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South African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN)






Project synthesis<>


The Southern African Regional Poverty Network’s (SARPN) goal is to contribute to the sustainable reduction of poverty through effective pro-poor policy, strategy and practice in the SADC region. Its purpose is to deepen and widen debates on policy, strategy, practice and decision-making processes that affect poverty across Southern Africa.


SARPN is a network that aims to reach individuals, institutions and organisations involved in policy-making processes in the SADC countries. It is a platform for information and debate on poverty and a force contributing to the deepening of regional understanding. SARPN aims to expand discussions regarding approaches to poverty reduction and ways of understanding and measuring poverty by becoming actively engaged with those most affected by poverty and learning about their life experiences. SARPN offers its services as a regional public good, making it accessible to as wide an audience as possible and providing open access to its knowledge bank.


Beneficiaries and Outcomes


SARPN’s primary stakeholders are the people of the region who are most negatively affected by poverty. These communities generally have very limited influence in policy making processes. SARPN’s strategy is therefore aimed at targeting the individuals, groups and organisations that have the responsibility and potential to have a significant impact on poverty reduction; those that can make a contribution by providing a place for the ‘voice of the poor’ in policy making processes; and those doing evidence based research and documenting experience from poverty reduction programmes.




SARPN understands poverty to be the result of people being left out of processes of economic growth and development, as well as due to structural inequalities of wealth and power at regional, national and international levels. Effective poverty reduction strategies must therefore be multidimensional, informed by both political and civil bodies at all levels and must target gender, geographical and other factors affecting poor people. Strategies must be locally owned, widely shared, and developed into concrete and realistic programmes.


Programme Areas and Outputs


SARPN is focusing on the following areas:


·         Land, food security, HIV/AIDS and gender;

·         Social safety nets in the context of relief, rehabilitation and development;

·         Economic integration and regional and international trade;

·        Macro approaches (MDGs, PRSPs and SADC's "Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan" (RISDP)); poverty-related monitoring and evaluation; the challenges caused by and capacities to deal with the implementation of policies; governance and participation;

·        The mainstreaming of gender, HIV/AIDS and environment in all debates on poverty reduction.


SARPN aims to achieve its goals through the following related programmes and outputs: the creation of debates that focus on areas that bring together key stakeholders; the strengthening of links and networks within and between strategically important stakeholders; the facilitation of e-debates in order to widen access to the information and mobilise interest; the provision of access to and dissemination of relevant information; the development of strong strategic relationships with key role-players in all stakeholder groups.




SARPN was established in February 2001 at the South African Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). SARPN is now an independent, regional organisation governed by an independent Board of Governors broadly representative of the regional, racial and gender profiles.


Project duration and Funding


SDC supported the planning of new phase for SARPN and the two-year transition period from April 2004 to March 2006. SDC’s support represented 20 % of the overall budget of R13million per year. DFID, the co-initiator of SARPN, supported SARPN with an equivalent amount.


Contact address



Private Bag X41

134 Pretorius Street


Tel. +27 (12) 302 2334

Fax. + 27 (12) 302 2284



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