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Philanthropy Chat: Funding Trends for African Issue-based NGOs

Niamani Mutima
May 15, 2012 

Niamani Mutima discusses funding trends affecting and influencing foundations that are currently funding in Africa. Mutima is Executive Director of the Africa Grantmakers' Affinity Group (AGAG). AGAG is a membership network of foundations that are currently funding in Africa or are interested in funding in Africa.

Ms. Mutima spoke at the Foundation Center-Washington DC, focusing her discussion on the fact that there is no single foundation approach as far as African issue-based funding is concerned; NGOs seeking grants must determine how their program interests and "theories of change" match the funder that they’re hoping to partner with.

A theory of change, she explains, refers to how funders think about a particular problem, what they view as the appropriate solution to address issues on the continent. Funders' theories of change may differ widely from those of NGO grantseekers. She gives an example of HIV/AIDS work; some funders may focus on increasing access to antiretroviral drugs, while others are tackling the rise of orphans in the disease's wake, while still others seek to address systemic issues in the healthcare system overall.

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