“We are not shifting power, what we need to shift is the spotlight on power. If for a long time, the spotlight has been on our power, it’s time to share the space, let’s shift it elsewhere. We keep giving spotlight on the things we complain about. In this discourse to tangibles, lets shift the spotlight, that’s the beginning. If media shifts attention to communities and as organizations, if shift that spotlight from the power we’ve been on to the others that exist, then we start to see traction” …
This is a clerical call that was made by Ms. Sarah Pacutho, the Team Leader - Civil Society Strengthening, during the 8th East Africa Philanthropy Conference, held in Zanzibar – Tanzania (June 2023).
Organized under the theme - Systems Transformation: Catalyzing Collective Action; the 3-day conference (#8thEAPC) offered a forum for inspiring philanthropy actors to adopt actionable tools, aligning with ecosystem changes, and establishing collaborations to thrive in an evolving philanthropic landscape. UNNGOF was delighted to feature in a breakout session; The Localization Debate – From Discourse to Tangible Outcomes. This session enabled practitioners to delve into actionable strategies focused on sharing perspectives, perceptions and recommendations on translating discourse into action on the localization agenda.
While setting the scene for this session, Dr. Moses Isooba the ED – UNNGOF highlighted the vast wealth existing in communities i.e. power, voice, skills and relations which CSOs ought to harness for sustainable development to be realized. He opined, for localization to take root, then Civil Society Organizations will have to be humble enough to let go of power, privilege and money.
From the conversations in the room, it emerged strongly that CSOs need to demonstrate readiness and be intentional in preparing communities/stakeholders for the localization agenda, and this should be done with trust and respect.
While the media, academia and religious institutions were identified as key collaborators on this localization agenda, mindset change remains the game changer, “We can only authentically localize only when we recognize the power that resides in the communities we serve” … said Mr. Kumi Naidoo, Human Rights and Climate Justice Activist.