The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is a growing African institution committed to deepening democracy, protecting human rights and enhancing good governance in the region. OSISA’s vision is to promote and sustain the ideals, values, institutions and practices of open society, with the aim of establishing vibrant and tolerant southern African democracies in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate actively in all spheres of life.
In pursuance of this vision, OSISA’s mission is to initiate and support programmes working towards open society ideals, and to advocate for these ideals in southern Africa. This approach involves looking beyond immediate symptoms, in order to address the deeper problems – focusing on changing underlying policy, legislation and practice, rather than on short-term welfarist interventions. Given the enormity of the needs and challenges in the region it operates in – and acknowledging that it cannot possibly meet all of these needs – OSISA, where appropriate, supports advocacy work by its partners in the respective countries, or joins partners in advocacy on shared objectives and goals.
In other situations, OSISA directly initiates and leads in advocacy interventions, along the key thematic programmes that guide its work. OSISA also intervenes through the facilitation of new and innovative initiatives and partnerships, through capacity-building initiatives as well as through grantmaking.
Established in 1997, OSISA works in 10 southern Africa countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. OSISA works differently in each of these 10 countries, according to local conditions. OSISA is part of a network of autonomous Open Society Foundations, established by George Soros, located in Eastern and Central Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the US.