community foundations

Six Steps to “Dignified Interdependence”


Not infrequently, people ask me how community organizations can become independent of international funding. Part of the answer, I believe, lies in reformulating the question.

“Independence,” is a smokescreen. First world countries that claim to be independent are often dependent on the natural and human resources of the global south. Even donors who claim to be independent because they have endowments are hiding the fact that their resources were taken through exploitation of workers and sometimes from war.

Instead of asking how we can become independent, I suggest we ask how we can achieve “dignified interdependence” – a system of relationships that acknowledges that we are all givers and receivers and that recognizes our value to one another.

Here I propose six possible steps that civil society and community philanthropic organizations can take to become less dependent on international funding and more dignified in their interdependence:

1-Act as if you are poor

It is Not One or the Other, But All Together…


The world is at a point and time in its evolution, when a shift – and a very rapid one at that – is inevitable.  In fact it is already happening.  To take a broad sweep – rapid environmental degradation, hazards, and disasters; increasing conflicts; weakening - or in countries like mine, failing States; and widening disproportionate economic gaps between people, are only a few of the markers.  Like never before, with the help of technology and communications we are more connected as people.  Despite colour, taste, size, location, interests, we are increasingly realizing that as humans we are basically the same.   Essentially we are not happy when we do something wrong e.g.

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