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Increased funding for AIDS-engaged (faith-based) civil society organizations in Africa?

Olivier, Jill and Wodon, Quentin (2012): Increased funding for AIDS-engaged (faith-based) civil society organizations in Africa?

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Abstract

This paper considers the evidence on the comparative extent to which faith-based civil society organizations (FB-CSOs) have benefited from increased funding related to the HIV/AIDS response in Africa. First, we review the literature on whether FB-CSOs have benefited from such funding, and find the arguments vigorous, but the evidence inconclusive. Next, we rely on a survey carried out in six Southern African countries to compare the profile and sources of funding of FB-CSOs against the broader collection of CSOs (non-religious or ‘secular’). It is important to be aware of the at times artificial distinctions made between faith-based and ‘secular’ structures, given the often integrated presence of religion in the lives of civil society actors and their institutions – especially in Africa. However, it is still useful to consider this particular distinction – impacting as it does on current policy discussions and strategies for civil society engagement. While the data of this particular study is mostly representative of a cluster of well-established ‘CSOs’, the evidence suggests that these FB-CSOs have been able to benefit as much as other CSOs from enhanced funding opportunities. We conclude, with a discussion of the challenges that remain for supporting smaller and less formal FB-CSOs and initiatives operating at a local community level.

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