Two major development charities, Shell Foundation and Emirates Foundation, signed a formal alliance agreement today – Tuesday 27 March 2012 – to share information, expertise, models and networks and help promote strategic philanthropy in the Middle East.
The alliance will build on Shell Foundation’s ten year experience in deploying market-based solutions to tackle development challenges at scale in Africa, Asia and Latin America and on Emirates Foundation’s track record in catalyzing public-private initiatives to help young people in the United Arab Emirates
Chris West, Director, Shell Foundation said: “Over the last ten years, we have been learning what works and what doesn’t work when you apply business thinking to global issues like job creation, sustainable mobility or access to energy at scale. I am pleased to develop a formal alliance with Emirates Foundation who are breaking new ground by applying this type of philanthropy in the Middle East. We plan to learn from each other and use our combined strengths to widen our impact.”
Emirates Foundation brings together public and private sectors to create initiatives to invest in young people in the UAE. In particular, and in line with Shell Foundation’s model, Emirates Foundation plans to deliver impact through social enterprises rather than traditional grant giving. The partners will transfer best practices, develop staff exchange programmes and mentoring schemes and explore a variety of joint initiatives to raise opportunities for young people in the UAE and the broader region.
Clare Woodcraft, CEO, Emirates Foundation said: “Shell Foundation’s approach whereby they invest in social enterprises has already proven successful in other parts of the world. We are excited to work together to apply this kind of thinking to our work in the UAE and promote the same approach in the broader Middle East. Between us we have valuable experience in how best to harness the private sector and the ability to test new ways to deliver real impact.”
Shell Foundation has adopted a new approach to corporate philanthropy by identifying market failures that underpin development challenges, co-creating social enterprises to solve them, and then taking these partners to scale by providing capacity-building resources, business skills and market linkages. As a result, several of its core partners are now achieving large-scale development outcomes across multiple countries and regions.
West continues: “The development sector has traditionally been poor at sharing failures and using this as a driver of greater success. Without doubt, better collaboration and transparency is the key to more effective philanthropy.”