Collaborative Philanthropy for
Enabling Dignified Livelihoods


Agenda 2030 raises important challenges that make it necessary to identify innovative formulas and methodologies in order to contribute to improving the efficiency and impact of international cooperation programmes. For over 23 years “la Caixa” Foundation has been carrying out projects to improve living conditions of the most vulnerable communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The Foundation works closely with several local and international partners, prioritising inclusive partnerships and networks, focusing mainly on global health and job creation programmes.

Given this reality and as a consequence of our experience, we truly consider that private sector entities such as foundations must act as promoters of transformation processes, avoiding focusing solely and exclusively on the management and transfer of resources. In this transformation framework, experience has shown that alliances and networks always offer more effective results than a set of one-off actions.

Following this vision, the "la Caixa" Foundation launched the Work 4 Progress programme in 2017. This programme promotes open innovation platforms that seek synergies in the work of organisations, connecting local solutions with global problems with the aim of creating job opportunities for women and young people in India, Mozambique and Peru. Its main innovation is the inclusion of new tools and methodologies in:

1) Listening to and identifying community needs

2) Joint creation and prototyping of new solutions

3) Exploration of scaling instruments

4) Governance

5) Evolutionary evaluation systems

6) Inclusive funding strategies

Since initiation, the programme has acquired a sum of learnings that are contributing to changing organisational cultures and obtaining note-worthy results for job creation. However, the complexity implicit in a social innovation programme applied in changing contexts, such as the one that we are all facing at present of COVID-19, presents additional important challenges. Under these circumstances, social innovation tools can contribute to meeting critical needs and enabling adaptive capacities. These tools can contribute to increasing the impact of programmes even in uncertain times, by avoiding top-down proposals and through inclusive models of collaboration. Private sector organisations including foundations must be prepared to adapt to changing contexts, promote innovative models and encourage different responses.

Following this vision, from the very beginning of the pandemic outbreak, “la Caixa” Foundation has been adapting all our programmes to the COVID-19 context launching specific activities and projects, mostly in Spain given our long history and presence in the country and because of the dramatic impact of the pandemic here. We are also working hand in hand with our partners in Latin America, Asia and African countries in order to together align the projects promoted to the current context.

All our actions respond to the need of rethinking promotion of international development cooperation projects by promoting new tools to reinforce their impact and incorporate a new approach to social innovation. All this through the sum of efforts in transformative actions from a territorial point of view, generating a new culture of collaboration between the entities. In this sense, W4P promotes the systematisation and sharing of knowledge generated from field experience in the 3 countries where we operate. Some examples are the publication Open Innovation Platforms for Sustainable Development in collaboration with UNDP and the Practical guides about listening, co-creation, prototyping and evaluation, edited in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation in Technology for Human Development (itdUPM) of the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. Our India platform in the context of the current crisis has initiated a new toolkit series for meso-level stakeholders encompassing key strategies for responding to the crisis based on social innovation principles.

The aim is to increase its impact and sustainability, incorporate new iterative and inclusive monitoring and evaluation processes that allow the programme to be adapted in real time to the needs of each place. In short, betting on innovation, including technological innovation, and local networks and alliances for collaboration. One example of collaboration from the Mozambique W4P platform is a ‘Guarantee Fund’ to provide credits to vulnerable producers of Cabo Delgado, in collaboration with a major bank, BCI (Banco Comercial e de Investimentos). The ‘Guarantee Fund’ of 100.000 euros has enabled delivery of more than 50 credits in 2019. It is planned to increase the amount of the fund for 2020 with the participation of new partners.

In Peru, the W4P platform has developed a portfolio of 17 micro-company prototypes, ready to receive co-financing from third partners. This is the case, for example, of the Center of Business Services, an incubator developed under W4P, which has received co-financing from AECID, the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation to provide services to indigenous entrepreneurs of Condorcanqui (Amazonia, Peru).

The paradigms of international cooperation are changing and the core of la Caixa’s principles of collaboration, inclusive networks and shared learning provides a new pathway to implement international cooperation programmes.

Small bios of guest authors

Ms. Ariadna Bardolet Urgellès
Director - International Department, “la Caixa” Foundation
Ms. Urgellès has been with the “la Caixa” Foundation since 1997, and is currently the Director of International Programmes. She is in charge of programmes dealing with development issues like global health, education, and job creation in more than forty countries.

Ms. Marta Solsona Masana
Programme Manager, “la Caixa” Foundation
In charge of the Work 4 Progress programme at “la Caixa Foundation”, Ms. Masana currently coordinates development projects aimed at creating employment and generating economic activity in developing countries.


Ariadna Bardolet Urgellès
and Marta Solsona Masana


Back to Contents

  Share Subscribe Home

Contact Us

About Us