Working for Social Justice

Programme Principles

The Raith Foundation does not fund development projects but its grantees need to follow an approach consistent with the following principles.

  • The project must be people centred (about people, not a commodity or a sector)
  • It should empower citizens
  • It should be responsive and participatory
  • It should be holistic (address the entire system and understand linkages and the need for coordination)
  • It should be sustainable
  • It should be strengths based
  • There should be an awareness of micro-macro links (in projects as learning sites)
  • Where possible, they should be conducted in partnership (between civil society organisations or different Government departments or between civil society and Government)
  • They should be long term and flexible

At the heart of The Foundation’s programme models is the belief that an evidence base is needed and that this evidence base must be well documented and widely disseminated if this change is to be systemic.

The Foundation is committed to long-term partnerships. Where The Foundation is not able to be a long-term partner it emphasizes the need for exit plans or sustainability plans beyond The Foundation's support.

Programme Approach

At present, the Foundation is a responsive and flexible donor that provides funding for projects that aim to address the systemic and structural causes of inequality.

The Foundation takes an organic approach to its grant making, which acknowledges complexity and the dynamism of South Africa’s current situation. RAITH believes that the best approach to programme development is to respond to what emerges from the sector.

RAITH relies on the guidance of its Board, which considers and approves every grant in the context of the Foundation’s Theory of Change. In practice then, the Foundation’s programme is designed around its grant making rather than the reverse.

In the short term, the overarching intention is to contribute to the building of a vibrant, engaged democracy through an active citizenry and a responsive, effective state and a responsible, accountable private sector. In addition, the Foundation commissions research and seminars and holds regular convenings to deepen our understanding of the current causes of injustice and to propose realistic alternatives.

Programme strategy going forward

The RAITH Foundation is concerned that South Africa is characterised by systemic unfairness and injustice and that this is caused by historical structures and processes that deny people access to their rights.

For the Foundation, success would be a situation in which the provisions of the South African Constitution are protected, promoted and fulfilled.

Amongst the provisions of the Constitution that are of greatest interest to the Foundation are those that seek to “improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person” (as stated in the Preamble) and the founding provisions which list the following values:

  • Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms;
  • Non-racialism and non-sexism;
  • Supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law;
  • Universal adult suffrage, a national common voters’ roll, regular elections and a multi-party system of democratic government, to ensure accountability responsiveness and openness.

Theory of Change

RAITH’s overarching strategy is to support civil society in its efforts to make effective contributions to the achievement of social justice. This is a strategic choice based on the Foundation’s view that this is where its resources can achieve the greatest impact, since this is where it can leverage the greatest influence. This does not mean that RAITH support is limited to civil society organisations: where similar results in terms of the overall goal can be achieved by supporting other kinds of actors, this will be considered.

The Foundation believes that if it supports practices to improve social justice, systemic failures will be identified and alternatives will be identified, people will be educated, they will organise and mobilise to realise their rights and by getting to know and understand their rights better, they will hold those in power to account. This will lead to rights being defended and their realisation being accelerated. Collaborative research will also inform good practices in social justice.

At the same time, the Foundation also seeks to improve and sustain social justice philanthropy by improving its own strategy and advocating for social justice philanthropy.

Overall, the Foundation contributes to a just and fair society by defending, promoting and advancing the values and rights contained in the South African Constitution.