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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is the Partnership?
    1. Why was the Partnership formed?
    2. Is the $100 million commitment new money?
    3. Does the Partership pool its financial resources?
    4. How long will the Partnership operate?
    5. How can Africans become partners?
  2. In Which Countries and Institutions Does the Partnership Work?
    1. Are all African countries included in the Partnership's mandate?
    2. How does the Partnership select universities?
    3. Could the Partnership cover French-speaking Africa or North Africa?
    4. If the partnership does not work in my country/university, may I submit a funding proposal for a specific activity to other departments in the four foundations?
    5. Would the Partnership consider funding projects that involve multiple countries?
    6. What kinds of activities do the Partner foundations support jointly?
    7. What types of organizations and institutions are eligible to apply for support?
    8. Will the Partnership make grants to non-African organizations?
    9. What kinds of activities do the Partner foundations support on an individual basis?
    10. Is funding targeted to specific sectors, such as social sciences, agriculture, or decentralization?
  3. How Do I Contact the Partnership?
    1. Whom do I contact if I have further questions?
    2. If I have an idea for a Partnership activity, how should I proceed?
  4. Working with Other Donor Agencies
    1. Will the Partnership expand to include other foundations?
    2. How can my funding agency collaborate with the Partnership?

I. What is the Partnership?

What is the Partnership? The Partnership began as an initiative of four U.S. foundations that share an interest in and concern for African universities--Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. The Partnership now comprises seven foundations with the subsequent addition of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation. It aims to:

The foundations involved in the Partnership committed a minimum of $100 million in support of African universities over the first five years, commencing in the year 2000, and pledged an additional $200 million for the second five years, through 2010. The foundations now expect the total actual commitment to exceed $350 million by January 2010. These funds derive from the grantmaking programs of the participating foundations.

Why was the Partnership formed? The foundations involved in the Partnership wish to reaffirm the importance of a vibrant intellectual environment in Africa, nourishing social, political, and economic transformation. The Partnership was launched in response to practical innovations now being implemented by many African universities. These institutions are breaking with outmoded traditions and embarking on major institutional and academic change, including new financial formulas, course structures, and governance practices. African governments also increasingly recognize the value of these reforms in national development and policy alleviation. Other factors promoting change in universities are processes of democratization, decentralization, and economic reform, which grant greater autonomy to public institutions and hold them accountable. Among global factors helping to transform the scope of university practice and management, the revolution in information and communications technology is one of the most powerful. For all of these reasons, the foundations involved in the Partnership decided that this initiative could make a difference.

Is the commitment referred to above new money? The foundations involved in the Partnership are increasing their prior support of higher education in Africa by reallocating funding from other areas of foundation expenditure and by committing new funding. The goal is to double support for higher education in Africa over the first five years from $50 million to $100 million, and to more than $300 million over the life of the Partnership.

Does the Partnership pool its financial resources to support activities? No. There is no common pool of funds. Partner foundations collaborate on and co-fund some activities (see below for more information), but the funds come from each foundation separately.

How long will the Partnership operate? The Partnership foundations renewed their initial five-year, $100 million pledge from 2000-2005 with a pledge of another $200 million for another five years. In October 2008, the seven foundations announced their unanimous decision to continue both their collaborative and individual grantmaking in the area of African higher education beyond this ten-year commitment. The Partnership's coordinating office will continue to operate as planned until January 31, 2010. Subsequently, collaborative funding will be coordinated by an executive committee of participating foundations' program staff.

In what ways can African universities, intellectuals, and educationalists become "partners" Although the Partnership is an initiative of foundations, we welcome collaboration with African institutions and individuals. Most of the analytic work commissioned by the Partnership has been and will be carried out by African scholars in the field. We are also looking for ways to bring together African university administrators and academics along thematic lines.

II. In which countries and institutions does the Partnership work?

Are all African countries included in the Partnership's mandate? No. The Partnership elected to concentrate on countries undergoing systemic public policy reform. Currently nine countries are the focus of Partnership activities: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.

How does the Partnership select universities? The Partnership foundations make independent decisions regarding grantee universities or groups of universities within the countries listed above. In all cases, institutions selected for support are initiating positive change, have a workable strategic plan, and have demonstrated commitment to national capacity building.

Could the Partnership expand to cover French-speaking Africa? Possible but unlikely. Two or more Partner foundations must be active in a country before the Partnership will consider including it on the list. In addition, the countries and constituent universities must meet the criteria listed above. Moreover, as the Partnership's formal ten-year commitment draws to a close, there is little time to add new countries of any kind.

If the partnership does not work in my country/university, may I submit a funding proposal for a specific activity to other departments in the four foundations? Yes, each foundation may support activities in higher education under its specific thematic programs. Check the individual foundations' websites for information on funding priorities and grantmaking procedures (see links below).

Would the Partnership consider funding projects that involve multiple countries, such as sub-regional or regional networks, alliances, or collaborations? Yes, with decisions based on merit, value-added, and sustainability.

What kinds of activities do the Partner foundations support jointly? The Partnership supports conceptual work that generates information about African higher education and university issues. This conceptual work may focus on higher education systems and/or institutions in the focus countries (listed above) or on issues perceived as particularly relevant to African higher education in general, such as information and communication technologies and other forces of globalization, reforms and innovations, finance, and management and governance. In addition, the Partnership supports networking and other activities designed to diffuse innovations, best practices, and lessons learned.

What types of organizations and institutions are eligible to apply for support to conduct this work? Any organization or institution that can legally accept foundation grants and has demonstrated competence in the study of African higher education may be eligible for this kind of support.

Will the Partnership make grants for this work to non-African organizations? Yes, some studies and other information-generating activities jointly supported by the Partner foundations have been carried out by non-African organizations. To qualify for such support, organizations should demonstrate high levels of African and international expertise together with close linkages to African higher education institutions and organizations.

Under the Partnership, what kinds of activities do the Partner foundations support on an individual basis? Support to universities for institutional strengthening and other programs is determined individually by each Partner foundation, in consultation with funding recipients, based on the foundation's geographic and thematic mandates. This applies also to non-African organizations wishing to work in collaboration with specific African universities.

Foundations should be approached individually about this type of support; each foundation's grantmaking priorities and guidelines should be reviewed before making contact. You can obtain this information on the Web or in print by writing the foundations directly. Postal and Web addresses are listed below.

Carnegie Corporation of New York
437 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10022, USA
http://www.carnegie.org

The Ford Foundation
320 East 43rd Street
New York, New York 10017, USA
http://www.fordfound.org

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
140 South Dearborn Street, Suite 1100
Chicago, Illinois 60603, USA
http://www.macfound.org

Rockefeller Foundation
420 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10018, USA
http://www.rockfound.org

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
2121 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
http://www.hewlett.org

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
140 East 62nd Street
New York, NY 10065
http://www.mellon.org

The Kresge Foundation
3215 West Big Beaver Road
Troy, MI 48084
http://www.kresge.org

In addition, the PHEA grants database contains more information on the amount of funding and types of activities supported by the Partnership and individual foundation grants made for African university-related activities.

Is funding targeted to specific sectors, such as social sciences, agriculture, or decentralization? There are no general restrictions, but each foundation may have particular interests or concerns.

III. How do I contact the Partnership?

The Partnership office closed as of January 31, 2010. Please contact the individual foundations directly for further information.

IV. Working with Other Donor Agencies

Will the Partnership expand to include other foundations or international funding organizations and, if so, when and on what basis? The Partnership has already expanded from its original four members to include three additional foundations with similar interests in increasing the knowledge base about higher education on the continent and in assisting African institutions in a variety of countries with their transformation and growth. There are currently no plans for further expansion.

How can my funding agency (bilateral, development bank, multilateral) collaborate with the Partnership? The Partnership is interested in coordinating its activities with other funding agencies to achieve maximum impact. There are no formal mechanisms for doing this as yet, but the planned Partnership website and other communication mechanisms will facilitate information sharing. Inquiries to any of the Partner foundations are welcome.

© 2017 Partnership for Higher Education in Africa. Last updated: 12 October 2010