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Gateway Zimbabwe, a collaborative culture-shifting initiative of Kufunda Learning Village, ORAP and TrustAfrica, hosted a session "How can inner work unleash new energy and resources when working in challenging contexts?" during the Mindshift Growth that Matters Participatory Conference on May 12th from 9:50am-11am (CAT). The Conference looked at the Inner Development Goals (IDGs)  as a way of tracking the qualities and shifts needed for sustainable ambition towards a healthier society. 

The Covid-19 pandemic exposed, at a global level, the abnormalcy of prevailing social, economic and political systems – particularly their failure to protect the most vulnerable. At TrustAfrica, we are clear that there is no going back to the old normal. Accordingly, our current focus is on building forward better.  We need new models across our economic, social and political systems that will protect the most marginalized and work for everyone. Earlier this month we concluded our strategic retreat, where we reaffirmed the theme of our strategic plan for the period 2020-2024 as Shaping the Future we Want for Africa! 

 Fifteen years ago now, TrustAfrica was birthed as a vehicle to mobilize the big resources required to support African Agency in setting priorities and championing responses to the most pressing issues facing the content. This remains the most important purpose behind our existence.  Our raison d’etre! 

As we reflect on the way ahead, two priorities particularly come to the fore for us as the key questions of our time and therefore the overarching themes defining all our work – ACCOUNTABILITY and EQUITY! Together these two add up to and speak to our commitment to JUSTICE in everything that matters for the continent’s development and humanity’s progress. The global dynamics at play makes t it critical to ensure that we are Shaping the Future We Want for Africa and that Africa is not left behind in the big project to build forward better

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Dakar, Senegal – TrustAfrica with the support from Open Society Foundations (OSF) is implementing a pan-African project to strengthen the voices of citizens and advocate for accountability of the security sector during and post COVID 19 lockdown measures. 

The Security Sector Accountability (SPaCVOSSA) project is being implemented with four civil society partners in countries distributed across different regions of the continent. 

The project conducts country-level and pan-African level interventions that include research into the impact of securitised lockdown measures on vulnerable communities, hosts citizen forums, and conducts advocacy initiatives raising the awareness of government agencies and African institutions. 

 

Written by Florence Kayemba (SDN), Ese Emerhi (TrustAfrica), and Charles Kojo Vandyck (WACSI)

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In March 2021, the World Communities Forum brought together organizations working with local communities to reflect on the past year and how Covid-19 has impacted the work that they do. TrustAfrica hosted a breakout session on “Community as a Response: Communities Organizing for their Development” on Day 1 of the virtual conference to tease out what are the enablers in supporting local communities in self-organizing for their development. The breakout session was facilitated by development practitioners and community leaders Ese Emerhi (TrustAfrica - Nigeria), Florence Kayemba (Stakeholders Democracy Network - Nigeria), and Charles Kojo Vandyck (West Africa Civil Society Institute – Ghana).

This follow-up article elevates key recommendations offered during the breakout session, by first giving some  context on the  challenges faced by local communities (often in conflict) and centering the article on factors that have enabled communities to respond to development challenges, including what priority interventions donors should invest in to support community actors to build resilience when responding to power dynamics within the broken aid system in the Global South.[...]

This year's International Women’s Day (IWD) theme recognizes the impact of the COVID-19 global health pandemic in 2020. For the 2021 campaign, the UN Women announced the theme "Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World". A social media campaign was launched to inspire women to #ChooseToChallenge and call out gender prejudice and disparity. The theme profiles women's incredible work in creating an equal future for everyone, recovery from the pandemic, and the existing gaps. At TrustAfrica we were excited to host a series of meetings throughout the month with partners under our initiative to redress gender-based violence and challenge the norms and stereotypes which strip women of agency and also spent time planning how we prioritize gender responsive programming through the collaborative Community Immunity Initiative.

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Theme: A Just and Green Recovery for Africa: A Call to Action

Africa’s debt burden is heavy, very heavy, and servicing this debt is taking precious resources away from the continent that could otherwise have been used for development, the provision of social services, or the purchasing of anti-COVID-19 vaccines. With the health and economic crises that followed the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the flow of financial coming to the continent has shrunken, at a time when the need for resources is perhaps even greater than before the crises. We therefore need all the resources that are available on the continent to overcome the crises and build better futures. Calls for the cancellation of the external debt, or, at the minimum for a prolonged moratorium on the servicing of the debt (at least until 2022) are becoming louder and more pressing, and are coming from many people and institutions, including a growing number of African governments.  

On 15th March 2021, ActionAid, TrustAfrica, Africans Rising, Oxfam, the West African Civils Society Institute (WACSI), the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), East African Civil Society Organizations Forum, CIVICUS, African Forum on debt and Development (AFRODAD), and ANCEFA came together in round table discussion on the African debt, as a side-event of the 53rd Session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. The Senegalese Minister for the Economy and Cooperation, Mr Amadou Hott, delivered the opening address, following the welcoming remarks of Ms Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, ActionAid board chair and IMF special advisor. Participants discussed reports of studies carried out in several African countries as well as presentations on possible responses to the debt burden.

On 23 and 24 March 2021 the Inaugural World Communities Forum was convened by SHOFCO where the Global Alliance for Communities was launched as a coalition of 160+ proximate leaders from around the world. Over 1500 people tuned in across the globe to conversations from community-based leaders focused on solutions and insights from their work on the front lines of inequality and social change. Themes explore the prioritization of women in community development, economic recovery from the grassroots up in the post COVID-19 era, grassroots community organizing and mobilizing, and envisioning a more equitable future with regards to race, health and wealth. TrustAfrica was honored to host a Collaborative Workshop on day 1 of the WCF exploring how Communities Are Organizing for Their Development. The output of the WCF will be passed to the Global Alliance for Communities, in which TrustAfrica is a founding member, hat will build on the conversations from the Forum by advancing high-level policy asks that shift funding and resources to the grassroots.

Project Manager: African Philanthropy

After four years with TrustAfrica she is embarking on a new adventure with TrustAfica friends at the Global Fund for Community Foundations. Ese Emerhi, was most recently the project manager for the African Philanthropy program at TrustAfrica.  From 2017 to 2020 she served as the project director for the Kiisi Trust Fund, a donor-advised-fund managed by TrustAfrica on behalf of the Kiisi Trust's Trustees for the benefit of the Ogoni people in Rivers State, Nigeria, where she explored how TrustAfrica could best accompany and support community foundations in setting up.  

 In her last few months at TrustAfrica, Ese has been contributing to the strategic planning for the TrustAfrica Nigeria/West Africa country office, leading TrustAfrica’s role in the Community Immunity Initiative, as well as strategically thinking through ramping up the African Philanthropy unit at TrustAfrica. Ese recently wrote an article titled,  "What's the Matter with Small Grants", where she explores her insights around this question: “If small grants are an attempt to addressing the uneven power balances in traditional aid, then its approach must also work to address or at the very least recognize limitations inherent in grantmaking and seek adjustments to improve." Read her full article here looking at a participatory approach to grantmaking, leveling the field between donor and grantee-partner, and ensuring that community representatives have a say in how the funds would be used. Ese also recently appeared in conversation with African GrantMakers Affinity Group (AGAG) discussing her article and more on 31 March 2021.

On 10 and 11 March 2021, TrustAfrica in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation convened 110+ media and civil society practitioners from xxx  to discuss and debate the issue of illicit financial flows (IFF) from Africa in the Covid-19 era.

The virtual convening focused on the theme: ''Strengthening the collaboration between the media and civil society in the fight against illicit financial flows (IFFs) from Africa in the Covid-19 era." The convening was part of the 2021 edition of the Media-Civil Society Meeting on Illicit Financial Flows in Africa.

The meeting aimed to 'create a space for African journalists covering IFFs to engage with civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders'.

The goal was to develop strategies on how media reporting on IFFs can best translate into an effective resource for advocacy efforts and constant pressure for policy change, particularly in the Covid-19 era.

As mentioned in our opening article, TrustAfrica, as part of the implementation of its project: “Embracing the Challenge: Changing Social Norms for Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls in Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso”, and to celebrate the International Women's Day, organized a series of meetings throughout the month of March with our partners IES- Femmes (Association pour l’Intégration Economique et Sociale dans le Développement) in Burkina Faso;  ADE SAHEL (Alternative pour le Développement et l’Environnement au Sahel) in Mali, and; ALPHADEV (Alphabétiser pour un Développement Durable) in Senegal.

From Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal, 89 men and women participated in  debates exploring the feminist social movement and contributed to advance actions for a systemic change for engendering women's rights and possible solutions to enhance women's empowerment. The main outcome of this series of convenings was to consolidate the different platforms for engagement, exchange and coordination of strategies for the women's rights movement.

During the series of events, champions were selected and will be invited during the month of April to take part in a data-driven advocacy training program with the aim to train gender advocates in the basics of data research, analysis, and evaluation, and to enable them to have a clearer understanding of how to use data in their advocacy work.

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