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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far reaching impacts on African economies, food insecurity and general well-being of African communities. Apart from the obvious health implications and disruption of livelihood, the pandemic has also disrupted food supply and left many people in real danger of acute starvation. As many countries adopt WHO recommended procedures to limit the movement of people and goods to reduce the spread of the infection, small scale farming communities are bearing the burden of the major disruptions to the food supply systems, as well as unprecedented lost income, harvests and livestock. Fragile land tenure arrangements, especially for women farmers have contributed to increased vulnerabilities. As world food trade is coming to a halt, the pandemic has exposed how dependent African food systems are on global food imports, now buckling under border closures. Investments in safeguarding local farmers’ rights, food systems and increased production are very low, leading to high food prices and widespread food insecurity and hunger in the region.
The Civil Society Hub (CSOHUB-Africa), a foremost online community of nonprofit practitioners – individual and organizations, aware of the bigger challenges, proposed a Tweet Chat for its members on concrete ways that they can cope with the Covid19 challenge. The Chat addressed the following issues: managing existing grants, HR issues, finance and contracts issues and managing the working from home nuances.
To read the full discussions, please click here.