The Zambian Governance Foundation (ZGF) was registered in 2009 as a company limited by guarantee to enhance government accountability and transparency to poor and vulnerable sections of society through the development of the civil society sector in Zambia. ZGF’s mission is to strengthen the role of civil society in pro-poor policy engagement, by increasing access to capacity enhancement resources, tools and other support mechanisms. ZGF’s efforts aim at empowering poor and vulnerable people (men and women) to engage effectively with government and demand greater government accountability and responsiveness to their needs.
In mid-2016, ZGF met with representatives from the Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF) to learn more about the work they did in supporting community foundations across all continents. The term ‘community foundation’ was new to ZGF but not the concept of using local resources to spur local development. In a way, this is what ZGF had already begun fostering in its work in Muchinga province with small grassroots community-based organisations. As part of its affirmative action work in Muchinga, ZGF identified nine community-based organisations, and nurtured them over a four-year period, helping them to add a social accountability aspect to the service delivery work they were already engaged in. Some key results from this work were the organisations beginning to directly engage government at local level around issues to do with the free education policy, food security packs, child labour, access to water and access to HIV antiretroviral medication. Introducing a social accountability perspective to the service delivery issues the organisations were pursuing helped to enhance the sustainability of the interventions as it allowed for communities to come together and interact with government on issues affecting them.
Building on the Muchinga work, meeting with GFCF and subsequently attending the Global Summit on Community Philanthropy in South Africa planted a seed in ZGF, stimulating the team to learn more about how it could foster a local philanthropy approach within ZGF and Zambian civil society in general. ZGF therefore decided to embark on its own local philanthropy journey by carrying out a study to ascertain the trends of giving in Zambia. Overall, the results of the study highlight the existence of some form of giving, but also the potential that exists for the growth of local philanthropy. Thus, this report provides insights into how people give, to what causes they give, and what motivates them to give. The report also proposes key messages to be considered by relevant stakeholders in taking forward the discussion around local philanthropy in Zambia.