2nd African Philanthropy Conference: Fusing The Philanthropic And COVID-19 Contexts
Edition: August, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has tainted our world. Life, as we knew it, has changed; work models have shifted; economies have shrunk; livelihoods have dwindled; and many Africans have lost their lives. There has also been a regression in gender equality. “Women and girls have borne the brunt of the socio economic fallout of the pandemic, women and girls have been placed at greater risk of COVID-19 transmission, loss of livelihood, exploitation, and gen- der-based violence,” explained Tsitsi Masiyiwa, Executive Chair and Co-founder, Higherlife Foundation.

However, the world of philanthropy has responded in remarkable ways; when there was no cash to give, numerous in-kind donations saw their way to alleviating a small part of the immeasurable devastation of the pandemic. Communities, individuals, corporates and numerous philanthropic organisations have all responded to the pandemic and addressed the negative effects of COVID-19.

In 2020, more than half of Africa’s philanthropic organisations increased their giving, directing over one-third of their budgets towards COVID-19 relief efforts. Frontline workers, especially those in the health services, along with many ordinary people, have given of themselves to care for loved ones, for communities at the height of the pan- demic. “But they’re not the only ones who showed this exceptional love through giving,” said Masiyiwa, going on to commend the philanthropists, foundations, private institutionsand many others. Agile philanthropy through collaboration and innovation has contributed to saving lives and protecting the most vulnerable communities.

“We must look beyond COVID-19 and see that the lessons that we’re learning now, the true power of agency, agility, innovation, and collaboration will prepare us for an even greater future,” stated Masiyiwa, who believes that the shifts occurring globally point towards Africa becoming the most important continent in the world.

Not only is Africa the future but the future is also female. With the inherent agency that we have within our communities and on our continent, one message is clear; solidarity, partnership, and collaboration will take us further.

Masego Madzwamuse, CEO, Southern Africa Trust