The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is an 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.
OSISA's approach involves looking beyond immediate symptoms, in order to address the deeper problems - focusing on changing underlying policy, legislation and practice. Given the enormity of the needs and challenges in southern Africa, OSISA supports advocacy work by its partners in their respective countries, joins partners to advocate around shared objectives and goals, and directly initiates advocacy campaigns. OSISA also intervenes through the facilitation of new and innovative initiatives and partnerships, through capacity-building initiatives and through strategic grantmaking.
Established in 1997, OSISA works in 10 southern Africa countries: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Within its broad programmatic themes, OSISA has pursued a wide range of projects, including supporting the development of state constitutions; promoting transparency and accountability in natural resource management; monitoring judicial independence and governments' commitment to the rule of law; promoting women's rights; supporting investigative journalism; and initiating strategies for poverty reduction and public debt management.