The International Education Funders Group (IEFG) is an affinity network of foundations and donor-advised funds supporting basic education in the Global South. It was formally launched in April 2011. The purpose of the group is to help advance the global development and education agendas by improving funders’ strategic analyses and thinking, informing and assisting their grantmaking, and providing opportunities for collective learning and action. To date, we have 90+ foundations and donor-advised funds as members, mostly through member referrals.
Levels of Collaboration and Activities
The group has agreed to work on the three levels of collaboration:
- Sharing information
- Learning collectively
- Developing informal alliances
We achieve this through meeting in-person semi-annually (usually in the US in the Fall and Europe in the Spring); and through bi-monthly updates that cover relevant philanthropic and education research, global policy, opportunities for collaboration with members or sister groups, and job prospects. Members regularly send items to the coordinator to share.
A number of thematic groups has emerged. These are most active during our in-person meetings:
- Evidence, evaluation, and learning outcomes measurement
- Education and Resilience
- Influencing the Global Development and Education Agendas.
- Post- Primary and Girls’ education
- Early Childhood Development
- Human Rights and Social Justice Approaches
- Early Stage Granters (often small and/or family foundations)
- Teacher training and professional development
- Technical and Vocational Education and Skills Training (TVET)
- Citizen-led Assessment
- UK-based foundations
- Geographic groups
The emergence of the IEFG follows on several foundations’ efforts since 2006 to informally convene foundations and donor-advised funds engaged in education grantmaking in the developing world. At the September 2010 gathering, a group of 14 foundations agreed to organize a funders group. The group was formally launched in April 2011. Initial steps included the mapping of North American and Western European foundations and the synthesis of lessons learned from funder collaboratives. Eight funders contributed or pledged to contribute to the running costs initially, and the first formal call for voluntary membership contributions was put out in September 2013. In April 2013, the group made a conscious effort to branch out to European members, and started oscillating our semi-annual meetings between the US and Europe. As of January 2017, the group has grown to 98 members. In 2017, the group looks to broadening further to Southern-based foundations.