While many in North America and Europe have had the privilege of being double vaccinated, and schools and offices are slowly reopening making individual feel like the worst is now behind them, it was clear from over 90 global speakers participating in the Innovations in International Philanthropy Symposium – co-hosted by New England International Donors and The Philanthropic Initiative – that the situation for the majority of the world is nowhere close to pre-COVID times; unfortunately the impact COVID continues to have on communities will remain for the next 3-5 years.

In India for example, 230 million people were pushed back into poverty in 2020, and this is not taking into account the damage caused by the Delta variant where Delhi’s never-ending funeral pyres were showcased across the world in April 2021. Schools have been closed for the past 1.5 years with only 8% of children in rural India studying online regularly. Livelihoods, healthcare, education, and food security have all taken massive hits and the situation is not improving anytime soon. This was a common theme heard throughout the 36 sessions during the 4-day conference across all geographies with the most vulnerable communities being pushed even further to the margins.

We need to put far greater trust in local NGOs and communities enabling them to be nimble, responsive and resilient. For example, Kenneth Mugumya, Last Mile Health’s Uganda Program Director stated, ‘There is no question that the community health worker is the doctor of a village. And we need to give that community health worker the respect, the needed remuneration & the needed equipment for them to actually do their job right’. Neelam Chibber, Industree, stated that resilience funding cannot be temporary or topical but it has to be sustained to ensure communities and systems become shock-proof from future crises.

Read the full article about flexible funding by Deval Sanghavi at Alliance Magazine.