Our approach

Young people training for leadership: the President’s Young Professionals Program in Liberia.

The work of Big Win Philanthropy is focused on three main areas. These are set out below, together with the kinds of support we offer our partners and the strategies that guide our work.

Main areas of interest

We are led by the priorities of the African leaders we partner with. We support work that invests in children and young people to:

  • improve the life prospects of individuals;
  • generate economic returns; and
  • help secure the long-term economic magnifier effect of a demographic dividend.

The three areas we have a particular interest are:

Brain development. The development of a child’s brain provides the fundamental basis for the cognitive, emotional and social capacities that enable the child to fully function as a person. A large proportion of children across sub-Saharan Africa suffer impaired brain development because of three key factors: undernutrition, insufficient social stimulation from care-givers and the experiencing or witnessing of violence. We are interested in work that addresses these factors.

Education for productivity. Better education is essential for developing the qualities and skills that children will need to become more productive – both in terms of their own quality of life and their contribution to national economic growth. Our interest ranges from early years and preschool education through to primary, secondary and vocational education. Our main areas of interest are improving the quality of education and making education relevant to the future economic and social contribution that young people are able to make to society.

Youth employment. Africa’s youth bulge involves a population set to quadruple by 2100, of whom half are currently under 25. With the right investment in creating employment, this new generation could become an economic powerhouse. But without investment, poverty and disaffection amongst young people could lead to profound social instability. We are interested in programs to create employment (in the informal sector as well as through formal waged employment) and to make young people more employment-ready.

We are also interested in maternal, child and reproductive health, particularly for creating the conditions that allow a demographic dividend to be secured.

Types of support

The support we offer national and regional leaders includes:

  • Technical assistance for strategy and planning.
  • Analysis and assessments.
  • Monitoring of execution and evaluation of impact.
  • Strategic support for program delivery.
  • Leverage of knowledge and innovation.
  • Facilitation of inter-sectoral collaboration between ministries.
  • Support for partnerships and communications.

Principles and themes

Our work is guided by a number of principles and themes:

Aspiration. We see children and young people as a huge asset for creating economic growth and social stability – too often they are seen as a problem or a humanitarian obligation.

Respect. We support the vision and ambition of political leaders in developing countries and align our support with their development priorities, including support for leadership capacity-building.

Collaboration. We support cross-sectoral collaboration between different government ministries to address major social challenges. We also seek to forge partnerships between government, business and civil society.

Implementation. We believe that execution and delivery are just as important as policy and deserve greater attention and prestige. We support leaders to improve implementation capacity.

Megatrends. We consider major social shifts such as population growth that are often neglected in the context of short-term political cycles.

Ambition. We seize opportunities that are strategic, scalable and have relevance beyond a specific project, with the potential to be game-changing.

Evidence. We support leaders in utilizing data to inform their priorities, refine program design, monitor outcomes, improve cost-effectiveness, measure impact and challenge orthodoxy.