SLF field representatives on a field visit (Photo by Margaret Wright)

How We Work

For the Stephen Lewis Foundation, it’s not only the substance that matters, it’s the method. It’s not only what we do – it’s how we collaborate.

Our philosophy is firmly rooted in the notion that if anyone is going to turn the tide of AIDS in Africa at the community level, they will be found in the communities themselves. We’ve worked to create a model that is responsive and flexible, and reflects the needs and priorities on the ground. To do this requires flexibility, openness and constant learning.

For example, we are frequently asked how much it would take to send a child to school. It’s not that easy, say the experts at community level. Resources for school fees are wonderful, but don’t go far enough.

Students need uniforms and shoes, paper and pencils. Children need kerosene or candles at home for evening homework. They need to eat, at least once a day, or they won’t be able to concentrate on their studies. Families need additional support so that orphaned girls can be relieved of essential chores and enabled to attend school. The leaky roof on the house has to be repaired so that children can sleep through the night. And if there is one thing around education that we’ve learned from the projects, it is that children orphaned by AIDS, no matter what their age, need grief counselling to overcome the trauma of their loss. All in all, it is a delicate and urgent web of deprivations and responses.

Through regular field visits and frequent contact with programme staff in Africa, we are able to ensure that the resources we invest are being put to the best use possible. This includes resources for operating costs, salaries and stipends for home-based care workers, all of which are critical to ensuring that the day-to-day work can continue.

Learn more about our Areas of Work and Where We Work.


LGBTIQ organizations in Africa reporting human rights abuses linked to COVID-19 May 19, 2020

Stephen Lewis Foundation / Canada, Press release

World will survive COVID-19 only if 'swift action' taken to help Africa, UN humanitarian says March 25, 2020

Matt Galloway and Idella Sturino, Toronto, Canada, CBC Radio: The Current

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