Whether they are responding to a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, generating public support for peace talks in Uganda, advocating for a law on access to information in Ghana, or addressing local communities' needs for improved housing or health care in Burundi, NGOs in countries across the sub-Saharan African region both respond to and reflect the challenges of their societies. In a region characterized by some of the world's most severe economic, social and political problems, NGOs provide vital services, reach out to marginalized groups, act as watchdogs to keep governments accountable, and raise public awareness of policy issues and social concerns. NGOs' levels of capacity and operating environments vary significantly between countries and even within countries, however. The nineteen country reports included in this Index highlight key factors affecting the sustainability of NGOs, providing context and a basis for subsequent reports to track advances and setbacks in sectoral development. In addition to the separate country reports, the Index includes two articles examining trends affecting NGO sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa: the legal environment for NGOs, specifically restrictive NGO laws and mandatory self-regulation initiatives, and factors affecting the financial viability of NGOs.