Adaptation Network Fundraising: African and South African funding

By Alexa Brown

Previous fund-raising articles in this newsletter have focused on creating personalised funding strategies and the multilateral funding landscape. This month’s article presents a the opportunity to refine your funding strategy within the context of African and South African funding opportunities. As the scope of funding and the pool of recipients narrow down, we must apply a very clear understanding of, and alignment with the funding priorities of the donors, and establish a transparent relationship between recipient and funder for mutual long-term success.

Africa is a special place
Africa as a continent is both receiving funding for development aid and is simultaneously providing funding for development aid through continental development agencies, most importantly the African Union and the African Development Bank. Fund donors usually include the likes of the Swedish International Development Agency, the Nordic Development Fund and the European Union. These funds are channelled to the African development agencies for the purpose of building the continent’s capacity to become resilient in the face of climate change whilst at the same time coping with the current socio-economic and environmental ills.

Emerging from the era of decolonisation and becoming part of the ‘globalised’ world, Africa has found unity. There is universal agreement about national sovereignty and the need for peace. Climate change has been recognised as a universally shared responsibility. The African Agenda 2063 outlines a framework that the continent will strive towards in an attempt to adhere to global sustainable development in an African context. Agenda 2063 defines the African-centric priorities that must be addressed to rise to the challenges that the people of the continent face (e.g. inadequate education), as well as to take advantage of the opportunities (e.g. renewable energy businesses) while achieving sustainable development (e.g. through effective adaptation to climate change).

What does this have to do with funding a South African organisation?
African funders that might support your work will want to know that you fit into and agree with the African-centric framework, the Agenda 063. If you align with their priorities then you are also contributing to a development pathway that has been specifically designed to help Africa/ South Africa prosper. The more alignment you have with your funder, the more chance there is that:
1. You will receive funding;
2. Your program will achieve what YOU intend it to (not what your funder wants); and
3. The relationship with your funder will be transparent and pleasant.

If your principles and activities are well aligned to the overarching frameworks and priorities of the African Union, or to other funders, you will have peace of mind that your program is very meaningful and feeds into a more collective movement for development and progress.

Developing an African funding strategy
It is worthwhile to be strategic about looking to African and South African agencies for funding. As African ourselves, it makes sense to link our principles and strategies with the development pathways of the country and continent. For this reason, it is important to have a good understanding of the guiding strategy frameworks are at policy level.
We suggest that you keep to following in mind when developing your African funding strategy:
Know the guiding agendas:
Consult and learn from all guiding framework documents (listed at the end of this article)
Know your position:
1. List your organisation’s objectives and principles.
2. List and describe the areas of technical expertise that your organisation can use to fulfil its objectives.
Know where you fit in:
1. Find alignment between your principles and the guiding frameworks/ strategies that have guided the fund. The fund can be African, or South African.
2. When the time comes to develop a proposal in response to a funding call from an African or South African based fund, you will be readily equipped with information that shows exactly how your organisation aligns with national, continental and universal agendas.

What documents should I consult?

Global perspective:
• Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030)
African perspective:
• Agenda 2063
South African perspective:
National Development Plan
South African National Adaptation Strategy
• Independent Nationally Determined Contributions

Who are the funders?

African region
Fund Manager Fund name
African Union New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD)
ClimDev Special Climate Fund
African Risk Capacity
African Development Bank African Climate Change Fund
African Development Fund
Nigerian Trust Fund
Climate Investment Fund
African Capacity Building Foundation  
South African region
Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)  
Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) South African Green Fund
Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) South African Green Fund
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) Adaptation Fund: Community Adaptation Small Grant Facility
National Development Agency (NDA) Grant funding
Green Climate Fund: African Accredited Entities
Africa Finance Corporation
African Development Bank (RSA)
United Nations Environment Programme
Environmental Investment Fund (Namibia)
*Other national Accredited Entities exist in Africa but have not been listed here. Refer to the August Adaptation Network newsletter for an extensive list of GCF Accredited Entities.

How do I know when a funding call is open?
There are multiple ways to monitor the funding landscape (refer to July newsletter). I have found Twitter to be the most expert filtering tool as I can do daily scans without having to search many links and websites. Newsletters (like this one) frequently notify readers of open calls. Funding database websites are also useful for tracking when calls are made for proposals. If you have developed your own database of funders, make a column that includes information of when the calls open in the year.

Fund raising is time-consuming and tedious. If you prepare information about your organisation and it’s alignments in advance the task of drafting proposals within tight timeframes will be less stressful.
You are very important in Africa, tell your funders!
Africa and South Africa face very serious development issues that need to be addressed urgently, not only by government but also by organisations like yours. Adaptation practitioners are very much needed to alleviate climate risks and stresses. If members of the Adaptation Network can all define their organisational purpose within the ‘big picture’ and convey that effectively to potential funders, then collectively we will all be contributing to building South Africa’s resilience to climate change.