Human rights leaders speak on philanthropy and working abroad


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Musimbi Kanyoro, CEO of the Global Fund for Women, speaks with Christine Sherry of Sherry Consulting on philanthropic endeavors abroad.
Photo credit: 
Dana Phelps

Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, and Christine Sherry, president and founder of Sherry Consulting, joined in a motivating conservation about international philanthropy for the Stanford Program on Human Rights’ Winter Speaker Series “U.S Human Rights NGOs and International Human Rights” on January 28, 2015.

Sherry, as the founder of a philanthropic advisory practice, opened the talk with points on making smart philanthropic choices amidst the proliferation of U.S-based non-profit organizations. She cautioned students on starting their own non-profits, pointing out that the excess of such organizations decreases their availability to funding and risks reducing the impact of their work. She instead encouraged students to bring to already existing non-profit organizations their fresh perspectives and new ways of thinking about global structural issues. 

Kanyoro followed Sherry’s talk. After recognizing the presence of Anne Firth-Murray, the founder of the Global Fund for Women, Konyoro emphasized the human rights changes that are effective through investment in women leaders. She believes in the importance of strengthening the voices of the change-makers on the ground, and to exemplify her belief, she aired a video that allowed the women leaders to speak for themselves about the possibilities and realities for change that are happening in their communities.

Kim Meredith, executive director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS), moderating the event. Meredith questioned Sherry and Kanyoro about evaluating on-the-ground impacts; about sensible approaches for driving social change; and about helping students to find a “meaningful point of entry” into human rights work. Both Sherry and Kanyoro highlighted the importance of both quantitative and qualitative data in evaluating impact, emphasizing the need to hear the stories that accompany the statistics. Sherry and Kanyoro encouraged the students to grasp opportunities for travel and internships that will broaden their horizons, challenge them to explore their own biases, and motivate them to be future drivers for change.

Dana Phelps, Program Associate, Program on Human Rights