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.
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 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.
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.
On Thursday, April 30, 2020, the Pan-African Foundation, TrustAfrica, presented a cheque of 6,000,000 Fcfa (Six million Francs CFA) to the Senegalese government to support its efforts toward combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Amadou HOTT, Senegal's Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation, who received TrustAfrica’s contribution from Dr. Ebrima Sall, Executive Director of TrustAfrica applauded the gesture.
The minister while receiving the cheque said: "On behalf of the government of Senegal and His Excellency President Macky Sall, we thank TrustAfrica, its staff and all its partners for this outpouring of generosity."
He explained that the president’s call to action has been heard, and contributions have been coming in from international organizations and conglomerates as well as from ordinary citizenss.
May Day Greetings to you all. We trust you are all safe and well.
International Labour Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, or simply May Day, is a day when the world is invited to remember the hard working and living conditions of workers, not only during the industrial revolution but also, for most workers, in today’s world as well, despite the fact that they form the bedrock of the economy and of society.
By MAHMOOD MAMDANI
Prof Mahmood Mamdani pens a farewell tribute reminding us that Prof Thandika Mkandawire was "both a complete intellectual and a complete human being".
The news of Thandika’s passing on 27 March came as a big shock, even though I knew he was unwell in the last few years. His casual but forceful personality and unbounded energy made me believe that the laws of nature might not easily apply to him. He always seemed to bounce back from adversity with renewed vigour and focus.
He survived two cancers in 2004 and 2009 when he was at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), but continued to work diligently, giving inspiring lectures around the world, writing brilliant academic papers, and generating insightful and provocative ideas. Always sharp, witty and booming with insights, I felt he would survive the third attack, which, sadly, turned out to be fatal.
One of Africa’s foremost development economists and icon of African unity, Professor Thandika Mkandawire passed away in Stockholm, Sweden, on 27 March 2020 after a long battle with cancer. He was laid to rest on Wednesday, 15 April 2020, in Stockholm.
Thandika was an intellectual giant who understood the importance of building a truly pan-African intellectual community and devoted all his life to building that community. Professor Thandika Mkandawire, a former Executive Secretary of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and former Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development was a prodigious scholar and highly respected voice in the global intellectual community.
As the COVID-19 global pandemic rapidly spreads across the African continent, we worry, because in many African countries health systems remain weak, and incapable of meeting the demands this crisis will place on them. The COVID-19 pandemic will put immense pressure on under-resourced and under-equipped regions and communities, even as the effects of the worsening health crisis are felt by everyone.
At TrustAfrica we have remained at the frontlines, promoting responsible citizenship in our communities, nations, and in the world. We are grounded in the belief that we are responsible for one another, and for what happens in our communities and our world. While we recognize the special responsibilities of those entrusted with the stewardship of national and global affairs, we are convinced that civic engagement is necessary to complement the efforts that governments and other key actors are making to make life better and the world safer.