This paper will describe the informal collaborative approach taken by a group of donor funders and researchers in southern and eastern Africa aimed at consolidating the results and increasing the impact of a number of projects dealing with research communications and access to knowledge in higher education in southern and eastern Africa. The projects deploy a variety of perspectives and explore a range of contexts, using the collaborative potential of online resources and social networking tools for the sharing of information and results. The paper will provide a case study of donor intervention as well as analysing the methodologies, approaches and findings of the four projects concerned. The paper will explore the ways in which the projects and their funders have had to address the issues of the global dynamics of knowledge, of the changes in research practices being brought about by information and communication technologies; and of the promises that this could hold for improved access to knowledge in Africa. Finally, the conclusions of the paper address the complex dynamics of institutional change and national policy intervention and the ways in which a collaborative approach can address these.