The Decision-making Cycle

Adapting and implementing strategies for each country and goal requires a series of decisions, about both overall direction and individual grants to support projects, initiatives or networks. The Foundation uses a six-step decisionmaking cycle:

Goal Maturity

Each goal in each country follows a five-phase maturity process we have nicknamed ‘the fish’. We start a cycle of strategic planning with a testing and research phase, including information gathering, consultations, baseline research and testing.

We then move on to optimising our country strategies through funding various projects, initiatives and networks; monitoring and evaluating our own and our partners’ work, and making necessary adjustments; and creating and sharing knowledge. The optimisation phase typically involves committing more resources, so this is where the ‘fish’ becomes fattest.

In the consolidation phase, the aim is to ensure that this work is able to continue without our financial support, thereby putting us in a position to phase out. This created the opportunity to begin a new strategy – as represented by the fish’s tail.

We anticipate that this process will take between 5 and 10 years to complete for each country goal; some goals in some countries will move more quickly than others. Below the status of each goal in each country is visualised for 2013:

The Philanthropic Toolbox

Robust philanthropic organisations use six social change tools, all of which are present in the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s country strategies. The tools which the Foundation and its partners use to create change for children vary based on the context, specific goal and goal maturity in each country. On the country pages in the national activities section (pages 46 – 64) the balance of these approaches in each country in 2013 is depicted. The size of the circles indicates the relative emphasis placed on each tool.

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