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The Social Giving Project

This study is a critical examination of the phenomenon of 'giving' in South Africa. It will focus on both the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of aid flows , by addressing six central questions: who gives; why do they give; who is at the receiving end of giving; to what activities or causes do people give; how much do people give and how organised is the process of giving

This study on the state of social giving in South Africa is situated against the backdrop of two fundamental factors that dominate the socio-political terrain of South African society, i.e. the pervasiveness of poverty and ongoing vulnerability to poverty as well as high levels of gross inequality despite the country's abundance of material wealth. This study acknowledges that the causes of poverty and inequality are many and complex and cannot simply be addressed through donor aid and individual grants. We nevertheless proceed from the assumption that the provision of such resources does have enormous actual and potential impact on poor communities.

It is our understanding that there is a significantly large flow of resources generated within resourced sections of our society for the purposes of alleviating poverty and related socio-political issues. Similarly, we suspect that poor communities themselves tend to be able to garner financial support for stricken households in their midst. Whether such resource flows have a redistributive effect and/or a tendency to impact positively on either or both the problems of inequality and poverty is not evident. What is clear is that inequality and poverty constitute a special challenge in the South African context and that the capacity of social change agents to engage in this challenge is influenced by their understanding of existing patterns of resource flows to the poor.

In addition to the primary focus on social giving to alleviate poverty and inequality, the study will also assess resource flows to organisations/ institutions that promote, lobby for and/or are involved in an array of related socio-political issues of, e.g, good governance, democratic values and –practice, human rights, gender equality, environmental issues, social crime prevention programmes, victim support services, etc.

This research is conducted with a view to providing an important tool to development agents in determining how best to intervene in addressing specific poverty situations and related social phenomena/ problems. It will thus place in the public domain a set of information about aid flows that others would then be able to use constructively to engage in developmental / anti-poverty work more effectively.

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