How we work

Long-term relationships based on mutual trust

The issues we look to tackle are complex. There are no quick or easy solutions and the results of the programmes we support may well take many years to realise.

Our priority is to find people we believe in to make a difference and to support them to be the best they can be.  This means fostering effective, long-term partnerships based on frank communication and mutual trust.  Offering multi-year grants provides financial visibility and enables longer-term planning.

We are an engaged and reflective funder and are keen to learn what does not go to plan as well as what does. We encourage our partners to analyse and measure results and to share successes and failures. That’s how we, and they, learn what works and what doesn’t and how we come to understand the challenges faced along the way. Once an intervention starts to yield positive results, we encourage our partners to advocate for wider adoption.

The best teachers are those that show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see. Alexandra K. Trenfor

Key to this approach are mutual trust and transparency. We like to get to know our partners as well as we can and familiarise ourselves with all aspects of their organisation. We see our role as a little like that of an informal board member. We place great importance on integrity, strong leadership, governance, strategic direction and sound financial management. We work with our partners to identify areas for improvement and are prepared to fund those improvements.

We continually look to strengthen our local networks in the countries we support. These networks help us develop a good understanding of the local context, share learning and keep abreast of developments that affect the education sector. They also help us source ambitious, high quality funding partners.

Given the scale and complexity of education systems, we seek opportunities to co-fund with like-minded foundations to effect change more broadly than we can in isolation. Co-funding also both spreads the financial risk for us and our partners and presents great potential for peer-to-peer learning.