Data strategy and capacity building in East Africa 

In East Africa, giving is a key driver behind community development, and the practice of philanthropy ranges from a wide variety of community giving models, to family philanthropy, faith-based giving, and corporate philanthropy.  

However, East African countries lack central repositories with data and knowledge about philanthropic activities – a crucial tool for building a stronger sector, highlighting philanthropy’s contribution to national development, and facilitating strategic collaboration and decision-making.   

Foundation Center Director of Global Partnerships, Lauren Bradford, recently spent two weeks meeting with philanthropists and social sector leaders in Kenya.

Since 2015, Foundation Center has been working in partnership with East Africa Association of Grantmakers (EAAG) and the National Philanthropy Forums in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania to develop and implement locally-led data strategies to capture the impact of philanthropy in the region.

During the first phase of the programme, FC colleagues in the region identified specific data needs and challenges, and have since taken steps to address them, most importantly by committing to share data among themselves through a philanthropy data portal.  

Earlier this year Foundation Center started co-developing a prototype data portal along with partners in the region. In the next phase, it will provide technical capacity building support to ensure sustainable management of the portal at local level.

This marks a crucial turning point in a region where the relationship between civil society and government is often marked by low levels of trust and foundations have traditionally been reluctant to share information widely.  

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