Reaching the hardest to reach children
By Kristin Lindsey, former CEO of the Global Fund for Children for the Financial Times
December 21, 2012
The work we do matters. As described in the FT’s Seasonal Appeal, our work reaches around the globe, from India, Ghana, Brazil, Haiti and beyond to central London. We reach the hardest to reach children and we support programs that change children’s lives. We find what works.
As important as that is, there’s another piece of the puzzle. We are dedicated to multiplying the value of our investments, and yours, in the developing world. GFC’s does more than get money to the grassroots. We ensure that our donors’ investments go to the right place at the right time for the greatest impact.
We check our work. Our program team that consists of regional experts apply their expertise and networks to finding groups that operate under the radar. Out of an annual pool of 2,000 emerging organisations, we do our due diligence and visit about 150 worldwide, then select 50 new grantees to partner with. We track our grantee’s development – each of our partners produce measurable outcomes, whether it’s getting more migrant children access to school, or providing more counseling to child trafficking survivors. We ensure our investment produces real results – and the one million children that were helped last year is our most important metric.
We add value. The team then spends an additional 7,500 hours during the year to coach, advise and provide skills that help grow grantees’ visibility and sustainability. They help our partners to solve problems, tap networks, and overcome obstacles that keep small groups from moving beyond emerging to solid. We provide value-added services such as hosting regional knowledge exchanges, an opportunity for grantees to come together and discuss best practices, challenges and forge a strong network among their peers.
Our investment leverages other resources. For every £1 we invest, £7 from other funders follow. That’s how much capital our grantees raise above our investment over the course of our partnership. Another way we maximise donations is to use our networks to promote the work of our partners, so that their work and visibility can be sustained over time. This year, we directly helped our partners secure nearly £800,000 from outside sources, and leveraged global awards from CNN Heroes, Free the Slaves, and the STARS Impact Awards.
The end result? After five to seven years, our grantees’ budget growth typically triples – which means thousands of hard to reach children in remote and impoverished communities begin to receive life-changing opportunities that they would not otherwise have.
When we surveyed grantees recently to find out how we’re doing, 91 per cent of respondents agreed that we were a true partner in their growth and development; 96 per cent said their GFC program officer had contributed to their organisation’s growth; and 89 per cent agreed that we are unlike other funders because we do more than fund their programs – we help them become sustainable organisations.
Investing in emerging organisations can be risky, especially in developing countries, but when you invest in people who are passionate about improving the lives of children, these investments reap big rewards. Once a child is educated, cared for, and equipped with the skills they need to lead their life with dignity, it can’t be stripped away. If we want to improve our economic climate, we must do better for children everywhere.
There’s no better gift worth giving.
Read more about GFC on FT.com
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012.