Global Development Institute Blog

One World Together – a solidarity-based movement aiming to transform the development funding landscape – launched its new Community Space last Friday, 15th March. The event shone a light on the difference One World Together is making to its brilliant partner organisations, as well as how the Community Space will support future collaborations and community-building projects.

Founded by Chibwe Masabo Henry and GDI’s Niki Banks, One World Together emerged out of frustration with charitable funding models contingent on donor interests and priorities. As the pair explained in a speech opening last week’s event, charities spend staggering sums of money on fundraising and operational costs, reducing the sums available to address global challenges.

Thanks to a growing community of Global Citizens, One World Together is working to tackle inefficiencies and inequities within the sector. It benefits from a lean operational model, channelling money from its Solidarity Fund directly to local communities and organisations. And the positive outcomes are clear. As part of the launch event, we heard from the movement’s fantastic partner organisations, each of which provided insights into the difference they’re making across different parts of the world, including…

Raising Futures (Kenya)

First up was Florence Olwenge, who spoke via video link on behalf of Raising Futures. Based in Kenya, the charity supports young people to reach their potential through tailored training and support services. Florence spoke about the organisation’s role in helping young people develop a range of practical and vocational skills, including carpentry, fashion design, and catering.

Comprising a committed network of staff, mentors, graduates, and volunteers, Florence was keen to emphasise Raising Futures’ community-centric approach, offering collaborative solutions to some of Nairobi’s most complex social issues.

As well as channelling its resources into programmes that support young people’s future careers, Raising Futures is committed to tackling problems such as gender-based violence, a lack of reproductive health support, and widespread mental health issues. This holistic approach sets the organisation apart from other training providers and makes it a fantastic partner for a transformational organisation like One World Together.


Muungano wa wanavijiji’s Youth Federation (Nairobi, Kenya)

Next to join us via Zoom was Jacob Omondi from Muungano wa wanavijiji, an SDI-affiliated federation working to influence urban development in Nairobi. Jacob discussed some of the group’s transformational planning projects in Mukuru and Mathare, including his role in mobilizing and training people from informal settlements to get involved in civic life. Jacob also discussed his passion for working with young people and telling their stories through a range of media, including videos and blogs. By partnering with One World Together, Jacob and others in the Youth Federation will benefit from long-term support for their projects, helping young people develop new skills, confidence, and leadership capabilities.

Keen to discover more about Muungano’s work? Representatives from Muungano joined us last November to discuss the challenges social movements face in navigating hostile funding landscapes and inequitable urban development processes. Our blog provides a deep dive into their fascinating discussion with members of Community Savers, another One World Together partner (more on their fantastic work below!).


Play It Forward (Zambia)

The next speaker, Lwanga Bwalya, joined us in person to talk about Play it Forward, a movement designed to empower young Zambians through football. Lwanga delivered a spirited talk about football’s ability to unite people across differences, equip young people with motivation and purpose, and enhance mental and physical health.

Lwanga spoke candidly about the traumatic experiences that shaped his childhood and motivated his desire to help young people going through similar hardships. While Lwanga’s story was difficult to hear, he emphasised that it wasn’t unusual in the context of a local community affected by poverty and lack of access to essential resources like healthcare and education.

So, how does Play It Forward tackle such inequities and help provide a lifeline to young people? As Lwanga explained, the organisation’s academy embraces a holistic approach combining football coaching with academic support and hygiene provisions. With One World Together’s support, Play It Forward will continue partnering with communities lacking access to government-funded education and health systems, delivering vital services while giving boys and girls the chance to play in elite football teams.


Community Savers (Manchester and Sheffield, UK)

The final partner to take the floor was Community Savers – an affiliation of neighbourhood groups committed to addressing poverty and inequality by sharing ideas, experiences, and strategies. Representatives Dot (from the Miles Platting group) and Lina (from the Wythenshawe group) joined forces to discuss their motivations behind joining Community Savers and some of the work they’ve been doing to support neighbours in need.

With Community Savers being One World Together’s only UK-based partner, Dot and Lina reflected on the similarities and differences across organisations. On the one hand, all partners are community-centred and driven by a vision of a better world. As explored in our recent blog, both Community Savers and Muungano champion the power of saving money and protecting precious resources as a community. In the absence of government support, encouraging people to take matters into their own hands and realise their power as political agents can lead to life-changing outcomes.

Community Savers deliver a talk on their work


However, as Dot and Lina were keen to point out, poverty and disadvantage look different across contexts and require diverse strategies. For example, deprivation may be less visible within the UK, leaving many people to struggle in silence. With this in mind, the pair presented a video highlighting the many hardships families experience while navigating Manchester’s highly oversubscribed and under-resourced social housing system. With only 506 of the 23,364 homes built in Manchester between 2012 and 2022 being homes for social rent, it’s no wonder so many local people are struggling financially.

We were delighted to learn that the family featured in Dot and Lina’s video were rehomed after their story went viral on social media. By shining a light on hidden poverty, members of Community Savers are successfully pressuring those with the power to change things and demonstrating valuable solidarity with their neighbours.


Unveiling the new Community Space

Following Dot and Lina’s eye-opening presentation, all the speakers came together for a concluding panel discussion, embodying One World Together’s open and collaborative ethos. Global Citizen and GDI staff member Hannah Laycock also joined the line-up, alongside undergraduates in Global Development, Eren Bozacigurbuz and Sammi Dé. When prompted to discuss her motivations for signing up as a Global Citizen, Hannah explained how One World Together opened her eyes to the flaws that run through a charity sector so many of us expect to simply work. As a Global Citizen, she can be confident that her funds are making a real difference in people’s lives.

Speaking as development studies students, Eren and Sammi noted how joining One World Together and its related student union society has helped them look beyond the academic ‘echo chambers’ that often overlook people’s immediate needs and lived experiences. In getting involved with the movement at such an early stage in their careers, the students are setting themselves up to challenge widespread inefficiencies and become critical change makers in their chosen fields.


Finally, all participants shared nuggets of wisdom about the importance of solidarity and sharing lessons across organisations and contexts. As part of this discussion, we were treated to a sneak peek of the Community Space and its potential to facilitate supportive relationships between partner organisations and Global Citizens. The intuitive space offers a quick and simple way to show off achievements, share news, and chat about recent experiences. If you’re keen to get involved, you can access the space by signing up as a Global Citizen!


Join One World Together’s wave of change…

Feeling inspired to make a difference and ensure your donations reach the people who need them? There’s never been a better time to sign up as a Global Citizen through a small annual membership fee starting from £5/year. As One World Together’s first institutional member, University of Manchester students can become Global Citizens without paying this annual fee! Simply sign up with your university email address here. As a Global Citizen you’ll enjoy bespoke access to the Community Space and regular updates about how your money is spent.

Niki and Chibwe, co-founders of one world together


Then our Global Citizens sign up for an affordable monthly subscription into our Solidarity Fund starting from as little as £1.25/month. Every penny of this (minus the transaction fee) is pooled and reaches our partners on a completely unrestricted basis – they can spend it however best meets their need each time they receive it. Such a simple and affordable model is underpinned by One World Together’s core belief: that we can change the world, without asking the world. We can do that by coming together.

Join the wave of change today! For more information, do visit the One World Together site.



Note:  This article gives the views of the author/academic featured and does not represent the views of the Global Development Institute as a whole.