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Knowing Civil Society Organisations – 2015

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Since its inception in 2005, the Southern Africa Trust (the Trust) has developed, implemented and consistently refined a comprehensive grant making strategy and funding programme. This approach has seen the establishment of a large and diverse grants portfolio that engages with a diverse range of organisations across the southern Africa region and beyond, based on the real development context and needs. Over the years, the Trust has adapted and rationalised its grants portfolio to ensure that it feeds directly into innovative and effective interventions in defined thematic areas. The Trust has developed its role as a catalyzing agent that produces sustainable change that can last beyond its direct intervention, guidance and leadership.

A major focus of the regional grant-making programme is on policy advocacy and the use of a series of strategies to influence the formulation and development of public policy at national and regional level. Through its portfolio of grant partners, the Trust leverages multiple networked targeted actions directed at changing policies, positions or programmes on pro-poor concerns in the region. Specifically this grant funded policy advocacy seeks to:

  • Establish new pro-poor policies;
  • Improve on existing policies; and
  • Where necessary challenge and change pieces of legislation that impact negatively on particular individuals or groups.

The Trust has continued to focus on developing the institutional environment for structured policy and developmental engagement between state and non-state actors at regional and national levels, including the organisational development of key regional civil society apex organisations. It has increasingly implemented more focused programme interventions for pro-poor policy development in its thematic areas related to regional integration, and developed a broader portfolio of grantees that makes it possible for deeper and more meaningful citizens’ engagement in the process of shaping regional integration. The overall objective of this “Knowing Civil Society Organisations” Report is to review the current portfolio of grants and assess the extent to which partner civil society organisations have utilised the Trust grantee experience to drive policy advocacy agendas and derive the kinds of strategic learning needed to inform better regional policy interventions.

The report has been compiled using a range of key strategic documents and organisation reports made available by the Trust1 to assess the degree to which the organisations funded by the Trust have continued to strengthen their pro-poor policy work, as well as the extent to which they are forming and strengthening national and regional networks for integrated policy responses. The report will assess the degree to which organisations have aligned themselves with the Trust’s five thematic areas of focus, as well as assess the extent to which the Trust’s five inter-related strategies have been translated by partner organisations into effective implementation for achieving their key objectives and results areas.

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