MAGI's Role and Purpose

The Multi-Agency Grants Initiative (MAGI) is a developmental grant-making mechanism currently comprising the RAITH Foundation, C.S. Mott Foundation, Ford Foundation, Hivos, Atlantic Philanthropies, and Open Society Foundation SA. MAGI’s primary role is to contribute towards strengthening the active voice and agency of local communities in shaping their own development, alongside other critical role players in government and civil society.

  • MAGI provides direct support to community based organisations (CBOs), as well as less formalised community structures, including national campaigns that impact rural and marginalised urban based women, men, girls and boys
  • MAGI will support CBO participation in broader national campaigns and processes particularly where alliances are built with NGO partners
  • It plays a convening and learning facilitation role around critical issues that arise from time to time between participating donors
  • Facilitates partnerships and rapid responsiveness around key strategic issues impacting on the lives and livelihoods of local communities
  • Through capacity development interventions MAGI contributes towards strengthening the capacity of local CBOs to enhance their strategic agency, voice and operations at a local level
  • Strengthening the link between CBOs and NGOs

MAGI is managed by the HIVOS South Africa office. An Advisory Committee comprising some of the participating donors and at times identified individuals with particular relevant expertise, plays a strategic oversight role.

Our Vision

MAGI’s vision is of a South Africa in which Community Based Organisations are able to meet the needs of their members and contribute to building a society characterised by equality, fairness, dignity and justice, in which the state and the private sector meet their social obligations and inequality is incrementally addressed

Our Mission

MAGI’S mission is to bring donors together on a collaborative basis to provide financial and capacity building support to community organisations in marginalised and disadvantaged communities so that they are better able to collaborate with NGOs, provide services and represent their members in seeking active realisation of their human rights and thereby to contribute to positive social change. MAGI’s particular mission is to specialise in the cost-effective delivery of relatively small grants to the community-based sector of civil society..

Values guiding the functioning of MAGI
  • Collaboration is key to strengthened impact and adds value to the development process
  • Recognition of the power differential between donors and the grantees
  • Maximising efficiencies among participating donors and strengthening the effectiveness of respective partnerships with CBOs
  • Following a rights-based approach to development
  • Taking an asset based approach to community development
  • Using creative ways to elevate the voices of communities
  • A collective commitment to address all forms of inequality
  • Flexibility and continuous adjustment is key to the effective functioning of MAGI
Criteria For Consideration
  • Grantees must be community based.
  • Groups and organisations must be constituted and have a written constitution.
  • The groups must demonstrate that some activities have taken place successfully.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a community contribution either volunteer time, funds or material. A value must be attributed to this.
  • There must be a clear outline of the participation of women in leadership and decision making, as well as the specific outcomes for women in terms of empowerment and benefits (where applicable).
  • There must be a clear demonstration that the project is operating in an area of identified needs.
  • Benefits to the community must be clearly defined.
Thematic focus

The overall thematic focus area is on deepening democracy in South Africa. Sub-themes:

  • Access to justice including socio-economic and cultural rights
  • Access to services and local economic development (creation of an enabling environment for sustainable livelihoods)
  • Social cohesion – initiatives that address drivers of inequality, gender based violence and other forms of violence
Grant-making guidelines
  • Grants of R50,000 – R250,000 per annum
  • Repeat grants can be made but not automatic
  • Out of cycle grants can be made where necessary
  • Ring fencing of funds subject to Advisory Committee agreement
  • Active engagement on exiting the relationship with grantees
  • MAGI seeks to align and link support of CBOs to thematic and geographic areas where donors are supporting related work by NGOs
Geographical Focus

MAGI makes grants nationally but prioritises support depending on the need and context.

MAGI Theory of Change

The voice and agency of marginalised communities is strengthened and democracy is deepened.


Feb 2017:

Call to Action: As the forum of representing the interests of the landless people and small-scale farmers in the district, Mawubuye Land Rights Forum makes a call to all the landless people to join the peaceful demonstration in solidarity of the Theewaterskloof small-scale farmers and force the municipality to exercise its developmental mandate by allocating existing municipal commonage to the landless small-scale in the municipal area. The demonstration is on 13 March 2017 at Caledon Magistrate’s Court. Download the flyer here.

A Ladismith worker and his family moved back into their home on the Voorbaat farm after the Constitutional Court overturned a 2015 eviction order obtained by the owner. Karel Swart, deputy general secretary of the Commercial Stevedoring Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) said the Concourt had sent a clear message that “farmworkers are human” and that they are “not just an extension of farm machinery and property” to be “dumped at will”. Read more here.


Jan 2017:

An 80-year-old grandmother from Riviersonderend has been left destitute after the Theewaterskloof ​Municipality ​impounded and auctioned her ​22 goats because she was unable to pay a hefty penalty​ of R30 000​. Mayibuye Land Rights Movement ​is assist​ing​ her and other rural workers and small-scale farmers within the Overberg, Breede Valley and Theewaterskloof municipalities. Read more here.