Developing a Collective Framework & Agenda to Advance Social Justice Philanthropy in Africa & the Arab Region

The report ‘DEVELOPING A COLLECTIVE FRAMEWORK & AGENDA TO ADVANCE SOCIAL JUSTICE PHILANTHROPY, IN AFRICA AND THE ARAB REGION’ is based on a convening held in Johannesburg in October 2012. The Convening was an initiative of TrustAfrica, the Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace and the African Grantmakers Network, in collaboration with the Global Fund for Community Foundations and the Arab Foundations Forum.

The report highlights key emerging themes from the conversations and reflects the implications for our practice.

Four specific themes emerge:
Demonstrate leadership: a call for individuals working in the field of SJP to lead by example by themselves investing in their institutions, demonstrating clear strategy along with leadership and a peer review mechanism.
Be inclusive: a call to include voices across the board; through grant making as well as within peer grant maker networks, across boundaries created by geography and language.
Recognize the power vested in grant-makers: a need to move from intellectual discourse to practice and “horizontalize” power relations between grant makers and grant seekers
Build African Narratives: build our own institutions and create our knowledge to develop and share our own narratives and ideas.

Additionally, three specific programmatic issues were highlighted in the discussions:
1.Arts and Culture: There was a keen interest by some participants in thinking about how to collectively explore arts and culture and its intersections with social justice more concretely.
2.Resource Governance: Within the context of booming extractive resource based economies, there was considerable interest in exploring how philanthropy engages with issues related to governance of resources.
3.Enabling Environment: The need to interrogate in more depth what constitutes an enabling environment for giving in an African context.

To support the action needed to engage on the above themes and programmatic areas seven key areas for specific action were identified by participants:

1.Develop an evidence base: Draw on existing examples to capture SJP as a concept and illustrate its role and relevance.
2.Build Knowledge: Establish a knowledge hub to take forward research and analysis, build evidence, develop tools and disseminate information.
3.Strengthen and reflect the narrative of existing non-formalised giving systems: Develop tools and evidence that would help to better understand and reflect the nature and value of non-formal giving and identify intersections between informal giving systems and issues of injustice.
4.Promote arts and culture as a tool for social justice: Share learning and tools on the use of arts and culture to promote social justice, with a call for the development of a position paper on the topic.
5.Develop self regulation tools for engaging with African and foreign money: Develop a matrix of transparency concerns in relation to fundraising and explore avenues for self-regulation.
6.Promoting connections through existing networks: Look for opportunities to connect with broader constituencies through existing platforms such as Africa Grantmakers Network (AGN), the Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace Network (PSJP) and others. Platforms such as the Ushahidi model were mentioned as a possibility to help map the field.
7.Developing a trans-national fund: The idea of a fund that originates from practitioners of social justice philanthropy

We hope you will enjoy reading the report and will write to us (Halima Mahomed at and/or Chandrika Sahai at with feedback and to engage with peers on the specific action areas emerging from the report.

We look forward to hearing from you!