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Advancing impact networks in sub-Saharan Africa with Converge

Small Foundation is delighted to announce a new two-year phase of partnership with our impact network support and thought partner Converge.

The partnership is multifaceted and combines ongoing co-learning with practical support for networks, as well as dissemination of insights and lessons from Converge’s global experience. The collaboration will enable Converge to identify and work with a new network coordinator based on the African continent. With this new coordinator, Converge will continue to support a nascent network of network coordinators that has emerged from recent cohorts of their network leadership series. Converge will also provide bespoke network advisory support to Small Foundation network partners.

Small Foundation is looking forward to extending our experience of supporting impact networks by learning from and with Converge. Learning questions that we are curious to explore together include: ‘How are networks building their capacity for systems change?’ and ‘What tools, techniques, and practices are healthy networks using to advance impact?’

Building on the launch of Converge Partner David Ehrlichman’s book ‘Impact Networks’ in 2021, and the accompanying documentary, Small Foundation is delighted to support Converge to continue to disseminate their learning and experience through different media. We envisage this will include more articles and a new podcast that will shine a light on the pioneering work of impact networks tackling complex problems in varied contexts.

Converge is a network of strategists, designers, storytellers, and systems thinkers based in the US. The network collaborates globally with foundations, non-profits, mission-centred businesses, and government agencies to build impact networks that increase connection, learning, and action.

Converge believe that in a world that is experiencing profound and rapid change we need to work together more effectively than ever before. To do so requires bridging across silos, sectors, geographies, and communities. This kind of collaboration is appealing in concept but challenging in practice.

Small Foundation has worked with Converge since 2018. Converge has helped us to develop our own impact network practice and – alongside another network support partner Creative Metier – provided advice and coaching to our network partners, who unlock collaborative impact in and for MSME ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa. We see mission-aligned networks as a powerful way for local leaders and decision-makers to coordinate and leverage their best thinking, ideas and available resources around a common purpose.

As Small Foundation operationalises our systems strategy, we see impact networks as important to achieving progress in the system entry points we have identified:

  • Commercially viable, sustainable models serving rural MSMEs
  • Connected, transparent and learning ecosystems
  • Changing patterns of empowerment and agency in Africa

You can learn more about Converge’s work via social media and their website, including their ground-breaking open-access toolkit and network training opportunities.

 

 

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