In June 2020, African NGOs and Epic-Africa issued a report on “The impact of COVID-19 on African Civil Society Organisations – Challenges, Responses and Opportunities.” This report was based on feedback received from 1015 CSOs in 44 African Countries. It was issued 3 months after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

It is the first of its kind to focus exclusively on the impact of COVID-19 on African CSOs. It is based on a survey conducted by @AfricanNGOs and @EPIC-Africa between 29 April and 15 May 2020.

The objectives of the survey were four-fold:

  • Assess the negative impact of the pandemic on the funding and operations of CSOs
  • Understand how CSOs are coping and responding to these challenges
  • Highlight CSOs’ involvement in national responses to the pandemic
  • Identify opportunities emerging from the crisis and the lessons learned

According to the report, 98% of Civil Society Organisations reported that COVID-19 impacted and disrupted their operations in one or more ways. The report continues to show a large percentage of CSOs highlighting the negative impact of the pandemic on organisations in terms of readiness, operations, sustainability and funding.

Although organisations had stop some of their programmes and activities it is worth reminding that the role of Non-profit organisations is to build healthy communities by providing critical services that contribute to economic stability and mobility. It is because of this that according to the report, 84,77% introduced new program activities in response to COVID-19.

We have since then seen a greater appreciation for the work of CSOs, while according to the survey, government failed to recognize and utilize local CSOs’ skills, experience and network in  response to COVID-19. This is because out of the 84,77% who introduced new program activities, 71.94% were  self-funded.

A large number of CSOs looked to government for support. On the 29th of March 2021, 2 days into South Africa’s national lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, SANGONeT issued a petition demanding the National Lotteries Commission to distribute funds to support NPO’s. This particular petition received 8756 signatures within 7 days. This highlights the need for funding in CSOs.

African NGOs and Epic Africa have now opened the survey for 2021 in order to track the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They would like to call all African CSOs in the survey closing on the 30th of June 2021.

Click here to access the survey.

If you have any questions or inquiries about the survey and report, please contact:

David Barnard



Rose Maruru



Follow @NGOConnectSA on twitter for more CSO news.

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