Want to campaign for change with the private sector

By Alice Allan, Head of Global Advocacy, CARE International

Want to campaign for change with the private sector?

Want to campaign for change with the private sector…read on

Increasingly, NGOs are moving towards an approach to campaigning for social change that works with business. CARE, Barclays and Plan are recruiting for a strategic campaigner to help develop an alliance built around new international principles to responsibly link informal savings groups to financial institutions and others. If you think you have the skills to take on this important role– please read on.

Banking on Change

CARE, Plan and Barclays have developed the first partnership between a global bank and international NGOs to successfully link informal savings groups (comprising those living on less than US$2 a day) to the formal banking sector. So far approximately 18,000 people have been linked to formal banking through Barclays branches in Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania. Despite the success of this initiative, financial exclusion remains a huge challenge – with 2.5bn people having no access to a bank account.

Linking for Change Savings Charter

To scale up our model, and share it globally with other NGOs and businesses, we have created the Linking for Change Savings Charter. The Charter sets out international principles to encourage other organisations, (including financial institutions and mobile technology companies), to responsibly provide products and services to savers in the developing world. We are aiming to build an alliance of 100 supporters and implementers by 2015, who will show their commitment by signing up to the Charter.

The Charter was drafted after extensive consultation with key partners and enjoys the support from senior leaders in business – having been discussed at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year. Barclays CEO, Antony Jenkins, said “One of the most significant things we’ve learnt from this partnership is that we can’t fulfil the scale of this ambition alone. We need further collaboration between banks, NGOs, governments and technology providers. That’s why we’re calling for input and support to establish international principles for savings-led financial inclusion.”

The Linking for Change Savings Charter is an example of multi-stakeholder advocacy and is illustrative of emerging NGO/business collaborations. Others that spring to mind include the Better Than Cash Alliance which seeks to raise awareness of the benefits of shifting from cash to electronic payments. Certification schemes might also fall under this category – such as the WWF-led marine Stewardship Council system to reward sustainable fishing practices. Or the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) which, through its programme collaborations with business, governments and civil society aims to reach 1bn people by 2015 with foods that have sustainable nutritional impact.

Positive outcomes

The potential rewards of this type of partnership are huge – given the scale, purchasing and political power that businesses wield. The Banking on Change partnership has estimated that if we multiplied the average amount saved by each individual (US$58 per year) by the 2.5bn people who are unbanked – they could represent a pool of customers with the potential to save US$145bn each year – potentially benefiting economic growth and money for investment in health and education.

These initiatives demonstrate the increasing trend for NGO’s to work in partnership with business to achieve social change. They build on earlier waves of campaigns, taking the CSR and fundraising collaborations such as the RED campaign, a step further because these co created campaigns are increasingly addressing the impact of the businesses core operations.

The focus needs to be on aligning business and NGO’s behind the same goals and striving for progressive collaboration. Maximising opportunities and navigating respective priorities is what building such collaborative partnerships is all about.

If you have the skills to help us achieve this through the Linking for Change Savings Charter, and making this collaboration a reality, please apply here.

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