Social finance models are the future

Social Finance Models Are The Future

I recently had the great honour of speaking about the British Asian Trust at two major events in two different continents in the space of three days!

First up was Karachi and the Pakistan Philanthropy Forum, a great event organised by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy and bringing together companies, donors, government, social enterprises, NGOs and other key players to look at global trends in giving.

Then just a two-hour flight from Karachi to Dubai to be at the Global Education and Skills Forum, organised by the Varkey Foundation. This event, with more than 2,000 people, is often referred to as the Davos for education, and attracts global headlines because of its World Teacher Prize.

The speeches I made at both events covered the same key points:

  • To meet the world’s aims of eliminating poverty by 2030 and successfully achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, it is currently estimated that we need 2.5 trillion more dollars a year.
  • This is not going to happen. But the answer is not only “we need more money”. There is a lot of money in the global development system that could be spent far more effectively and achieve greater results.
  • So, a top priority for us all is to make the money currently in the system more effective, more efficient and more impactful. 
  • Development Impact Bonds are one way of driving these changes, as they force everyone to focus on results and outcomes rather than activities (which most traditional funding focuses on). For example, in the education Development Impact Bond that the British Asian Trust has launched, the whole focus is on the improved learning results of the children – and not on the activities that will happen to achieve these results. The donors will only pay if the results are achieved.

I’m really proud that the British Asian Trust is at the cutting edge, globally, of pioneering new ways of working that can fundamentally change the future of philanthropy and development.

And it is great for us to be invited to talk about this at global platforms. In both Pakistan and Dubai there was a great deal of interest in our work and our approach, and it is really exciting for the British Asian Trust to be in this position of driving innovation and then advocating for others to follow.

Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive, British Asian Trust