Comic Relief supports some of the most disadvantaged and poorest people in the world. Africa is the focus for most of our international work as the continent has the highest levels of poverty and injustice in the world. At the same time we support work in a limited number of countries in Asia and Latin America.
We believe lasting change requires investing in work that addresses people’s immediate needs as well as tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. To do this effectively we’ve developed a set of principles which guide the way we work and the expectations we have of the organisations we fund. Organisations applying to us will need to demonstrate how their work addresses the following:
Understanding the context
We would expect organisations to show their understanding of the context in which they work, and the root causes of the issues they wish to tackle. This may include the culture of local communities, the political and economic environment and the role of others in the field.
Consulting with key players
We would expect to see people who will benefit from projects – as well as those who could influence the success or failure of the work - being consulted at the outset, and their views incorporated in project design. Including more marginalised groups in this process is important.
Building on good practice
We want to see how organisations are drawing on ‘good practice’ and knowledge of ‘what works’ to inform the work they do. But we also welcome projects that wish to experiment with new ideas and approaches to familiar problems.
Involving local people
Where possible, we want to see people who benefit from the projects we fund actively participating in those projects – from membership of advisory groups and trustee boards to feeding back on the value of the services to help inform future plans.
Investing in local organisations
We are keen to see how a project will contribute to building more effective and accountable local organisations. This could have implications for the roles and responsibilities of UK charities, which may change over time.
Working with others
Very few organisations can bring about lasting change on their own. We need to see how organisations work with others. This may be through sharing information and learning, joint influencing work and approaches that can help to make the work sustainable in the long term.
Implementing learning strategies
In order to learn from experience, we expect organisations to show how they have developed practical ways of capturing information and creating a culture committed to reflection, analysis and learning. We will encourage organisations to consider how they will do this and how they will involve people benefitting from the work in this process.
We will look for how organisations will use the evidence they have built up to inform their future plans and influence the decisions of others, particularly policy makers and others in the field.