Exploring and Mobilising Sustainable Community Philanthropy in Malawi

Taking in traditions, identifying opportunities and examining international lessons

GCRF Funding Cycle

Principal Investigator
Tobias Jung


ODA countries

Sustainable Development Goals

Philanthropy, the use of private resources (time, treasure, talent) for public purposes, is considered an essential ingredient in addressing pressing global social, economic, political and environmental issues. Within international development, however, philanthropy’s image is problematic. Philanthropic activities have been criticised as socio-cultural imperialism, because they ignore local traditions and practices. Counteracting this, the last decades have seen growing interest in new, more inclusive and community-centred approaches to philanthropy, i.e. ‘community philanthropy’. Despite this, understanding of community philanthropy remains emergent.

This project contributes to developing an international research and practice collaboration aimed at strengthening community philanthropy in Malawi. To this end, the project focuses on three overarching aims:

  1. strengthen understanding of and knowledge on ‘community philanthropy’ through a synthesis of key themes and issues on community philanthropy in academic and non-academic literatures;
  2. interrogate how themes in the literature relate to notions of community and traditions of philanthropy in the Malawian context;
  3. examine opportunities and challenges for knowledge-exchange and research on, and further development of, community philanthropy in Malawi.

Together, these steps provide a starting point for building a collaborative research and knowledge network around community philanthropy in, with, and for Malawi and beyond.