Looking Back at Zimbabwe

Source: Carnegie Corporation of New York

Date: 2007

In October 1999 Carnegie Corporation provided funding of $200,000 for the Constitutional Commission of Zimbabwe in support of public education and outreach activities, including: 1) educating Zimbabweans about the strengths and weaknesses of the present constitution; 2) informing them about the Commission’s work and 3) soliciting their input about the kind of government they wanted their country to have. According to the country’s president, Robert Mugabe, the Commission, a task force of 400 citizens, had been set up "to afford the people of Zimbabwe the opportunity to author and found their constitution enshrining freedom, democracy, transparency and good governance." But as anyone who has witnessed the repressive Mugabe regime at work will attest, this opportunity would never materialize. Why would Carnegie Corporation give a grant to a futile project in a doomed country? Why for that matter do foundations give grants at all? Philanthropic foundations exist primarily to give money away and, in the simplest possible terms, do so to solve problems. Carnegie Corporation founder Andrew Carnegie’s vision of philanthropy was "to do real and permanent good in this world." And as Corporation president Vartan Gregorian stresses, the most essential element of successful philanthropy can best be summed up in the word strategy.

Link: Looking Back at Zimbabwe

Keyword: Evaluation Field Building Partnership Strategy

Region: Africa