Over the years, most of us have been taught the ‘golden rule’: do to others what you want them to do to you. But this needs to be challenged. Last year, during an incredibly inspiring conversation as part of the Thousand Currents Academy, I heard something that stayed with me and has influenced us at The Womanity Foundation.

This is the ‘platinum rule’: do to others what they want to be done to them.

To be able to go deeper in this process, it’s important to reflect about the real motivations behind philanthropy and how we do it. We believe that sustained development and transformative change can only result from deep listening, unlearning, and by being aware of our own biases. By questioning ourselves constantly.

When we were invited to write this article, we started to reflect on our lived experiences coming from colonised countries: Laura from Brazil and Shivani from India. How had the past of our countries shaped who we are and how we see the world? While coming from a position of privilege when compared to many others, our backgrounds influence the way we work, the way we see philanthropy and the growing conversations about decolonising philanthropy.

Given the environments where we grew up, we often talk about what it means for us to be co-leading a Swiss foundation. How do we feel about being part of a foundation that supports organisations based primarily in colonised countries? And more importantly, how can we adapt our approach to address the baggage of colonisation, which is still rampant in grant-making practices?

Recognising that the communities we serve have agency, knowledge and power to change is the first step towards creating a more equitable and just world. This is one of the main challenges for more traditional Global North-led philanthropy.

To decolonise philanthropy, we need to decolonise knowledge. There is lived and ancestral knowledge which has been largely ignored for years. Solutions from the Global North have been imported and adopted, with very little recognition and respect for native stories and wisdom. There has been limited consideration for communities called ‘under-developed’ and for those who live their lives differently than the ‘developed’. Even what is considered development needs to be challenged.

Read the full article about decolonizing philanthropy by Laura Somoggi and Shivani Gupta at Alliance Magazine.