A collaboration between the Southern Africa Trust and Wits Business School (WBS) will see a Chair in African Philanthropy established on the continent in a pioneering move to take forward the study of gifting in Africa.
Full vesting of the chair will be assisted by the temporary appointment of Dr Alan Fowler as a visiting professor to guide the work involved. Currently Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, The Hague, Professor Fowler will play a key role in establishing a professional point of reference, a space for dialogue and a home for study dedicated to African philanthropy.
Prof Fowler says, ‘This initiative, funded by the Ford Foundation, aims to take forward a pan-African perspective on the practice and epistemology of gifting on the continent.’
An inaugural conference to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in March this year will bring together academics and practitioners from across the continent to co-design a chair around four themes, namely; teaching, research, outreach to diverse audiences and the difficult issue of measuring performance.
The purpose of the chair is to bring the African narrative into the mainstream regarding the practice of gifting in Africa. This will include alignment and contribution towards the sustainable development goals and giving home-grown impetus to the development agenda of Africa.
Stakeholder engagement during this process will include consultation with policy makers, public, private and civil society leaders, academics, foundations, social investors and high net worth individuals investing in the philanthropic sector.
Prof Fowler says, ‘The cause of philanthropy and social investment in Africa will gain a practical boost as well as an academic home with the establishment of Chair in African Philanthropy within the continent.’
It is anticipated that the full profile of the chair will be approved before the end of June 2016.