By Alfred Wandera
Regional philanthropy experts have called for tapping into the local resources and the growing wealthy class to fund activities that boost social and economic wellbeing of society.
Speaking On Thursday at the opening of a two-day peer learning event themed “Measuring Change and growth in African philanthropy”, African Grantmakers Network (AGN) secretariat coordinator, Adern Nkandela, said in Africa, middle class is emerging as the key source of philanthropy funds.
“According to AGN statistics, $2.6b (sh8trillion) in Africa has been generated from local philanthropists. Yet still there are a lot of activities such as merry-go-round especially among women that are not recognized but are crucial in the financing of social activities,” said Nkandela.
Nkandela added that the emergence of wealthy individuals on the continent has created over $7b (sh21.5trillion) available for philanthropy, calling on the need to network with such magnates to fund socio-economic activities across the continent.
The event was organized by the Independent Development Fund (IDF), a Ugandan philanthropy organization that gives financial support to medium term civil society to grow institutional capacity building in advancing human rights and governance.
Another participant organization is the East Africa Association of Grantmakers (EAAG) that comprises three East African Community (EAC) member states of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to which IDF is a member. The event drew participants from South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia.
It meeting intends to provide benchmark information on African philanthropy and development, with the aim of developing a minimum set of indicators which can support defining changes and outcomes related to the work of philanthropy organisations.
Nkandela said there are over 400 philanthropy organisations in Africa, giving the continent the basis for localizing philanthropy funding.
IDF programme support manager, Sarah Nankya Kintu, said since inception in 2008, the organization has supported 154 civil society bodies with an annual budget of sh4b.
Kintu said IDF gets funding from bilateral donors such as the European Union and in turn gives grants to civil society to promote human rights and governance.
EAAG chief executive officer, Nicanor Sabula, said in 2013, local philanthropists in Kenya generated $100m (shs3.1b) to fund various activities in the country.
“Africans are known for having a giving and sharing hand, so we can reap that from families and generate funds to finance social activities. Companies are now creating corporate foundations and therefore philanthropy it is no longer a one-off event of social responsibility. The growth is tremendous. Governments should come in and support the cause,” said Sabula.
Sabula explained that it is high time grant-makers began tracking their contributions so as to report them to national governments when demanding for conducive environment to operate in.
“The discovery of minerals and oil shows that we are endowed with enough resources and its high time we shifted our efforts and looked internally to direct our social development. The foreign donors are getting tired of giving us handouts,” said Sabula.
The event invited member organisations to share experiences and learning gained in their work in monitoring and evaluation to contribute to institutional building and practice as they explore methods to measure trends in models of development and social giving in Africa.