By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Policy for more information.
Jun 23, 2023

How can social entrepreneurs and INGOs collaborate to drive systems change? What barriers do they face in the attempt of working together? What are critical success factors for these partnerships?

In this report, based on interviews, surveys and a range of events, Ashoka identified 14 actions that INGOs, social entrepreneurs, funders, and intermediaries can take to unlock the potential of these collaborations and systemic social innovation. 

Ashoka partners with transformative INGOs, UN Agencies and Funders who strive to make global development inclusive, localized, and co-created. We are on a mission to place system changing social entrepreneurs – proximate leaders – at the centre of the world´s global development effort.

This report calls attention to the largely untapped potential of collaborations between social entrepreneurs and big International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) to scale impact and drive systemic change. INGOs and social entrepreneurs bring unique and complementary value to their collaborations.

Partnerships between them can advance the international development sector toward more inclusive, localized, and co-created action. The report showcases successful collaborations, how partnership challenges can be overcome, and arange of recommendations for key actors in the ecosystem to catalyze more such partnerships.

What INGOs can do:

  • Treat social entrepreneurs as partners and engage them as experts, solution providers, co-creators, and research partners. Build purposeful relationships based on mutual trust,equality, and learning, that mobilize the complementary strengths of both to address a challenge or opportunity. 
  • Make social innovation a strategic priority. While INGOs are trending in the right direction, to make progress, INGOs must be all-in. Leadership needs to make its commitment to innovation unequivocal, reinforced by the organization’s operations, strategic direction, and funding allocation. 
  • Build an organizational culture of innovation by promoting openness, maintaining an outward focus, and cultivating leadership that encourages risk taking, creative problem solving, empathy and co-creation. INGOs can devote resources for their staff to develop these mindsets and capabilities. 
  • Reflecton the “power footprint.” INGOs hold responsibility to work towards decolonizing aid and to improve their organizations’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) agenda. This includes transferring power to local organizations and creating the conditions for local partners to lead change.  

Read the full report here

Download the report here