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South Africa

The AIDS Foundation of South Africa is a funding agency seeking to identify and develop initiatives which reduce the impact of AIDS in under-resourced communities.

Guiding principles:

We believe that

Organisational strategies:

1. Fundraising & Distribution of Funds

2. Strategic Partnership Building

3. Organisational Development Services

Definition of need

Before 1992, Non-Government Organisations, church based structures, Trades Unions and Foreign Governments united in their efforts to remove South Africa from the inhumane and debilitating effects of Apartheid, Now, these efforts have been channeled into the reconstruction and development process. However, to ensure the development of South Africa as a healthy vibrant nation we require economic development supported by sound economic policies, foreign investment, a flexible, well trained workforce and the supporting mechanisms of capacity building embraced in the Reconstruction and Development Programme of the new democratic Government.

That is why these organisations now cannot afford to ignore the imminent threat of the AIDS epidemic which could easily undermine this reconstruction process.

In KwaZulu-Natal 28.80% of mothers reporting to the King Edward Hospital ante natal clinic are HIV positive (Department Of Virology - University Of Natal [Dec 1995]). In Zimbabwe, the President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries states that AIDS is threatening to reverse gains achieved since Zimbabwe's independence.

South Africa, removed from its isolation, is facing an AIDS epidemic where it is conservatively estimated by Epidemiologists from the Department of National Health and Population Development that some 2 million South Africans are currently infected. A reliable estimate from AIDS organisations is that 750 new people are infected every day with HIV.

What makes AIDS a unique disease is the fact that it infects people at the peak of their productive years, at a time when they would not normally require medical care: the incubation period is long and the condition is fatal. Many of the people infected with HIV will be skilled and educated persons in the workplace and this will impact on productivity and training. The shocking facts about AIDS is that through the disease, the legacy of Apartheid lives on. AIDS knows no social boundaries, but there are socio-economic and political conditions which contribute to its spread and people's survival. It thrives in environments of poverty, rapid urbanisation, violence and destabilisation. In South Africa the particularly vulnerable are those) lacking information, resources and control over their lives - namely the poor, those living in rural areas and women.

The apparent lack of impact of AIDS education on the population has led the AIDS Foundation to support an evaluation of approaches currently in use. This is with the view to helping organisations redesign their approach. However, in the immediate future this means more social spending on care.

This will have enormous impact on the already overstretched social service provision - reversing the Government’s new health policy which emphasises a sustainable preventative health provision. This pattern of drop in productivity and increased public sector spending on health and welfare means growth and development in South Africa will cease to be viable. Therefore we are on the verge of entering a 5 to 8 year cycle of underdevelopment where South Africa will be unable to have the economic capacity to support programmes on AIDS education and prevention and to support those already infected with AIDS.

The Government is fully aware of this threat. In 1994, Dr N Zuma, Minister af Health, endorsed the NACOSA proposal (the National AlDS Strategy for South Africa) acknowledging that the programme will cost a minimum of R257 million over 2 years of which approximately 20% will be provided by the Government.

Therefore, it is imperative that while we seek to make up the financial shortfall we initiate and support organisations providing local, low cost programmes which will maximise impact on the vulnerable sectors.

AIDS Foundation Strategy

There are over 150 dedicated AIDS organisations in South Africa. This upsurge in initiatives has been fueled by community need. It is therefore imperative that the AIDS Foundation of South Africa's strategy in relation to the highlighted scenario is to focus its support on building the capacity of these organisations to deliver their service more efficiently and to support cooperation and coalitions between the organisations.

The AIDS Foundation of South Africa has three main strategic thrusts:

Fundraising and Distribution of Funds

The Foundation solicits both local and international funds. These funds are then distributed to national and provincial initiatives.

With particular regard to local fundraising, the Foundation believes it is imperative that businesses recognise the economic impact that the disease will have. it is therefore essential that business reviews its own internal AIDS policy, and ensures that AIDS education is taking place within their organisation, Secondly, the Foundation would urge businesses to identify and support community projects. Old Mutual actuaries have forecast that an employer who is contributing 20% of payroll towards benefits could see this rise to 35% within the next 20 years. This will be accompanied by costs of extra recruitment, training, sick pay and absenteeism. This national loss of net profit will be a major burden when businesses are faced with challenges in increasingly competitive markets.

The Foundation distributes funds to projects that offer essential intervention in terms of education, support and care. Particular emphasis is placed on funding projects involved with:

Education and prevention programmes

AIDS Management Programmes

Socio-economic development

Strategic partnership building

The Foundation is continually involved in building partnerships with key role-players in South Africa, as well as establishing local and overseas funding partnerships and funded initiatives. This ongoing process ensures that the Foundation is made aware of AIDS activities throughout the country and can respond with appropriate project interventions.

Building organisational and individual capacity

Many AIDS organisations are new and therefore have weak internal structures. Until these can be built up the AIDS foundation offers a service to both organisations and funders to ensure maximum efficient delivery. Funds are sent to the AIDS Foundation and the Foundation administers the funds and requests information suitable for donor reporting and accountability. This programme is seen as an interim step until the project is strengthened by our capacity building programme.

The AIDS Foundation has embarked on a project campaign which will encourage each organisation for which it raises funds to become involved in its own organisational capacity building and development. This is critical if organisations are to be sustainable and valuable experience not lost in the sector. This involves the AIDS Foundation identifying trainers, Organisation Development workers and managers who are able to target their work to meet the need of AIDS specific projects. One of the needs identified is Fundraising, Financial, Administrative and Management training.

AIDS Foundation organisational development

The AlDS Foundation of South Africa was set up in 1988 by a group of volunteers who responded to the urgent appeals made by the community and government to address the spread of AIDS. It quickly recognised the need to raise funds from the private sector, donor agencies, Trusts and Foundations for Education, AIDS Management and socio-economic development for people living with HIV and AIDS.

Rather than replicate existing initiatives the AIDS Foundation positioned itself to fulfill the function of fund-raiser for organisations who lack the capacity to raise large sums and as a funder for those small organisations which require sensitive funding if the voluntary nature and community energy of the initiative is to be nurtured and not destroyed.


At present the AIDS Foundation employs staff (see attached Organigram) in the National and Western Cape regional offices based in Cape Town and regional offices in Durban and Johannesburg. The AIDS Foundation is also supported by many volunteers throughout the country who enable it to draw on a wide range of professional and technical skills.

Membership of the Foundation is drawn from all sectors of society and we have an active Board of Directors. The regional Directors are drawn from a variety of organisations such as township newspapers, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, city council health departments and clinics, unions, business and community and training organisations etc.

Financial management

All financial transactions are undertaken within normal financial practice and the finances are audited annually.


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