West African Philanthropy Support Ecosystem

Focus Area:

The West African Philanthropy Support Ecosystem (WAPSE) Project was established to bring together philanthropy networks, support organizations, funders, and other relevant stakeholders to collectively develop a robust support ecosystem that will strengthen giving and philanthropy in the region.

In achieving this aim, the project seeks to

  • develop a better understanding of the local philanthropy support landscape and the relationships within.
  • identify what challenges and opportunities need to be engaged in strengthening the sector.
  • Include a broader range of philanthropy support organizations that may not reside in the professionalized philanthropy sphere.
  • Develop mechanisms for cooperation among philanthropists and philanthropy support organizations in the region.
  • Design a roadmap for self-owned and sustainable regional philanthropy development. 
  • Enhance the presence and participation of philanthropy in the broader regional and continental philanthropy networks, forums, and initiatives.
  • Promote an enabling environment for philanthropy.

The journey so far


Desk Research:

Desktop research on the region, with a focus on 6 west African countries – Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Burkina – provided the first step of the project. Through this research we now have:

  • a better understanding of what the philanthropic environment looks like In terms of actors (key national, regional, intergovernmental, civil society, private sector and research institutions involved in philanthropic support), the legal environment (policies, feasibility, taxation etc.), the resources, and the support.
  • An explicit narrative framing of the philanthropy ecosystem in West Africa – i.e. what do West Africans mean when they speak about philanthropy, what are the practices? 
  • A clear understanding of the operating mechanisms for philanthropic donations: inside and outside the country as well as on domestic law and regulations governing the fiscal constraints of giving and receiving donations.
  • Insights into opportunities and gaps within the sector.
  • A mapping of the existing categories of actors and the names and forms they take.
  • Better understanding of these Issues In relation to the 6 focus countries as well as links between the different actors in the 6 countries.



In May 2022 a kick-off meeting was held to introduce the pilot project, the research process and the mapping methodology as well as gather recommendations from a range of stakeholders in the region. This convening included philanthropy practitioners, foundations, civil society organizations, high net worth individuals, regional Institutions, the public and private sector, policymakers, academic researchers etc.


In July 2022, a second convening was held to discuss high-level takeaways from the draft research report and to identify key frameworks governing philanthropy in Senegal, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire. The[HM1]  convening provided the opportunity to (i) reflect on the first list of philanthropy support organizations operating in these four counties (ii) identify gaps in actors/practices, (iii) map relationships connecting actors to each other, and (iv) identify concrete pathways to strengthen the ecosystem.


A regional convening was hosted in Senegal in September 2022 to present the final desk report and the mapping of philanthropy support organizations; identify key recommendations to strengthen the field and actionable steps to address them and co-create a locally-owned roadmap and recommendations which local actors will move forward. The convening itself represented an achievement: 50 participants from 8 different countries were representing 30 Organizations from West Africa and beyond. Furthermore, in addition to being a space for exchange and sharing, strong recommendations emerged – the most notable of which was the decision to establish a West African Philanthropy Network (WAPN[HM2] ). 

Project Partners

The West African Philanthropy Support Ecosystem (WAPSE) Project is an initiative jointly led by TrustAfrica and WINGS. It is supported by a Steering committee composed of the African Philanthropy Forum (APF), the African Philanthropy Network (APN), the Africa Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA), the Center on African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI) and the Global Fund for Community Foundation (GFCF).

 [HM1]What happened to the other two countries – were they included in the final report?

 [HM2]Has anything happened in the project  since September 2022? Can we say something about the year since the last convening – even if it is about processes or activities  that are underway or  being out into place – otherwise it looks like a dormant project.

Project Impact