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South African development funding landscape is not all doom and gloom

South Africa is currently facing a complex political landscape, with ongoing concerns about corruption, economic inequality, and political instability.

These issues have not gone unnoticed by the global philanthropic community, which has begun to take a more cautious approach to opportunities in the country.

While the current political state may present challenges for traditional funding channels, it also brings about new opportunities for growth through local funding channels. As the global philanthropic community demonstrates caution about investing in South Africa, local organizations and individuals have increasingly stepped up and filled the funding gap.

One example of this is the increasing urgency with which private companies look to address social challenges through the leveraging of their BBBEE scorecard. BBBEE, or Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, is a government initiative in South Africa aimed at promoting economic equality and addressing the legacy of Apartheid. Businesses in South Africa are rated on a BBBEE scorecard, which measures their compliance with a set of criteria related to black ownership, management, and empowerment.

While BBBEE compliance is mandatory for businesses operating in South Africa, many companies view it as a burden or box-ticking exercise. However, there are increasing examples of businesses that use their BBBEE scorecard as a tool for addressing social challenges and promoting sustainable development in the communities in which they operate.


One such example is the development partnership between GrowZA and Xylem Inc.

Xylem Inc is a leading water technology company that has been working with GrowZA to implement its Watermark CSR program in Africa. The program focuses on providing access to clean water and sanitation in communities across the continent.

One of the key ways in which Growza has been able to successfully manage the program is through its deep understanding of the local context. The company has a team of experts on the ground who are able to work closely with communities to identify their specific needs and tailor solutions accordingly. This has been crucial in ensuring that the program is sustainable and has a lasting impact.

Another key aspect of the program's success has been its focus on collaboration. Growza has worked closely with a range of partners, including local governments, NGOs, and other companies, to ensure that the program is well-coordinated and has the greatest impact. This has allowed the program to leverage the strengths of different organizations and achieve more than any one of them could have alone.

The Watermark program has had a positive impact on the communities it serves, providing access to clean water and sanitation to thousands of people. This has improved health outcomes and increased productivity, which in turn leads to economic growth and development.

This program is a model for other multinationals looking to make a meaningful impact in Africa and other developing regions. It demonstrates the importance of understanding the local context, collaborating with partners, and taking a sustainable approach to development.

Growza and Xylem Inc's Watermark program partnership is a shining example of how public-private partnerships can be used to achieve sustainable development goals.


Private businesses are also moving towards interpreting their BBBEE scorecard as a framework for developing and implementing a responsive corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. The BBBEE criteria align with many of the principles of CSR, such as promoting diversity and inclusion, investing in skills development, and supporting local communities. By aligning their CSR efforts with their BBBEE scorecard, businesses ensure that they are making a meaningful and measurable impact on society and drive funding to community development initiatives.


Another dynamic local funding channel is impact investing. Impact investing is an investment strategy that aims to generate positive social or environmental impact alongside financial returns. In South Africa, impact investors are increasingly looking to fund projects that address pressing social and environmental issues such as poverty, unemployment, and climate change.


The potential of harnessing citizen’s tax contribution to ensure underserved communities get access to opportunities for growth is limitless. An individual taxpayer could use a tax contribution to genuinely help change lives in their community by supporting the opportunity we're building at GrowZA.

We are answering the call from social movement partners to get creative, work in deep partnership and move boldly around individual tax investments as a complementary strategy to social justice philanthropy in order to build a world where access, wealth, and power are shared equitably.

GrowZA apply's the following citizen investment principles in this pursuit


  1. Citizen investing resources a solidarity economy that works for all by investing in community access building.

  2. GrowZA works to redefine “impact investing” to mean investing in those most impacted by lack of access.

  3. GrowZA works to redefine “return” to mean “returning to right relationship” between people and opportunity.

  4. GrowZA works to redefine “risk” to visibilize those who has been placed at “RISK” through lack of social investment and access to opportunity.

  5. GrowZA leverages its shared network power to shift access points by using it's unique vantage point and positioning in society.

  6. GrowZA partners to embody access solidarity to build the new social economy where we all grow.

These platforms allow individuals and organizations to bypass traditional funding channels and connect directly with potential donors and investors.

In conclusion, while the current political state in South Africa may present challenges for traditional funding channels, it also creates new opportunities for growth through unexpected funding channels. It is important for organizations and individuals to be aware of these alternative funding channels and to explore how they can be leveraged to achieve their goals.

This is how we #GrowZA


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