Innovative Financing and FGM, What is it all about?

Innovative Financing and FGM, What is it all about?


In a difficult global financial context, where traditional forms of development aid and institutional subsidies are in high demand, innovative financing approaches appear to be a complementary solution for generating sustainable sources of financing to achieve sustainable development objectives.  

Innovative (also known as alternative) Financing is a broad term coined in the early 2000s that has been used for over two decades to describe the broad range of financing mechanisms that fall outside the classical official development assistance (ODA) funding model. Innovative financing represents a shift in the way development partners carry out resource mobilization and is based on the reduced role of ODA and a more prominent role for the private sector.     

It is then a question of setting up original financing mechanisms of a new type which make it possible to collect funds for projects working on FGM in addition to the traditional financing provided by States or international organizations. These mechanisms have the advantage over traditional financing, which is uncertain, stagnant and depends on the political and economic situation of the countries. The advantage is that the new methods could be more predictable, stable and regular. 

Innovative finance is not only about finance, it includes technical expertise, knowledge and partnership building which promotes additional resource mobilization through new financing mechanisms and instruments, better utilisation of traditional resources though more effective and efficient deployment. As well as the promotion of results-oriented financing that would secure better outcomes.  

Innovative financing is based on the idea of a fairer distribution of wealth by making the most globalized sectors contribute to financing development (private sector, financial sector, air and maritime transport, market mechanisms, etc.), alongside actions of generosity (by individuals, for example), in order to contribute to the “globalization of solidarity”.   

Mobilising funds to address FGM is a major challenge that has to be addressed by exploring new mechanisms to secure a mix of additional public and private resources, tied to concrete outcomes. Currently FGM programmes are largely funded by international public and few private sources. In the case of international public sources, funding comes from bilateral and multilateral donors, wheareas for private sources, they come primarily from philanthropic individuals.  

Despite the immense interest in innovative financing expressed by development partners and civil society, it is not yet clear how it has impacted the development sector finance landscape thus there is need for a deep dive to assess innovative financing in the FGM space.  

Who is the primary target ? Places or contexts in which innovative financing seems best suited 

Innovative financing is intended for developing countries mainly, but not limited to them, as it could be beneficial to any other country. We note in particular that it is increasingly and strongly recommended to the poorest local authorities, which have no, or insufficient access to traditional financing. 

With this discussion,  we hope that we will be able to reflect and share our thoughts on the questions below:   

  1. Where has innovative financing been used before in the civil society space so that best practices can be adopted and improved on?  
  2. Can innovative financing deliver stable and predictable resources for the end FGM movement?   

In its publication, the UNICEF-UNFPA Joint Programme (JP) to end FGM, UNICEF states that the Joint Programme will strengthen its resource mobilization efforts to generate additional financial resources from multiple sources with alternative funding mechanisms. ”It will look beyond existing funding sources to explore diverse streams through partnerships with the private sector, foundations and others. The JP will also actively, and in consultation with stakeholders, look into opportunities for catalytic use of its resources to leverage additional financing, innovative financing partnerships and modalities aligned to its desired outcomes”. (UNICEF|UNFPA, Delivering the Promise: End FGM by 2030)  

3.  Can innovative financing initiatives strengthen country ownership of the end FGM campaigns?  

Since the funding for FGM projects comes from international or multilateral funders, an innovative source of income or strategic funding should involve key national players, including the goverments. That way,  FGM is an issue that concens everyone in high prevalence countries instead of being left to few organisations of the Civil Society.   

4. Is innovative financing for FGM initiatives sustainable over the long-term?  

One of the issues that members mentioned often is the fact that FGM funding is limited to a short period of time that rarely allows the occasion to evaluate the impact of programme. As such it is difficulty to qualitatively assess various initiatives and to correct course where the impact may have not been optimal. If the source of fund is diverse, there is an assumption that grass root organisations would finally be able to sustain the fight against FGM and finally measure the success and the impact   

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