Philanthropic Organisations and Non-State Actors

Raymond Saner, PhD, University of Basle & Director, Diplomacy Dialogue, CSEND, Geneva
Paper presented at the “Seminar on Administrative System Reform of Public Service Units”, 21-22 September 2013, Beijing, China.


Philanthropic organisations (POs) share similar vision like the NGOs in regard to solving social issues through private initiates, yet typically POs fall into the grant making categories and often focus on critical sectors like health and education. In recent years, POs have emerged as important complement to the UN specialised agencies in regard to development cooperation and broader debate on development effectiveness. (flow chart)

The term philanthropy is generally used to “describe any private voluntary action for the public good. It can encompass donations and investments of time, money, expertise, connections, and many other types of assets (Foundation 1796, p.9)

Raymond Saner & Lichia Yiu, (2019)

This paper discusses the constraints and opportunities of providing educational services across borders making reference to hurdles that need to be identified and appropriately addressed such as rules regarding trade in education services as defined by WTO agreements as well as other national rules which a PO investor needs to know, respect and manage such as labour rules covering teaching faculty, educational fees and scholarly grading systems.

Investing by providing education to a DC can be successful under the condition that the PO develops and applies a comprehensive monitoring system that helps the PO understand and constructively manage the investment challenges at Meta, Macro, Meso and Micro level. This paper explains the different levels and provides suggestions how these multiple hurdles can successfully be overcome for the benefits of all parties involved in cross-border educational investment by a non-state actor (PO) in a developing country.

A paper submitted to the UNDP for its “Seminar on Administrative System Reform of Public Service Units in China”, 21-22 September 2013. This paper was later published as a proceeding of the Seminar.