• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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How philanthropy is making in-roads on the wings of technology and policy

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The Art of giving for targeted causes that are geared at effecting social changes and impacting persons or communities is a trans-generational practice globally.

Overall, the reasons for individuals, institutions, and organisations extending a helping hand – whether in cash or kind – to entities or groups of needy persons using philanthropy in practice has largely been one marked by divergent views and positions.

The bulk of the controversy that has trailed philanthropy in practice has concentrated more on the sources of wealth of givers than the outcome and impact on the target.

Nonetheless, and against conventional expectations of notable descent in volume and impact, philanthropy has in recent decades grown in leaps and bounds; breaking erstwhile barriers to entry momentarily erected across markets, and territories.

Relative to the West, however, Africa contends primarily with a growing inequality and poverty challenge. She is touted as the second most unequal continent in the world, and home to seven of the most unequal countries with the richest 0.0001 percent owning 40 percent of the wealth of the entire continent, according to OXFAM.

With a persisting challenge of political instability, corruption, and maladministration of collective resources by the ruling class, the case for a more impactful resource allocation to reach the poorest people and communities have always existed.

The continent sits on a mass of opportunities – a burgeoning population – mostly youths within the 18-35 bracket, vastly growing economies, and even greater allowance for development due to the abundance of natural resources.

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Thus, Africa has always represented a breeding ground for the most impactful development work by philanthropists globally – holding a steep attraction for the deployment of private funds for the emancipation and amelioration of the plights of the poorest communities in the hinder rural areas as well the growing cosmopolitan cities.

Clearly, the re-definition of the models for philanthropic intermediation – the re-channeling of funds from the surplus to deficit units – and its attendant execution lies more now with African youths who are passionate to escape the generational stagnation and underdevelopment that they have lived with – sadly.

They have a ready vehicle to achieve their goals – with ready energy, enthusiasm and more importantly – with steep inroads being made by technology rising on the back of innovation and ingenuity and in turn opening a breakthrough for community penetration.

A current Associate Professor and Deputy Director at the Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment, Wits Business School in South Africa – Jacob Mwathi, says a key “positive trend in philanthropy is the emergence of tools to encourage and facilitate such giving.

Indeed, technology has led to new ways of giving through social media, crowdfunding platforms, and mobile giving. Such tools could facilitate fundraising activities and serve as a catalyst for domestic giving.”

Opportunities abound to stretch the successes so far achieved especially with crowdfunding activities for social causes. There has been remarkable giving running into thousands of dollars on platforms like the Go-Fund-Me where urgent medical, social, educational, political and financial goals have been met and surpassed.

Similarly, the youths can explore tech to mobilise and collaborate across geographical boundaries for the mobilisation of time, natural resources, talents and skills for philanthropic causes.

On the home front, though the strength of interventions in deficient African neighbourhood have been previously advanced majorly on the backdrop of religion, policy, and projects; social media is becoming a veritable tool for not only the identification of social causes but also the mobilisation and their eventual distribution.

Also, religious gathering of worshippers has afforded a strong platform for growing ‘congregation’ of youthful philanthropists especially with ‘arms giving’ a key tenet of both the Christian and Muslim religion.

Riding on religious causes, the youths can take outreaches to be massive across households and communities where a strong bond for unity, faith and purpose thrives.

Renowned and reputable international organisations are leading the front for the next generation of philanthropic mediation in Africa to impact social causes and reduce deaths and sufferings. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation takes prominence in this charge.

The antecedents of electioneering have not been altogether different in many African nations with aspiring public holders expending huge funds and undertaking staple sharing to steer acceptance of voting blocs within targeted constituencies.

Nevertheless, while this formally makes not much difference in the poverty-ladder ascension of individuals in these communities, they have momentarily met the needs of individuals and citizens alike. The youths can push for a greater concentration of private funding for development with robust social causes as they form the largest share of the voting public in many African nations like Nigeria.

Pooled funding from captains of industries in the private sector to tackle development are becoming increasingly popular amongst the elites with education and health sectors welcoming the largest interventions in Africa.

As can be guessed, whilst not unconnected with the renewed focus on health, wellbeing, and the future of work post-Covid-19, it posits that technology and human capital are game changers in a world that urgently yearns for change, wealth re-distribution and wellness.

Noble causes for development are emanating at previously ignored sources. In Nigeria where I hail, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), a year-long scheme for fresh university graduands to commit to national integration, knowledge and development in communities is actualising intended philanthropic goals with hundreds of impactful projects undertaken by fresh school leavers both privately and in collaboration with communities, traditional heads, corporate bodies, the government, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) yearly.

This looks to give credence to my utmost belief that the youths have been in the mainstream and will yet be a strength to reckon with in a jet age that is disruptive. They are the needed structures to – at a minimum solidify the quests for kindness and a greater level of development in immediate communities and beyond.

At a minimum, only a willing and passionate mind together with a singular and noble cause to turn around the fortune of every underprivileged African is the trigger to hit the mark on the continent.

Imouokhome, an economist with PwC Nigeria, and Obisesan, first female president of the Nigerian Economics Students’ Association, Babcock University chapter, write from Lagos