Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide

Southern Africa

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Browse a slideshow about the Ford Foundation’s work in Southern Africa since 1954.

Great progress has been made in Southern Africa: In the last two decades, almost all of the countries have achieved economic growth and have committed to democracy. Still, many challenges persist.

The Regional Context

The countries where we work face significant challenges. South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe remain characterized by widespread poverty and deep-seated inequality, which intermittently give rise to conflict and violence. Majorities in these countries have limited access to basic rights, resources, education and the institutions of government.

The region also has the highest percentage of the world's new HIV/AIDS infections and AIDS-related deaths. While many of these problems stem from the legacies of apartheid and colonialism, others have more recent origins, holding back development and undermining the growth of democracy.

Our Goal

The goal of our work is to reduce socioeconomic inequalities and HIV/AIDS vulnerabilities. We can achieve this by working with civil society and the public sector on a variety of fronts to integrate good governance, educational opportunities and asset mobilization.

What We're Doing

We support organizations that are addressing long-term, systemic social challenges within four areas: Human Rights and Governance; Livelihoods and Assets; Higher Education for Social Justice; and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights/HIV. Working in local villages, with national governments and on the international stage, our partners are developing innovative ways to stem the rising tide of inequality and poverty.

We support efforts to:

  • Strengthen transparency and accountability in governance
  • Build sustainable livelihoods and economic opportunities for the rural and urban poor; advancing social and economic rights
  • Address HIV-related stigma and discrimination
  • Tackle factors that undermine sexual and reproductive health
  • Promote postsecondary education for those typically excluded

We do this to foster more equitable development and secure a more promising future for Southern Africa.

Our grant making in the region is pursued through the following initiatives.

Issue Initiative
Democratic and Accountable Government
Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Justice
Human Rights
Economic Fairness
Educational Opportunity and Scholarship

From the Library

  • China brochureFord Foundation Southern Africa We believe in the inherent dignity of all people. For 60 years, that belief has shaped our support for visionary leaders and social justice organizations in Southern Africa. From the struggle to end apartheid and colonialism to the dawn of a new era of democracy, the work of these visionaries not only has transformed our region but also has inspired the world. We are proud to reaffirm our long-term commitment to Southern Africa‚Äôs continuing struggle for fairness and equality. 1.2 MB

Regional Office



  • Nicolette Naylor
  • Eka Esu Williams


Ford Foundation
2nd Floor, One-on-Ninth
Cnr. Glenhove and Ninth Street
Melrose Estate 2196
Johannesburg, South Africa

(+27) 11-770-3300
(+27) 11-770-3307

The Ford Foundation
(Incorporated in the USA)
Registration No.: 1993/000866/10

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