Since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were introduced in 2001 as the overarching framework for global development assistance, the world has changed in fundamental ways, creating new opportunities and challenges for promoting human progress and well-being. This influential plenary will look at opportunities and challenges not just for Asian philanthropy, but also business, to play a constructive role in the successor goals and how to achieve them. Hear about innovative ideas that go beyond traditional aid, and other forms of philanthropic and business investment, that are bringing us closer to the desired human condition.
At the plenary session, speakers discussed the role of philanthropy in Asia, especially in interaction with the business environment and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
In support of Sustainable Development Goals
The key effort now should be to enable philanthropy to more effectively engage with both the planning and implementation of the SDGs.
Panelists mention that philanthropists should help the UN and governments better understand and more effectively engage with philanthropy. This greater understanding would encourage country level efforts to raise awareness of Post-2014 SGD goals and promote the best practices for philanthropy. This also converges efforts to support the development goals, creating collective impact.
For instance, Mr. Augusto Ponciano I. Carpio III’s Aboitiz Foundation plays on the strengths of their group businesses, in pursuing three ‘E’ goals: education, enterprise development for employment and the environment. Their flagship corporate social responsibility project helped to re-wire schools’ electric wiring. Ms. Heather Grady’s Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors encourage and mentor leading philanthropy organisations to kick off the process of engaging with SDGs.
Ms. Cheri Nursalim’s CITI Group aims to carry out development and raise local values in support of SDGs in a business environment. In embracing local values when setting global goals, they look at well-being as a holistic goal.
Ageing and Dying: It Happens to All
Ms. Carol Candler
Mr. Francis Wong
Dr. Ramaswamy Akhileswaran
Mr. Kok Heng Leun
Community Foundation of Singapore
Tuesday, 21 October 2014, 1.30 p.m.
There is no process that disregards boundaries than the natural progression of ageing and dying. Every society encounters challenges at this intersection of family and spiritual values, healthcare, community resources, and personal dignity at the end of life. Featuring a puppetry performance, “The Wind Came Home” by local non-profit theatre company Drama Box, we will explore what some critical issues are that Asia needs to face with its elderly, and how can these issues can be resolved.
The puppet show by Drama Box highlighted issues that elderly might be facing, including financial issues, lack of family support, caregiver worries, old people taking care of the older ones, dementia care and company. Ageing and dying cross health and cultural issues, and philanthropists can fill spaces that are overlooked by governments and corporations. Transformational change needs to occur for programmes and social services to be sustainable.
Need for collaboration
Collaboration is required for stakeholders to understand the landscape and come up with solutions and support services for needy elderly. Collaboration can also be done to improve accessibility of hospice care so that no one in need is denied.
Sustainability can be achieved from such collaboration – i.e. donation-supported free hospice care from non-profit organisations, government provides funding, private sector interested in corporate social responsibility can contribute, VWOs and schools volunteer, while doctors and GPs receive referrals.
One of the key takeaways was that dementia care and support can especially be improved through collaboration and information-sharing.
Community efforts needed
A person in need is a sign of a community in need, and it takes collaborative efforts in the community to meet that person’s needs.
One of the questions raised was how philanthropists can take on a more developmental approach in funding and creating a community that supports the elderly.
Conversations need to be had within the community to involve elderly when they are still active and empowered, instead of only when they encounter physical or mental issues that isolate them. This will help in looking at how to create a resilient community and factors that promote resilience amongst needy elderly.
Programmes should also be carefully communicated and named to gain funders’ support.
A Polluted Asia
Borderless environmental and sustainability challenges are stumped by the localised nature of current solutions. Ranging from polluted air and water, to long-term impact on sustainability, what constructive and realistic collaborative actions can be taken to preserve resources for our future generations?
During this breakout session, a few key takeaways are summarised here:
The current imbalance between consumerism and biodiversity constitutes a lack of awareness and support for environmental conservation in Asia. This results from the transportation of a dirty development model from the North to the South.
The planet should always come first, as our planet supports people and society; without the planet, where is the profit?
A framework for change is needed in terms of worldviews, institutions and technologies. A model of sustainable development should be highlighted, respecting the environmental rights and heritage of current and future generations.
Tripartite cooperation is required between the government, the public and NGOs, essential to helping our environment.
Currently, our borderless environmental challenges are still met with seemingly localised solutions. These solutions can take business steps to make their impact bigger, merging economic development and conservation.
Philanthropy bridges the gap between the current programmes to help create a future where investors can make substantial impacts.
It was also mentioned that raising environmental awareness would create new and innovative ideas. In fact, early childhood education has the greatest impact on environmental awareness. Examples of such education include green awards and the Envision Campaign in Singapore to help educate Singapore’s youth to create care responsibility and ownership of the environment.
The Business of Human Trafficking
The dark side of a migratory workforce is the miserable exploitation of indentured servitude, trafficking for sex work, underage kidnapping and forced labour. Driven by the vast inequality between cold greed, abject poverty and the hope for a better life, human trafficking has become big business. It is the fastest-growing business of organised crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world. Between the Indian subcontinent, indo-china corridor and the rest of southeast Asia, what can be done between destination, transit and source countries to combat this?
The global slavery index for last year went up to 29.8 million people, with many cases of cross-border trafficking. Profits from human trafficking go up to USD 99 billion for sexual exploitation and USD 51.2 billion for other forms of forced labour.
For many young people in Southeast Asia, the biggest group to be trafficked, their top concern is unemployment and because of this concern, they may not make the right decision at times, hence be vulnerable to human trafficking.
Many workers use informal channels to find work, relying on dodgy recruitment agencies that are making money out of them. Many workers who migrated overseas to work ended up in debt, as they have to pay a sum to these recruitment agencies to secure a job overseas. There are women and men who are deceived about the nature of work or living conditions but find themselves in a situation where they cannot exit.
Corporates have the responsibility to do proper due diligence and risk assessment on their suppliers and supply chain to curb human trafficking issues. They can set strong policy that they do not accept forced labour and this policy should be set by high level management before being implemented by procurement, recruitment and operational departments. If companies find any supplier having high risk of trafficking, they can conduct audits for verification. The audit should result in a mediation plan.
To manage human trafficking issues, public education and public awareness campaigns are important. These campaigns can also be driven upstream to educate the public and population susceptible to human trafficking to help with prevention.
Partnerships can be formed with the private sector to tap on their resources, expertise and connections to further the outreach and impact.
Philanthropy and the Arts
The diversity of artistic talent in the region blends traditional and cultural sensibility with modern expressions. Art continues to play an indelible role in the community, but the influence of a widening wealth gap risks polarising philanthropy support for “fine art”, while pressing social needs grab more attention over lesser supported art form and cultural/heritage causes. How can the arts be developed and integrated sustainably into the fabric of Asian philanthropy? What are some innovative models that demonstrate the impactful role that philanthropy and arts/culture can play together?
There were a few key takeaways from the plenary session:
Funders tend to give money to foster or support arts that they want to see. Therefore, it is important for artistic philanthropic efforts to be relevant to donors to have effective fundraising through online crowd-funding platforms. In general, the arts are an effective, useful, relatable and attractive medium and tool that encourage people to give.
Multiple sources of funding
It is also important to have multiple sources for funding for artists to remain sustainable, and healthy to have alternative funding sources. Multiple funding sources can give affirmation to other donors and make fundraising easier, with donors knowing that what they are giving to is “approved” by other segments of the society.
Crowd-funding is an important new trend in fundraising, with a good tradition in the U.S. of involving individual giving, no matter how small the amount, as everything adds up.
Donors become part of the larger community and/or project to which they donate. It is helpful to create community, and that is a model for the future economy with spreading technology. Such a cultivation of the community to give can be seen in the example of National Arts Council’s public art trust to encourage the public at large to fund arts.
Challenging mindsets of potential funders on funding arts
Arts usually take second place in comparison to more pressing social needs, which makes fundraising for the arts more difficult, especially in Asia and Singapore.
We should think of arts as a product of beauty, a problem-solving approach to a social issue, and as a process. Funders should understand that results from funding art causes would not necessarily be something visible, but perhaps something experiential that could also have a far-reaching impact.
As a whole, the philanthropic efforts need to find models that donors can identify with and understand, overcoming challenges of fundraising for the arts as goals are not as measurable and impact not as pronounced.