Organization Name: Firelight Foundation

Focus Area: Growing Learners
Region: Africa
Sector: Non-Profit
Investment Year: 2022
Firelight Foundation (Firelight) is a multi-donor public charity fund that raises money from foundations, individuals and institutions to support community-based organizations that are working with their communities to drive systems change for children and youth in eastern and southern Africa. Firelight’s work is anchored in justice, solidarity and the belief that people should have the right and power to create sustainable change within their own systems for children and youth. It is also based on the belief and evidence that lasting systemic change for children and youth fundamentally needs to be driven by child, youth, adult, parent and community perspectives, knowledge, practices, agency and institutions.

Why We Invested

Community-based organizations (CBOs) play a critical role in creating and advancing solutions to the most pressing issues that disproportionately affect local communities. Our work with Firelight involves a cluster of seven youth-led CBOs focused on promoting youth leadership, role modeling and mentorship in the eastern and southern parts of Kenya, and will intentionally incorporate a gender-lens approach given the disproportionate barriers that girls face to learning. Our partnership is anchored on the shared belief that young people are the most powerful resource to create change. Youth are critical voices in chartering new solutions and territories for themselves and their communities.

We have abundant evidence that community-driven systems change is feasible, effective and achievable. We have the models and resources ready for anyone who is prepared to take the leap and join this movement for a stronger, more effective, more just version of global development. A better future is calling to us all – now it’s up to you to seize the opportunity.
Mary A. Kabati, Ronah K. Lubinda, Adela Materu, Kingsley Makuwila, Jones Mwalwanda, Prosper Ndaiga and Moses Zulu in ""Traditional Approaches to Aid and Development are Failing Us. It’s Time to Invest in Community-driven Change"