After seven years funding organisations right across sub-Saharan Africa, we have taken the decision to limit future funding to five core countries: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. The decision was taken after careful consideration and analysis and we hope it will allow us to better support existing and future grantees, while stimulating innovation and fresh approaches to transparency and accountability work. The work of the Technology Innovation Hub Fund, however, is unaffected by this decision and it will continue to support organisations across sub-Saharan Africa.
Good tech innovation and transparency work happens right across Africa. We don’t believe that it is only in these five core countries that such work is being carried out and recognise the efforts of many high-quality organisations working elsewhere. We have proudly supported innovative work by Media Matters for Women in Sierra Leone, myAgro in Mali and Daraja in Tanzania to name a few. These groups and many others besides are doing great work outside our new core countries and we look forward to following their work with interest.
While our five focus countries typically attract more attention (and funding) than other countries on the continent, we still hope to support small, new and nimble organisations. As a small funder, we greatly value our ability to support smaller groups that might not otherwise attract funding. As part of our new focus on these countries we will continue to look for these sorts of organisations and hope to support many of the stars of tomorrow. Indeed, we hope that by concentrating our support we will be able to give more time and attention to those new organisations as they establish themselves. We hope to have more time to be able to provide them with advice and link them to the experts and expertise that will allow them to grow and become successful, independent entities.
We will continue to provide a similar level of financial support for our grantees, while our new country focus will simply allow us to concentrate our funding rather than spreading it thinly across many countries. By concentrating our support in these countries, we are hopeful that we can promote stronger networks within countries and facilitate connections between our grantees. We really believe that groups can learn most from their peers who grapple with similar issues or problems. A joined-up approach to transparency and accountability work is more likely to be successful than groups working in isolation on discrete challenges in many countries.
Being an informed donor, meanwhile, has long been a key aim of our work. We already have good networks of grantees and contacts in each of the five core countries and have a solid understanding of them. We want to be able to leverage these connections and this knowledge so that we can respond sensitively and perceptively to applicants and grantees in those countries. We also hope that we can deepen our knowledge of these countries, thereby enabling us to be better informed still.
And while we have taken this decision now, it is not intended to be permanent. We plan to review this over time and if we spot an opportunity to add a new country to our list we plan to take it!
Image courtesy of Wajahat Mahmood (CC BY-SA 2.0). Original available here.