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African CSO Index

The African CSO Index measures CSOs across eight measures of organizational effectiveness: Strategic Ability and Adaptability, Leadership and Governance, Financial Health and Management, Human Resources, Operations, Communications, Partnerships and Alliances and Monitoring and Evaluation.  We harness the power of data and technology to drive change as we build a platform to map out the sector, foster collaboration and help grow the African philanthropic ecosystem. The index makes it possible to track the evolution of organizational effectiveness of individual groups, sub-sectors and the entire CSO sector.

Efforts to organize data around African CSOs are not new. But to date, these attempts have been fragmented, their scope limited, and the data has been inconsistent, often dated, and of varying quality. The EPIC-Africa Civil Society Index is the first bold attempt to map and rank CSOs across the entire continent, across multiple sectors and indicators. It is also the first attempt to look beyond legal and financial due diligence questions that most funders are concerned with to indicators of organizational effectiveness.

+ How does the index benefit funders?

It makes it easier and cheaper for funders to find grantees

It shortens the time it takes to make a grant

It makes the selection of grantees more objective

It increases grant-making effectiveness by betting on high performing groups (as opposed to “spraying and praying”)

+ How does the index benefit CSOs?

It makes CSOs more visible

It levels the playing field for CSOs, giving equal opportunity to less well-known groups that may be doing stellar work but are not visible

It stimulates healthy competition and inborn desire to do better

It leads to greater credibility and local legitimacy

It leads to increased/diversified funding, including domestic funding from individuals

It creates greater transparency and strengthen the sector as a whole, enabling it to fend off constant threats from governments wanting to restrict civic space

+ Who does the index serve?

African philanthropic foundations

Global philanthropic organizations

African CSOs

Individual donors

Multilateral and bilateral aid agencies


Corporate/private sector foundations



The general public