According to the African Development Bank, three out of five people in Southern Africa live on less than a $1 a day. Poverty levels are further exacerbated by complex development challenges in the region like HIV/AIDS, youth unemployment, malnutrition and gender inequality. Several development agencies, civil society groups, nonprofits and foundations in the region have funded and implemented policies and programmes to curb these trends and improve livelihoods over the years. One notable organization, working to create an enabling environment for policy changes since 2005, is Southern Africa Trust, a grantmaking organization with a vision for a well-integrated and poverty-free region.
Led by its Chief Executive Officer, Bhekinkosi Moyo, the Southern Africa Trust influences public policies to end poverty through five key programmes: Learning for Better Poverty Reduction Results; Understanding Building Civil Society Organizations and Building Capacity to do Pro-Poor Policy Work; Constructing Regional Identity and Civic Participation Among Citizens; Creating New Opportunities for Voices of the Poor to be Heard in Policy Dialogue; and More and Better Financing to Civil Society Organizations in Southern Africa. Through these wide-reaching programmes and with the support of its funding partners, the Trust enables and strengthens civil society organizations to participate in advocacy, capacity building, and policy dialogues that advance the region’s development agenda.
To date, Southern Africa Trust has awarded $18.9 million in grants to 173 recipients, with grants ranging from $400 to $23,000. Some of its grantees include: African Wildlife Foundation, Economic Policy Research Institute, and University of Cape Town. Grants from the Trust have funded a variety of programmes; from national consultations on poverty in Angola to enabling and increasing participation of the Mozambican civil society, and dialogue on the policy framework governing the use of natural resources. The Trust also promotes local giving through campaigns like the Change4ever Campaign. More recently, in partnership with the University of Wits, Johannesburg, the Southern Africa Trust established an academic research chair in African philanthropy at the University of Wits. As a result, and for the first time, philanthropy is being studied from an African lens and perspective.
Since its inception, the Trust has helped to create and inspire a more vibrant civil society sector committed to curbing poverty in Southern Africa and has also made an impact on local giving across the continent. Funding partners like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Rockefeller Foundation, Oxfam, and UK’s Department for International Development have supported this important work by the Trust for many years, proving the organization to be a credible and noteworthy collaborator.
Read more about the Southern Africa Trust.