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This guide has its origins in a research study carried out between 2003 and 2005, the purpose of which was to explore the local ethos of caring and sharing in poor African communities. Focus groups carried out by national research teams in Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe generated rich narrative text revealing what the term 'help' means to the poor, who helps and is helped in poor communities, the forms help takes and, finally, why people help each other. This knowledge informed the first systematic understanding of 'indigenous philanthropy' in southern Africa. To emphasise the local ethos of caring and sharing and make it more visible to development organisations, it was named. The term 'horizontal philanthropy' or 'philanthropy of community' (PoC) was coined and the research findings documented in a 2005 monograph entitled, The Poor Philanthropist: How and Why the Poor Help Each Other (Wilkinson-Maposa, Fowler, Oliver-Evans & Mulenga 2005). The findings published in 2005 sparked the interest of the development community.
The second title in the Poor Philanthropist Series, this monograph represents the culmination of a six-year journey; a journey characterised in the first three years by in-depth qualitative research which resulted in an understanding of philanthropic traditions among people who are poor in southern Africa and gave rise to new and innovative concepts which formed the focus of the research monograph The Poor Philanthropist: How and Why the Poor Help Each Other, published by the Southern Africa-United States Centre for Leadership and Public Values in 2005.
This paper is therefore a discussion of the legislative environment under which civil society, in particular organized formations, operate in Africa. It is based on twelve African countries (Angola, DRC, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe). In all these countries we studied civil/state relations, existing NGO laws and NGO policies, including other laws that have an impact on NGOs, national constitutions, processes and the general political economy of the third sector. The merging findings point to some interesting conclusions. More studies are underway in Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Swaziland. The findings from these will be integrated into the current paper. This paper is therefore work in progress -- nevertheless the countries studied already are significant to begin a discourse on state/civil society relations, public spaces, and the general legislative environment for citizens and their formations. One of the emerging findings is that the political context determined the emergence of these legal instruments.
This monograph documents the results of a qualitative research inquiry conducted by the Building Community Philanthropy Project into the philanthropic impulse and behaviour of the poor. It documents the comparative findings across four countries - Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe - into how and why people who are poor help each other. Describing the ethos of help among the poor, the monograph explores how philanthropy is organised - its purpose, rules of engagement, form and content, its actors and the motivations behind it.
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