Philanthropy for the Ocean

by Adit Dsouza, Adithya Pillai, Sanjana Chevalam

A research team from Dakshin Foundation, supported by Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy, Ashoka University, is collaborating on a project to map philanthropic commitments towards marine conservation and other ocean-related causes in India.  The research will explore three broad themes – a. characterizing the present state of resources available for  support towards coastal and marine ecosystems and coastal communities; b. prioritising marine conservation and coastal community needs for better philanthropic support; and c. documenting best practices and strategies to mobilize interest and support for marine conservation and allied sectors.

By October this year, we hope to publish (at least) one working paper outlining the public and private resource flows within the sector, and delineating some of the challenges faced by organisations seeking to make an impact for coastal communities, habitats and species. 

This is a first attempt to address the gaps identified in literature on resource flows and operational aspects of ocean governance and marine conservation; collate data on marine-specific causes (usually categorized under support for biodiversity-related causes); and importantly, compile more accurate regional data on public, private and NGO-related support in developing country contexts. 

Given the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, our study will be conducted remotely, entirely by digital means, and will be based on ethnography, and in-depth interviews and surveys with practitioners, subject experts, conservationists, government representatives and donors. A specially-created database of organizations and donors from publicly accessible documents will seek to augment information and provide a snapshot of the current state of the sector. 

Our hope is that this study will serve as the foundation for informed decision-making, improved transparency and better overall public and private support for marine and related causes in India. Our research is expected to provide insights to donors, conservation organisations, the government and others committed to marine conservation and coastal wellbeing in India.

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