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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?
  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 is 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 aims to:

  • Generate and share information about African university and higher education issues;
  • Discuss strategies for supporting universities;
  • Support universities seeking to transform themselves;
  • Encourage networking among innovative African university leaders and higher education experts;
  • Distill and share lessons learned from grantmaking; and
  • Advocate for wider recognition of the importance of universities to African development.

The foundations involved in the Partnership are committed to providing a minimum of $100 million in support of African universities over five years, commencing in the year 2000. 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 four foundations involved in the Partnership decided that this initiative could make a difference.

Is the $100 million 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 next five years from $50 million to $100 million.

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 have committed themselves to five years of operation, with the possibility of continuation.

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. To date, six sub-Saharan African countries are the focus of Partnership activities: Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. This list of countries may change over time.

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 cover French-speaking Africa or North Africa? Possibly. 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.

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

In addition, once the Partnership Web site is mounted, there will be a grants database, which will give you 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?

Whom do I contact if I have further questions? The Partnership Facilitator is located at New York University. Her contact information is as follows:

Carnegie Corporation of New York
The Ford Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Kresge Foundation

In addition, each foundation assigns one or more staff members to represent it. These staff members plan, coordinate, and implement Partnership activities.

If I have an idea for a Partnership activity, how should I proceed? A letter of inquiry should be sent to any one of the participating foundations. The letter should explicitly state how the proposed activity relates to the Partnership's aims. Again, as stated above, inquiries about institutional strengthening activities or other programs to benefit individual African universities should be addressed to the Partner foundation(s) whose guidelines coincide most closely with the proposed activity. You may also write the Partnership Facilitator, who will circulate your letter to the Partnership foundations.

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? In the future, the Partnership may expand to include 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.

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.


© 2018 Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

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