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Charity In The Spotlight: What Does The World Health Organization Do?

World health organization (WHO) is the organization that directs and coordinates health matters within the United Nations system. This organization provides leadership on global health issues, influencing health research, standards setting norms, providing the required technical support to all the countries involved, and assessing and monitoring global health developments.

WHO role in public health
This organization fulfills is agenda through its core functions, which are:

• Leadership provision on health matters and engaging in partnerships where joint actions are required
• It shapes the research agenda and stimulates the generation dissemination and translation of essential knowledge
• It sets standards and norms, monitors and promotes their implementation
• It articulates evidence based and ethical policy options
• It provides required technical support, and builds sustainable institutional capacity
• It monitors health situations and assesses health trends

These core functions were set out at the 11th general work program that provides the global organizational framework, resources budget, and results. It covers a 10-year period running from 2006 to 2015.

The agenda
The WHO’s landscape is increasingly changing, as much as it is complex. Unfortunately, the boundaries are now unclear and it has extended into other sectors, which influence health outcomes and opportunities. The world health organization is responding to these challenges by using a six point to address the issue. The six points address two specific health goals, two strategic must have’s and two operational advances. Health in Africa and women’s health will be the measuring gauge for the impact of the organization’s overall performance.

1) Development support
In the past decade, the health sector has achieved exceptional prominence as the key driver in social economic progress, and consequently more resources invested into the industry. Conversely, poverty is still a major contributor to poor health within significant populations.
The ethical principal of equity is what directs health development. Hence, people must gain access to health enhancing interventions, and no one should deny them for unfair reasons, be they social or economic. WHO has made a commitment to ensure they give priority to health issues among the disadvantaged the poor and or vulnerable groups within communities.

2) Nurturing health security
Collective action is required in order to share vulnerability to health security threats. One of the major threats arises from epidemics and disease outbreaks. It is notable that outbreaks are increasing, and the biggest influencer are factors such as environmental mismanagement, rapid urbanization methods used to produce and sell food, and also the misuse and use of antibiotics. The world is doing its best to defend itself against such outbreaks using collective measures introduced in 2007, when revisions on international health regulations were enforced.

3) Enhancing the health systems
If health improvement is going to operate as poverty reducing strategy, then the poor must receive health services as well as the underserved populations. Apparently, many health systems across the globe are unable to do this, which makes strengthening the systems, a first priority for WHO. Some of the areas they are addressing include providing enough and adequately trained staff, good financing, as well as access to essential drugs and the appropriate technology.

4) Connecting information research and evidence
Evidence is the source of strategies priorities and a measuring gauge for results. The WHO generates authoritative health information, after consulting with the industry leading experts to put in place standards and norms, communicate evidence-based options on policies as well as monitoring the evolving global health issues.

5) Promoting partnerships
The WHO works in collaboration and support with different partners who include other UN agencies, international organizations, civil society donors and the private sector. The WHO uses its strategic power of evidence to encourage their partners to implement programs within regions and countries to align their activities with top-notch technical practices and guidelines as well as with priorities put in place by countries.

6) Enhancing performance
The WHO participates in current forums that aim at enhancing its effectiveness and efficiency, both at the international level as well as within countries. It aims at ensuring that their staffs, who are the strongest asset, work in a rewarding and motivating environment. It also plans to budget its operations and activities through a results based management, along with clearly defined results expectations to measure the performance at international regional and country levels.

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Venture Philanthropy

Philanthrocapitalism or venture philanthropy is a branch of philanthropic activity in which venture capital or private equity comes to application in charitable and nonprofit sectors. Venture Philanthropy is a movement, which adopted techniques that had already worked well for venture capital establishments in the 1990s. It is quite a closer interaction between the recipient and the giver, with an emphasis on results that could be measured.

Although venture philanthropy exists in a number of forms, but primarily it is characterized as:

The engagement or active partnership of volunteers, donors and experts with non-profits or charities for achieving mutually agreed results like capacity building, organizational effectiveness and other vital changes. Another characteristic of this kind of philanthropy is the use of different financing methods in addition to grants, like loans, multi-year financing or other financial instruments that are most suitable for the requirements of a nonprofit. Another characteristic is the ability to offer resources and skills with the aim of giving more value to the development of a nonprofit. The drive to empower donors to capitalize socially on their investment, whether the donor is an expertise or time volunteer, or a financial donor.

The modern form of philanthropy first emerged in USA in the middle of 1990s, and it spread out to Europe in the past decade. The venture philanthropists from Europe have adapted and developed the U.S. model to imbibe varying socio-political as well as funding environments. For instance, venture philanthropy in America is based on grants, but in Europe there are broader options of surplus sharing concept and loans, that are used in addition to grants. It has also been found that there is openness in Europe, when it comes to investing in charities that are not registered like social businesses, social enterprises and individuals. The primary reason for this alteration from the American model is the existence of different legal forms of tax relief for charitable organizations in different European countries. In order to advance their mission, venture philanthropists are more likely to work actively with government or funders.

The fact of the rapid growth of venture philanthropy in the last decade apart, it still receives only a small portion of total grants. Even though Venture Philanthropy remains small in size, its impact continues to develop as traditional, larger grant makers take some of its main principles. The key characteristics of venture philanthropy include high engagement, multi-year support, tailored financing, non-financial support, performance measurement and capacity building.

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