New initiatives promote knowledge of African philanthropy


Amanda Aguilar


While philanthropy is an integral aspect of African society, the study and promotion of African philanthropy is still developing. However, two African organizations – TrustAfrica and Southern Africa Trust – are seeking to change that.

TrustAfrica, a pan-Africa foundation started in 2006, believes that Africans themselves, who understand the continent’s social, economic, and political setting, will have the most enduring solutions for the challenges Africa faces. In an attempt to offer a better understanding of the nature of African giving, the foundation launched the African Giving Knowledge Base. The platform is a compilation of over 700 reports, case studies, articles, and conference proceedings.

In the database, users can find literature covering a wide range of topics about African philanthropy, including information on legally structured entities, systems and traditions of solidarity, as well as works that look at the impact of external philanthropy on African development.

The works are available in multiple languages, including English, French, Arabic, and Portuguese. The platform is aimed at helping develop new knowledge in African philanthropy and adding to the discourse on African giving.

Established in 2005, the Southern Africa Trust helps civil society organizations in southern Africa become more impactful in the development of public policy, allowing the poor to have an effective voice in shaping the policies that overcome poverty.

In 2014, the Trust partnered with City Press – a national South African newspaper – to launch the How to Spread It series, a series of profiles on African philanthropy with the aim of increasing the awareness of African philanthropy. From a woman who fights corruption in Liberia to the Ethiopian-born co-founder of Africans in the Diaspora, the profiles come from activists and philanthropists all over the continent who have given back to their communities in money, mentorship, and more.

Like TrustAfrica’s platform, Southern Africa Trust’s City Press initiative aims to widen the knowledge of African philanthropy and increase conversations around giving in Africa.

Amanda Aguilar is a student at the University of California, Davis, and is currently an editorial intern with Alliance.

For more, see our interview with Bheki Moyo about the new chair in African philanthropy.

Comments (1)

Inga Ingulfsen

Love how African philanthropy is leading on knowledge sharing! Thanks for spotlighting the important work that African philanthropies are already doing in this area. Here's a story from yesterday on closely related work in East Africa specifically! Looking forward to more stories on this topic going forward. PS: Foundation Center is pretty thrilled that Trust Africa has built one of the most comprehensive knowledge centers ever built using Issue Lab technology! We can't wait to see how philanthropists and other civil society actors will use this knowledge to benefit their work going forward. Would love some stories on that as well. Check out other knowledge centers build with Issue Lab technology here:

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