We build partnerships with purpose.

Mission

We build mutually beneficial partnerships between the United States and South Africa to promote universal access to quality healthcare and education.

Vision

We believe universal access to quality healthcare and education are prerequisites for securing a just democracy, and that the shared experiences in South Africa and in the United States offer common ground from which to forge lasting and productive programs that bring us closer to this ideal.

Our Focus

Throughout our work we strive to

  • Facilitate meaningful partnerships that build the capacity of South African organizations
  • Nurture strategic collaborations and the sharing of best practices between the United States and South Africa
  • Strengthen people-to-people relationships between those living in South Africa and the United States to promote justice and democracy

History

South Africa Partners works to build capacity and strengthen the health and education infrastructure within South Africa.

Our roots are in the United States, but our network is global. South Africa Partners is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and has offices in Boston and three cities in South Africa — East London, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.

Our vision since our launch in 1997 is of a transformed South Africa. Having emerged from the U.S. anti-apartheid movement, South Africa Partners was established to channel that passion and commitment to social justice by bringing together the skills, talent and resources needed to help build the new South Africa.

South Africa Partners facilitates relationships between individuals and institutions in the U.S. and South Africa. These partnerships have developed programs that make life better in the hard corners of South Africa and are helping build the next generation of leaders in sciences, education, health care and beyond.

“There is no reason that South Africa has to reinvent the wheel.” U.S. anti-apartheid activists Janet Axelrod, Margaret Burnham, Mary Tiseo and Marti Wilson-Taylor founded South Africa Partners. “What are the best practices that we can offer from the United States that would be useful to South Africa so they don’t have to start from scratch?” asks Mary Tiseo, today the Executive Director of South Africa Partners.

Thank you for walking the walk with us. Please continue to do so. Together, we will realize our dream of a free and democratic South Africa that really benefits all of its citizens.”

—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African social rights activist

  • Translating beautifully written policy documents into programs that function in rural areas, in under-resourced communities, townships, areas where there has been conflict — that challenge is enormous and requires a great deal of skill on the part of managers, who are responsible for that implementation. And that’s the group that we work with.
  • Those people who are on the front lines figuring out how you implement an HIV program that will result in fewer people getting infected. Those people who are infected getting onto medication quicker so that they are able to have a better survival rate. A woman in a township who has started a preschool program and needs to figure out how, even in her resource-constrained environment, to offer a quality education.
  • These are the people that we work with. These frontline managers who are working in their communities to take the aspirations of the new South Africa and make them real.”

    —Mary Tiseo, Executive Director of South Africa Partners

South Africa Partners Timeline

  •   1980s and 1990s

    Tens of thousands of Americans became politically active in supporting the international movement to end apartheid in South Africa.
  •   1997

    South Africa Partners incorporated in Boston, Massachusetts.
  •   1997

    Massachusetts - Eastern Cape Sister State - Province Agreement signed by Massachusetts Governor William Weld.
  •   1998

    South Africa Partners Boston office opens.
  •   1998

    Massachusetts Department of Public Health signs letter of cooperation with the Eastern Cape Department of Health.
  •   1999

    First “Sisters Crossing Bridges” Conference in partnership with YWCA Boston and representatives of the South African Women’s Health Project.
  •   2000

    Massachusetts/South Africa Health Task Force established, chaired by the Assistant Commissioner of Public Health.
  •   2000

    Health Task Force delegation travels to the International AIDS Conference in South Africa.
  •   2001

    Memorandum of Understanding between Codman Square Health Center and the Masimanyane Women’s Support Center.
  •   2001

    South Africa Partners joins with the Robben Island Museum to host an event with Nelson Mandela in the Twin Cities that raises $1 million dollars for the construction of the Nelson Mandela  Gateway to Robben Island.
  •   2002

    South Africa Partners honors Archbishop Desmond Tutu and establishes the Desmond Tutu Social Justice Award.
  •   2004

    South Africa Partners organizes the 1st Eastern Cape People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV) Summit, which is attended by 250 activists.
  •   2004

    Libraries for South Africa Schools Program is launched.
  •   2005

    South Africa Partners opens its office in the Province of the Eastern Cape.
  •   2005

    South Africa Partners joins with Northeastern School of Law and Harvard Law School to host a symposium commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the South Africa Freedom Charter.
  •   2005

    South Africa Partners hosts 2nd Eastern Cape People Living with HIV and AIDS Summit.
  •   2005

    Masihlanganeni Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS is formed to partner with South Africa Partners to develop an Eastern Cape PLHIV advocacy network.
  •   2006

    "Masifunde Sonke: Let Us Read Together" program launched, donating over 5,000 books to under-resourced schools.
  •   2006

    South Africa Partners hosts first annual Educator Tour to South Africa. Since then, more than 80 educators have traveled on the annual tour.
  •   2007

    South Africa Partners hosts "Lessons Learned from Sub-Saharan Africa" conference in Boston.
  •   2007

    South Africa Partners joins The Khusela Project and helps communities develop strategies to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
  •   2008

    Establishment of AED?Satellife Mobile Library Project, which deploys mobile phones with an extensive health library to clinical nurses.
  •   2008

    South Africa Partners, in partnership with Simmons College, hosts the "South African Children’s Literature Seminar," with guest authors Elinor Sisulu and Sindiwe Magona.
  •   2008

    3rd Eastern Cape People Living with HIV and AIDS Summit.
  •   2009 – 2010

    South Africa Partners launches World Cup Boston 2010, a collaboration with the city of Boston that included 23 public events across the city attended by more than 10,000 people.
  •   2009

    South Africa Partners joins with Wheelock College to organize "Childhood Trauma: International Research and Successful Interventions Seminar."
  •   2009

    Establishment of the Integrated Access to Care and Treatment (I ACT) to provide care and support to South Africans who are HIV positive.
  •   2011

    Founding of Masibumbane Development Organization, South Africa Partners’ in-country partner to implement and manage partnership programs, in East London, South Africa.
  •   2011

    South Africa Partners, in partnership with Wheelock College, hosts the seminar "Bullying, Hate Crimes, and Xenophobia: Strategies for Preparing Young People to Meet These Challenges."
  •   2012

    Establishment of STEPS, a prison-based HIV prevention program in the Eastern Cape.
  •   2012

    South Africa Partners sponsors the exhibition “Helen Suzman: A Fighter for Human Rights” at the Moakley Courthouse. Opening night remarks by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall.
  •   2012

    Founding of Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Programme in Health (ASELPH), a partnership between the University of Pretoria, the University of Ft. Hare, Harvard School of Public Health and South Africa Partners, in collaboration with the South African National Department of Health. Goal: To strengthen the South African National Department of Health’s ability to meet its health transformation challenges.
  •   2012

    South Africa Partners joins with Bentley University to found the Massachusetts ? South Africa Technology Fellowship Program (MSAT).
  •   2013

    On July 18, International Mandela Day, the world observed Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday. South Africa Partners collaborated with the Boston Pan African Forum, Old South Church and Cathedral of St. Paul for a celebration of freedom, justice and equality.
  •   2013

    The Community Early Childhood Development (ECD) Network is launched to improve access to and quality of preschool education in East London’s informal settlements.
  •   2013

    South Africa Partners joins with Discovering Justice to host “A Conversation with Justice Albie Sachs” at Moakley U.S. District Courthouse.
  •   2014

    South Africa Partners celebrates its 15th year of operations and South Africa’s 20th anniversary of democracy at its gala, Itheko. Honorees were South African Justice Albie Sachs, South African-born educator Temba Maqubela and the non-profit organization Artists for a New South Africa.
  •   2014

    Wheelock College faculty visit East London to deliver workshops and model practice for local preschool teachers.
  •   2014

    Aurum Institute partners with South Africa Partners to support the implementation of comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention strategies in South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services.
  •   2015

    South Africa Partners is awarded a $17.5 million grant over five years from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund technical assistance and support for the development and implementation of key aspects of HIV/AIDS care and support services in South Africa.
  •   2015

    The first cohort of 48 Fellows of the Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Programme in Health (ASELPH) receive a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Systems Management: Executive Leadership from the University of Pretoria.
  •   2015

    Innovation Edge funds South Africa Partners' pilot program, Sifunda Ngokuthetha ("We Learn by Talking Together"), that encourages language-building parent-child interactions in everyday settings.
  •   2015

    South Africa Partners and Wheelock College partner with the University of Fort Hare to help develop UFH’s new trans-disciplinary Early Childhood Development Centre of Excellence.
  •   2015

    South Africa Partners implements Wraparound ECD - a simple, but innovative approach to early childhood development that supports the emotional and intellectual development of children from birth to age 5.




We build partnerships with purpose.