Summary of Key Challenges and Strategies by Project Phase

Challenges/Colonial LegaciesStrategies to Decolonize
Conceptualization and contracting phase
    Priorities set/driven by GN and misaligned to the issues/context
  • Align solicitations with local priorities, policies, agendas, and strategies through processes such as reverse funding calls.

  • Develop local partnerships for awards and be accountable to targets such as funding allocations and number of lead GS-based project directors.

    Burdensome contracting processes; lack of bandwidth to search for opportunities among GS
  • Reduce administrative burdens that present barriers to diversify applicants. For example, develop a dedicated unit to assist organizations with the paperwork and accept concepts in various formats, including videos.

    Lack of negotiation power/skills
Inequitable institutional investment by funders in local organizations
  • Form GS-based coalitions to share resources and power.

  • Increase representation of small, locally led organizations.

  • Invest in GS-based organizations to build systems to manage the administrative processes of applying for and receiving funds by relaxing unequal overhead limits.

  • Define equitable partnership in GHD.

Planning and implementation phase
    Unequal distribution of resources
  • Allocate resources that allow GS-based organizations to build the systems needed to increase their ability to manage grant implementation.

  • Increase GS spending and decrease GN spending.

    Undervalued roles; extractive dynamic
  • Acknowledge and value GS roles in research, including but not limited to local expertise, shepherding of relationships with participants and other stakeholders, data collection and analysis, and more.

    Lack of flexibility in implementation
  • Listen to the GS. Open a line of communication between donors and funded partners, especially those based in GS, to allow for more adaptive management and responsiveness to context.

  • Build in accountability and feedback loops whereby funders and implementers are accountable to communities and subpartners.

Evaluation and dissemination phase
    Co-option of work
  • Facilitate relationship-building and communication between GS partners and GN funders.

  • GN partners should champion and cede space to promote the presence and visibility of GS partners when communicating with funders.

  • Data collected by and from the GS should be co-owned by GS partners.

    GN-oriented dissemination and research utilization
  • When planning for dissemination and knowledge products, prioritize what will be most valuable to the GS context from which the insights were generated.

  • Prioritize reaching end users of outputs by using local languages and accessible/relatable formats as opposed to academic manuscripts.

  • Facilitate/make space for leadership/meaningful participation of GS colleagues in the development of manuscripts. Ensure authorship discussions do not privilege skills such as English as a first language that do not necessarily correlate to the value of contributions.

    Reliance on quantitative results
  • Use more nuanced evaluation of funder investments.

  • Abbreviation: GHD, global health and development; GN, Global North; GS, Global South.