Equalising power in international development relationships

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 we have all had to adapt and make changes to the ways we live and work. Our work, like others, affected by COVID-19, especially our international development programme.

We considered how to future-proof our international development programme against global issues such as COVID-19 and concerns about structural racism in the sector. We did this through a review of our approach to international development, aiming that we focus our work on areas where we can make the biggest contribution and positive difference in our partner countries, in the post COVID period.  

In our new International Development Principles we have committed to partner country-led and inclusive development, to equality, to amplifying Global South voices, and to inclusion and diversity. This includes creating new and innovative ways to break down barriers, to harness a diverse range of new voices and new ideas to drive change. We are putting these commitments into action through a number of policy and practical arrangements, from 2022 onwards.

Global South Panel

One of these initiatives towards supporting inclusion and diversity is the establishment, in 2022, of a Global South Advisory Panel to the Scottish Government on international development. 

Direct funding opportunities to the Global South

Through our Review, we listened carefully to the views of smaller civil society organisations (CSOs) in our partner countries, regarding barriers to accessing our funding, including the need for a Scotland based partner.

We examined our experience of direct funding through our previous collaboration with Comic Relief on our joint Levelling the Field Programme – which funded direct to small CSOs in Malawi/Zambia/Rwanda. This Programme targeted: ensuring women and girls and safe, equal and respected; and promoting women and girls’ decision-making power and inclusion. In Levelling the Field 2, Comic Relief were successful in attracting large numbers of high quality applications by locally led organisations in our partner countries for new funding from April 2021.

We are developing the following funding streams for global south CSOs in our partner countries to apply to us direct:

Fund 1: Women and Girls Fund

Fund within our new Equalities Programme. This will be open to CSOs in Malawi/Zambia/Rwanda only. It will be created and delivered through a participatory model with women’s groups in our partner countries. 

Fund 2: Global Citizenship Fund

Fund within our overall Global Solidarity programme. This Fund has been co-designed with civil society through our summer 2022 focus groups. It will provide funding for small CSOs in Malawi / Zambia / Rwanda, for capacity building and advocacy initiatives.

New long term Global South directed partnerships – special status

We are also supporting a shift in power from Scotland to our partner countries through a longer term partnership with the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences in Blantyre, Malawi (KUHeS). This was announced by the Minister to the Scottish Parliament in March 2021. Specifically the Minister confirmed that KUHeS’ place in our programme would be adjusted, by placing it in our non-competitive “Institutional Resilience” funding stream. KUHeS has been awarded special status under our Programme, enabling it to choose its own partners and initiatives for support from the Scottish Government.

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