Definition of Terms

Defining the ‘southern Africa region’

The Southern Africa Trust uses membership in the Southern Africa Development Community to determine which countries constitute the ‘southern African region’. The 15 SADC member states are Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

While the Southern Africa Trust focuses on the southern Africa region, its partner organisations need not cover all countries in the region, but may focus on sub-regional initiatives that involve forms of participation, engagement or research relevant to at least two countries. The Southern Africa Trust considers participation in its activities by organisations from countries outside southern Africa on a case by case basis.

Understanding what we mean by ‘regional’ and ‘regionally significant’

The Southern Africa Trust supports processes that build regional understanding, dialogue, networks and regional agendas relevant to the eradication of poverty and reduction of inequality in the southern Africa region. Through focusing on policy at the regional level, rather than country by country, the Trust is able to have a wider and deeper impact on the lives of citizens.

The Trust will not normally consider supporting initiatives that are solely country-based and targeted at national-level policy without having significance for regional policy dialogue.

What do we mean by ‘civil society’?

The Southern Africa Trust understands civil society to include all non state actors, for example, faith-based organisations, the media, popular movements, the private sector, and other forms of constituency or interest-based organisation in society. The Southern Africa Trust supports a wide cross-section of role-players in civil society, representing different interests and constituencies focused on overcoming poverty.

What are ‘regional policy processes’?

The Southern Africa Trust uses ‘policy processes’ and ‘the development of policy’ as a shorthand for all processes that influence and shape the way in which public policy is developed, monitored, implemented and reviewed.

While the Southern Africa Trust primarily focuses on institutions with a regional remit, such as SADC, regional-level policy is strongly influenced by outcomes at national levels, and the connection with national-level processes are often the building blocks of regional processes. The regional policy agenda is also strongly influenced by continental and global dynamics.

Supporting ‘voices of the poor’?

The Southern Africa Trust sees the bargaining and negotiation over policy by different interest groups as key to building and consolidating democracy, and supports a wide range of interests within such processes. The Southern Africa Trust recognises that within many societies in the region, there are constituencies and interest groups that lack effective representation and ‘voice’ in policy processes, and that such constituencies are, to a large extent, those with the least power and resources – they are ‘the poor’. While such constituencies and their interests are by no means homogenous, the consistent and deliberate involvement of ‘voices of the poor’ contributes to making policy-making processes more inclusive and responsive to the needs of all people in the southern Africa region.