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COVID-19 has triggered the second biggest crisis in a decade, and possibly the worst recession ever, whilst many countries have not yet recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. These are unprecedented times that will dramatically increase inequalities and have severe impacts on people in developing countries. The pandemic has hit hardest those who have no access to healthcare, who lack a social safety net to fall back on, who don’t rights to sick leave, are in precarious work conditions, have no access to land titles, and those with the greatest unpaid care responsibilities. Among those most impacted by this pandemic and its fallout are poor smallscale farmers, many of whom are women. Whilst being very vulnerable, small-scale farmers also show incredible resilience and supporting them is a key way to help meet the food needs of the people.
By Nkasi Wodu, PeaceBuilding Manager, PIND and Ese Emerhi, Project Director, Kiisi Trust Fund/TrustAfrica
If philanthropy can be defined as the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed by the generous donation of money to good causes, then for centuries, philanthropic activities have done a lot of good. History is replete with philanthropic organizations changing the course of people’s lives for good. Whether it is building schools, endowing a Chair in a University, providing loans to small businesses at low interest rates, establishing soup kitchens for the marginalized, or setting up shelters for the vulnerable, philanthropy has done a lot of good and will continue to do a lot of good.
For the 10 percent of the world’s population – 734 million people who live on less than $1.90 a day - philanthropy is the only bridge between them and hope for the realization of a better life and future for their kids. But what happens when the purpose of philanthropy isn’t just to do ‘good’? What happens when the source of funds used for philanthropy is tainted and toxic? Does this cancel out the good deed that is done with those funds? Why and how are illicit funds used for philanthropic purposes by criminal networks? It can be argued that even if there are good intentions, the money used to do that good also has to come from a good source. And in 2020, sources of good money are few and far between. For the most notorious amongst us, no matter how many times that toxic money is rinsed, it will still drip sludge on the innocent, still taint that “good thing”, and leave behind a legacy that is hard to swallow.
The COVID-19 has brought an opportunity to learn and revisit how to build strong resilient African food systems and to safeguard food security and sovereignty. For the millions of small scale, peasant and family farmers who are self-employed and rely heavily on moving perishable and non-perishable goods from rural to urban mass markets and consumers, earning a daily wage, this has had disastrous consequences.
Our latest Pan-African collaboration is the Community Immunity Initiative which is born of the core values of Ubuntu that we hold so dearly at TrustAfrica. The pandemic has reminded us that nobody is safe until everybody is safe. So in close collaboration with our partners, Southern African Trust and African Philanthropy Network, we are working on a global campaign to mobilise support for communities most at risk of being left behind. Please join us in ensuring that the most vulnerable are supported and no one has to be left behind today and in the future.
We are pleased to resume the regular publication of our Newsletter, an important medium through which TrustAfrica has been communicating with you about both global and the specifically African issues. There is no doubt that COVID-19 will profoundly change the world, as we know it, and mark a remarkable turnaround in the shape of global society. TrustAfrica was born from a vision to enable African actors to respond most effectively to the most pressing issues affecting the continent. And COVID-19 will surely be recorded as not only one of the most pressing issues of our time, but also as an occurrence which has most acutely highlighted the fault lines in our society.
La pandémie du COVID-19 a eu des répercussions considérables sur les économies africaines, l’insécurité alimentaire et le bien-être général des communautés africaines. Outre les effets évidents sur la santé et la perturbation des moyens de subsistance, la pandémie a également perturbé la chaine d’approvisionnement alimentaire et a laissé de nombreuses personnes en danger réel de famine aigue. Alors que de nombreux pays adoptent des procédures recommandées par l’OMS1 pour limiter le mouvement de personnes et de biens afin de réduire la propagation du coronavirus, les communautés agricoles supportent le fardeau des perturbations majeures des systèmes d’approvisionnement alimentaire ainsi que des pertes, sans précédent, de revenus, des récoltes et du bétail. Les accords fragiles de régimes fonciers, en particulier en ce qui concerne les agricultrices, ont contribué à accroître les vulnérabilités. Alors que le commerce alimentaire mondial s’arrête, la pandémie a révélé à quel point les systèmes alimentaires africains dépendent des importations alimentaires mondiales qui se replient présentement à la suite de la fermeture des frontières. Les investissements pour sauvegarder les droits des agriculteurs locaux, les systèmes alimentaires et l’augmentation de la production sont très faibles, ce qui entraîne la cherté des aliments, une insécurité alimentaire généralisée et la faim dans la région.