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Advocacy and capacity building are the focus in a new Pro Helvetia programme for supporting the professional and contemporary arts in Southern Africa.

From the Press Release: “Pro Helvetia Cape Town, the liaison office of the Swiss Arts Council in Southern Africa, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) have announced a new agreement for their support of the professional and contemporary arts in the Southern African region. The new agreement replaces Pro Helvetia’s previous mandate from the SDC to administer its Arts and Culture Programme for Southern Africa – a programme that operated from 1999 until 2010, and helped to enrich individual arts projects in a number of countries in the region. Under the 2011 agreement, Pro Helvetia will continue to support the regional arts sector as a funder and facilitator. However, its focus will shift to medium-term projects that involve collaboration between arts organisations in South Africa and Zimbabwe. These projects may take one of two forms. One would be projects that relate to advocacy; these would promote the nurturing of networks that have a strong function in voicing the perspectives of the arts sector. The other would be projects that facilitate capacity building through exchange in practical professional mentoring. In terms of artistic disciplines, these projects could apply to the fields of music, the performing arts, and visual arts. Geographically, the projects should involve cross-border collaboration between South Africa and Zimbabwe, with the possibility of including interested parties in Mozambique. Joint proposals would need to be submitted by at least two partners at the same time – one in South Africa and one in Zimbabwe. Ultimately, the outcome of these collaborative projects would be to spread benefits to a number of local partners in the two countries, rather than to benefit a single partner or project. In summary: – Medium-term projects / programmes (2 to 3 years in length) – Supporting advocacy OR capacity building through professional mentoring – For professional and contemporary arts – Open to fields of music, the performing arts, and visual arts – South African and Zimbabwean partners must submit a joint proposal – Mozambican partners can be co-opted Interested arts organisations may contact or 021 465 9033. SMALL GRANTS A small amount of funding will remain available for supporting the distribution of individual arts projects to other areas in the Southern African region, preferably with a connection to the larger programmes.”

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