Philanthropy is growing and gaining attention in Zambia as an important catalyst for social change as evidenced by its essential role in supporting local communities’ development. In general, there is optimism looking at the future of philanthropy in Zambia and a genuine desire to continue to develop best philanthropy practices by local organizations such as the Zambian Governance Foundation (ZGF).
Working for ZGF, an organisation that promotes philanthropy in Zambia has given me an opportunity to fully appreciate what it has taken and what it will take for local philanthropy to be fully embedded in communities and the development sector. When we embarked on our local philanthropy journey as an institution two years ago, the term local philanthropy was misunderstood. Research on local giving patterns in Zambia revealed what people considered as philanthropy, which ranged from supporting the extended family to helping ordinary people in the streets. However, two years down the line philanthropy has a much clearer definition in relation to our local philanthropy work. According to Lucy Muyoyeta, ZGF Founder Member, philanthropy is essentially about giving for a good cause. The type of giving can be in form of money, time, skills or talent. “When we talk of local philanthropy in ZGF, we are talking primarily about communities organizing themselves and utilizing community resources to address their needs. The community efforts are when necessary complimented by resources primarily raised from the wider Zambian community within the country and from those in diaspora and other well-wishers. It follows therefore that anyone can be a philanthropist irrespective of status or wealth,” she explains.