropy. This is the result of a two-year collaboration to explore the concept of accountability as it specifically relates to philanthropy that crosses national borders.
In 2005, the Joint Working Group of the Council and EFC was given the task of coming up with a set of principles and good practice options addressing the issue of accountability to mission, grantees, partners and ultimately the intended beneficiaries of trans-national philanthropic activity. The group then engaged foundations from both organizations, as well as other philanthropic networks and experts. Consultations were also held with grantees and partner organizations in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa, including a workshop with 25 African NGO leaders in South Africa.
The impetus for the Principles grew from the understanding that cross-border philanthropy can be more challenging and complex than domestic grantmaking because of differences in culture and language as well as legal and accounting systems. Understanding the context in which your international grants will be made, respecting cultural differences and local knowledge, listening carefully to international grantees and partners, and responding to their needs and realities rather than imposing your own agenda are among the good accountability practices highlighted in the Principles.
Voices from the South- An article by Ceri Oliver-Evans on the Joint EFC-Council Working Group Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, to gather feedback from African partners and grantees on the draft principles of accountability in international philanthropy.