This guide has its origins in a research study carried out between 2003 and 2005, the purpose of which was to explore the local ethos of caring and sharing in poor African communities. Focus groups carried out by national research teams in Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe generated rich narrative text revealing what the term 'help' means to the poor, who helps and is helped in poor communities, the forms help takes and, finally, why people help each other. This knowledge informed the first systematic understanding of 'indigenous philanthropy' in southern Africa. To emphasise the local ethos of caring and sharing and make it more visible to development organisations, it was named. The term 'horizontal philanthropy' or 'philanthropy of community' (PoC) was coined and the research findings documented in a 2005 monograph entitled, The Poor Philanthropist: How and Why the Poor Help Each Other (Wilkinson-Maposa, Fowler, Oliver-Evans & Mulenga 2005). The findings published in 2005 sparked the interest of the development community.