AIDS in South Africa
By 2000, HIV/AIDS was affecting the Fund’s work to improve basic education in South Africa. Children were becoming increasingly vulnerable as families struggled and teachers fell ill and left classrooms. Consequently, in 2003, the RBF shifted its South African grantmaking strategy from basic education to respond to the pandemic and its impact. First, it phased out grants to support adult basic education to concentrate on models of early learning integrating a concern for HIV/AIDS. In 2005, it narrowed its focus further to equipping schools to become nodes of support for orphans and vulnerable children. It also began training teachers to better meet the needs of children in their schools, and funding a cluster of social science research projects aimed at informing policy development related to vulnerable children. Key grantees included the Media in Education Trust Africa, to develop schools as hubs of service; Ikamva Labantu to develop community-based models of care and support for children impacted by HIV/AIDS and poverty; the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town, which was an important policy grantee; and The Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS).