Guiding Committee Meeting Agreements and Conclusions

Guiding Committee Meeting

Managua, Nicaragua

8-10 February 2018


a)      Successes, challenges and lessons learned in Pawanka’s first three years.

There has been the transition from being an initiative to becoming a fund with its own identity.  Pawanka is a unique process that is changing the way to manage a fund through reciprocity alliances and recovering ancestral knowledge and indigenous identity.

Pawanka Fund has the responsibility to ancestors’ spirits and is building the sense of dignity and generosity in action.

The Fund is developing a new definition of philanthropy linked to love of humanity. The pure act of giving a grant has profound impacts and catalytic effects that do not end with the conclusion of the project. Pawanka is facilitating partnerships with indigenous communities and organizations in supporting processes of empowerment beyond project outcomes.

The challenge is to have a strategic view to continue the journey with the partners and articulate this relationship as part of the identity as a fund. Pawanka is supporting processes that do not begin or end with the support. So further discussion is needed on how to develop indicators to understand the processes. After a project has finished how to monitor to see impacts (beyond the project)?  (Develop a guide/ organize a global conference of partners.)

Another challenge discussed is how to disseminate and share the information from the projects. To learn and develop more effective means and ways to communicate the distinctness of Pawanka Fund compared to other philanthropic initiatives, including what makes it different and unique, and which changes are being made in the spirit of partnership and empowerment.

The following lessons learned were identified:

The mentoring process is connected with UNDRIP, finding and encouraging a local partner to apply, talking, discussing around the theme of the grant cycle, and guiding the implementation of the project.

Pawanka is defining its own ways and means outside of traditional “grant making” to operationalize further values from an indigenous intercultural lens of partnership and empowerment.

Modern knowledge is needed for the proper transmission, distribution and sharing of knowledge of the ancestors.

Relatively small money has great impact for indigenous peoples at local level.

“Giving with perhaps no expectations but with trust and hope.”

b)      Advancements and lessons learned in the area of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (M&E&L) and Communication.

M&E&L should include a section on obstacles and challenges faced by local partners implementing projects. Learning in broader contexts should be shared, for example how UNDRIP is being implemented in Pawanka’s work and skills gained by partners (e.g. learning how to use Skype).

M&E&L should emphasize how projects are supporting processes and discuss how further developments could be monitored/ captured two or three years later.

GC members appreciated two kinds of indicators:

1. Concrete results achieved.

2. Cultural evaluation with 8 questions on the process, just addressed after project is done.

It is also possible to include indicators to express intangible objectives and monitor the health of the fund. A challenge is how to document the relationships of solidarity that Pawanka Fund is building. Need to discuss the possibility of organizing a global conference of partners.

Regarding Communication, everybody agreed to contribute to the website blog (defining a schedule to follow). Melissa and Jennifer agreed to offer English editing. Blog topics should point to global events but also further discussion on intercultural philanthropy. Guide for partners on how to write a blog post and write pictures captions should be developed. Another idea discussed was to get a plug-in for the Pawanka website to automatically translate into diverse languages. (Indonesia, Thai, Swahili, Russian, Spanish).

GC members and staff will explore the possibility of developing a database/ software to record/ file information submitted by local partners in order to be friendly and accessible.

 “Communication works if it is collaborative.”

c)       Administrative and hmentoring lessons learned. 

The mentorship role expresses and inspires people to find tools to manifest strength. GC members linked mentorship to reciprocity and indigenous roots and envisioned the process as planting, fertilizing and watering seeds.

Pawanka Fund is creating safe spaces to learn together, think together and build alliances.

It is an advantage that GC members already know the local partners and what they are doing. They represent different cultures and backgrounds so the answers to similar problems are quite different. This knowledge and relationship is key for the sustainability of the projects.

“Pawanka taught me to trust in others; We are more than facilitators we learn together.”

d)      Priorities, schedule, work plan and budget for grant making in 2018

The following three areas were defined as priorities to be strengthened in the coming year:

-       Finance

-       Administration

-       Governance and organizational issues

It was suggested to discuss the best and worst aspects of the financial transparency process and how to improve financial/ administrative processes in Pawanka.

GC members agreed to elaborate an organizational strategic plan for institutional strengthening (mid-term and long-term) with the objective of identifying what we need/ staff/ capacities and budget. In addition, the need for a more permanent coordinator /dedicated staff /secretariat was discussed.

To grow to a midsize fund (sustaining at least one million dollars a year) may require building administrative, management capacities and a value alignment between programs, finances and administration.

Also discussed was the possibility of establishing an urgent fund to quickly disburse funds to local partners for needs such as translation, travel, video subtitles, etc.

For resources mobilization, it is needed to explore options as crowd funding, endowment, organization of fundraising events, and multiyear funding (4/5 years).

The communication between and amongst Guiding Committee members needs improvement; currently there is a consensus that silence means an agreement.

It could be useful to develop guidelines on decision-making processes in relation to donors.

It was decided that RSF will remain in its role providing finance management and it was especially noted that RSF provides valuable  flexibility on granting reporting and projects’ extension. Positive improvements were identified on the workflow between RSF, CADPI, and Pawanka.

The GC decided to establish three working groups to focus in three areas where some specific work is needed: Pawanka governance, communication and resource mobilization.

Working group Pawanka governance. Members: Yuri, Rukka, Teresa, Alan, Myrna.

-       Review staff needs

-       Elaborate ToR for the GC (rotation terms, duration, etc.)

-       Discuss about the possibility to appoint advisers for some regions to identify local partners in the context of expanding the scope/ number of grants.

-       Identify ways to improve communication channels for GC members and/or staff (Google group/Slack)

Working group Communication. Members: Danil, Joan, Melisa, Dr. Hussein, Gunn Britt.

-       Discuss a plan to disseminate information through social media.

-       Produce materials for donors and Pawanka audience.

-       Establish database, software.

Working group Resources mobilization. Members: Hester, Galina, China, Vicky, Joan, Namaka, Mariana.

-       Discuss the possibility of establishing an endowment and its implications (staffing, timing, identity).

-       Establish the framework for new donor participation guidelines (for example, can new donors restrict funds, such as specifying themes, countries, or local organizations?)

-       Host two donor events in 2018.

Themes grant cycles 2018:

-       7th Cycle: Health, healing and wellbeing

-       8th Cycle: Conflict prevention, peace building

-       Exchange Program: Food, seeds and agro ecology

The GC agreed that the location of annual meetings would be a regional rotation.  

There is a need to further discuss and determine criteria for selecting follow up grants.

e)      Future of the Pawanka Fund.

The GC members agreed Pawanka should continue but discussion is needed about how it should evolve. It should stay flexible, and provide an example for how people can be accountable but without being bureaucratic.  Accountability refers to not only money but also time and other resources.

Pawanka needs to continue promoting structural changes in philanthropy: changing power relationships that usually oppress indigenous peoples.

The GC envisions the future of Pawanka growing in size but most of all in depth, strengthening local partnerships, expanding the support for grant making, for capacity building, exchanges, translation, travel, communication, and other local priorities.

Further discussions and brainstorming on intercultural philanthropy is needed. To draft a document to communicate how Pawanka has been built and create a license for sharing the model has been suggested. Identify concrete pieces for advocating and elaborating an intercultural philanthropy development plan.

GC agreed to expand Pawanka, to invite and educate funders, develop relationships with other “good” funding, conservation, human rights, language, other movements and affinity groups.

“We are in the right path. We are building a community.”