In early 2014, Legatum joined forces with the Walk Free Foundation and Humanity United to launch the Freedom Fund. Over the best part of the last decade, the Freedom Fund has developed a model of philanthropy that has shown to be highly impactful in the anti-slavery space.
In a recent article for openDemocracy, Nick Grono, CEO of the Freedom Fund, explained the three key routes through which philanthropy has advanced efforts to combat modern slavery and human trafficking; donor mobilisation, a systems approach and meaningful data collection.
Donor mobilisation and collaboration
The Freedom Fund has combined and scaled resources from three of the largest philanthropic organisations in the anti-slavery space and encouraged other foundations to commit significant funding.
Funding for anti-trafficking had previously been quite limited, and this was the first time some private donors had committed to these kinds of initiatives.
The Freedom Fund has also encouraged strong collaboration between donors, with different organisations working closely towards a common strategy. This has been key to the success in the anti-slavery movement and could be a powerful model to apply to other sectors.
Using a systems approach
Instead of focussing on a rescue mission, the Freedom Fund brings a systems approach to its work. They focus on the root causes of modern slavery, working with survivors, community voices and local experts to create systems that resist exploitation.
Their work with over 100 local, frontline organisations consolidates and amplifies the voices of exploited communities to combat the power disparities that underlie modern slavery.
Investment in data and measurement
Heavily investing in data, particularly on regional prevalence, has been a huge step forward in the anti-slavery space in recent years. The Freedom Fund has published 70 research reports, measuring the scale of child and forced labour, and sex trafficking.
While it can be damaging to focus solely on data at the expense of other forms of impact assessment, measurement is carefully applied where it adds particular value. It enables organisations to examine what works, learn from unexpected results and share knowledge.
These three main aspects of the Freedom Fund’s work have significantly moved efforts forward in the anti-slavery space and demonstrate the power of collaboration between philanthropic organisations and local experts.