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Striking the Rights Chord: Perspectives on Advancement from Human Rights Organisations in South Africa

Resource type: Research Report

Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement |

When a major funder exits a field, its absence can sometimes prove extremely challenging to the civil society organisations it has supported. As a limited life foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies are supporting projects to contribute to a growing body of knowledge that positions nonprofit organisations to attract resources in the South African context. Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement carried out a four-year project with five Atlantic-funded human rights organisations to increase their potential to gain future international and domestic support.

This report showcases some creative ways that human rights organisations are embarking on new approaches to increase their relevance and gain local funding. The sobering realities of diminishing resources and a difficult political and social context are also discussed. In addition to the participating organisations, there are perspectives from activists, nonprofit leaders and donors.

The report comes at a time when many South African human rights organisations are severely challenged in terms of funding and sustainability, yet their work continues to be vital to the healing of the country.

The report is divided into three parts:

1) Tuning In: Reflections on Context – The social and political environment in which human rights organisations operate and how that environment affects their sense of purpose, funding and prospects of sustainability.

2) Performing in Key: Advancement Thinking and Experience – Practical strategies that may enable more effective use of resources, spur local funding and enhance the viability of nonprofit organisations.

3) A Change of Rhythm: Thoughts Towards the Future   Alternatives and possibilities that might prompt shifts in how human rights organisations and domestic donors think about their roles and purpose in a time of extreme flux.

Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement is an Atlantic grantee.

Learn More

> View photos from the launch event

> Visit Inyathelo website

> Download the report