News / 9 July 2024

‘Dare to Trust’: Both ENDS and the Dutch Postcode Lottery team up to show the power of trust-based partnership

For more than thirty years, Both ENDS has collaborated with partner organisations around the world to advance environmental justice. Our relationships with partners, many of which span decades, are based on shared values, respect and trust. Together, we are strengthening knowledge, networks and movements, and engaging in joint advocacy aimed at bringing about a more just and sustainable world.

To make our joint work possible, we collaborate with partners to mobilise resources. Both ENDS leverages its relationships with bilateral and philanthropic donors to channel funding from donors to partners. In 2023, Both ENDS channelled EUR 3.2 million to 221 CSOs directly and 1.1. million to Small Grants Funds in the global South. Playing this intermediary role, which entails taking on the administrative and financial responsibility for large grants, is an important part of our support to partners.

Such grants, however, often come with onerous conditions and stringent accountability measures. Ironically, even funding mechanisms that are specifically intended to support local organisations may be loaded with administrative requirements, and fail to take into account the realities and capacities of local groups and their initiatives.

A chain of trust

Last year, Both ENDS teamed up with the Dutch Postcode Lottery to show another way: trust partners to use their resources wisely. With a special project grant, we distributed grants to 14 grassroots women's groups worldwide, no strings attached. We aim to show donors that a chain of trust is possible – from the back donor to the intermediary to the local partner. In developing the project, the support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery was essential: the trust between Both ENDS and its partners is mirrored in the relationship between Both ENDS and the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

Maaike Hendriks, senior expert at Both ENDS and project lead of the Dare to Trust project, explains: ‘The core of Dare to Trust is letting go of control. We want to show donors that local groups know best how to most effectively use their funding. And we want to further learn from the key priorities of the women leaders. We cherish our long-term relationships with partners and we fully trust them to make the best decisions about their funding.’

The Dare to Trust grants support women’s groups in implementing whatever actions they feel are needed to improve their lives, their communities, and/or their environment. There are no restrictions or formal reporting obligations. The groups can decide for themselves how they share back about their work and use of the funds.

Communication is key

Both ENDS staff regularly communicates with the partner organisations, which is an important aspect of transparency and relationship building. ‘We keep each other informed,’ says Maaike. ‘However, instead of working with contracts and reporting schemes, we share knowledge and learning. It is exciting to see which activities the women choose to resource if they are free to decide for themselves. We look forward to seeing what advantages and potential challenges trust-based funds brings.’  Eventually the women will work with (barefoot) journalists or students or choose any other way to document their project and capture the process.   

Both ENDS plans to share its learnings with researchers, communicators, social impact investors and donors, and to rethink its own strategies and power position as well. The results of the project will be shared later this year.

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