Sattva Consulting
Understanding the Global South
August 25, 2021

Understanding the Global South

Key philanthropic trends, challenges and opportunities in Asia, Africa and Latin America


Global philanthropy has a crucial role to play in the 21st century. Global philanthropy can encourage and facilitate collaboration, provide opportunities to share best practices and develop strategic approaches to address the socio-economic challenges pervading countries across the world. There are over 260,358 foundations in 38 countries across the globe today. However, a North-South power imbalance exists within and beyond the philanthropic ecosystem, with funding in the Global South coming primarily from the Global North, i.e. Europe and North America.

Network organisations can play a critical role here by facilitating exchange of knowledge, resources and partnerships for philanthropies. Recognising the lack of diversity within its network and the increased scope of and need for collaborations, International Education Funders Group (IEFG) and Elevate Children Funders Group (ECFG) seek to encourage partnerships with grant makers in the Global South thereby enabling them to have a stronger voice and increase their impact, provide opportunities for collective learning and action and collectively drive change in the region.

International Education Funders Group (IEFG) is a learning and collaborative network of over 100 private foundations, charities, and donor-advised funds that focuses on education grant making in low and middle-income countries.

Elevate Children Funders Group is the leading global network of funders focused exclusively on the wellbeing and rights of children and youth. We focus on the most marginalized and vulnerable to abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence.

Sattva supported IEFG and ECFG to amplify the participation and voice of Global South funders in key decision-making discussions at a global scale by conducting an in-depth landscape analysis of key trends, needs, motivations and challenges faced by funders in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Key Insights

1. Funder Motivations: Key funder motivations to join network organisations varies from region to region. For instance:
– In Asia, funders are interested in identifying other funders they can partner with to co-fund programmes together.
– In Africa, funders wish to access more data about the ecosystem as well as identify partners to co-fund programmes together.
– In Latin America, funders are interested in learning more about international trends and about other funders’ programmes.

2. Nature of Giving
– Across the global south, philanthropy is not limited to exclusively grant-making but also entails creating direct impact on ground.
– Across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, funders typically prefer to set up their operating foundations and not be exclusively grant-making in nature.
– There is also a strong presence of intermediary organisations.

3. Thematic Focus Areas
Education is the top funded philanthropic cause across the global south. However, funders typically fund outcome-focused short-term interventions, scholarships, bursaries, academic infrastructure, and so on.

The findings and recommendations from this report – literature review and key informant interviews – can enable philanthropists to:
– Challenge their own current practices and beliefs about the Global South.
– Play a more active role in the momentum towards the shifting power dynamics between Global North and Global South.
– Influence and adopt improved approaches towards philanthropy in the Global South.

The full report can be accessed below.

To save a copy, you can click on the ‘Download’ link on the right side of this page.

Sattva has been working with various non-profits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this topic. Do write to us:


Thank you for your interest in Sattva.