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.
Dear Partners and Friends,
We want to reach out to express our solidarity during these unprecedented times.
As a pan-African philanthropic organization founded with a commitment to strengthening African agency in addressing the continent’s most pressing challenges, TrustAfrica empathises with all our partners affected directly or indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we watch this crisis deepening every day, we are fully aware that our partners are constantly challenged to revise and innovate business continuity strategies—as we are doing within our own organization. We also acknowledge and understand that restrictions to physical interaction and travel and the ever-increasing lockdowns, inevitably mean necessary changes must be made to standing plans and to how we work.
On the eve of International Women’s Day, 2020, we women and girls facing Discrimination based on Work and Descent (DWD) and hailing from Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, call out for recognition, inclusion and adoption of DWD inclusive policies and implementation of all legal mechanisms for ensuring the equality, justice and dignity to all across the globe. We stand unitedly to reaffirm our faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women in the spirit of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 1979.
Women across all societies face discrimination and violence unleashed on them by patriarchal structures. This results in inequalities in social, economic and political development as well as in their enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedom. Beijing Declaration (1995) laying the benchmark for women’s equality, development and human rights committed collectively to ensure the full enjoyment by women and the girl child of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and take effective action against violations of these rights and freedoms.
TrustAfrica is an independent Pan-African Foundation headquartered in Dakar, Senegal and strongly believes that Africans must set the agenda for the Continent’s development and take the lead in implementing it. As a Foundation that is firmly grounded in civil society, transformative governance, and equitable development, TrustAfrica’s main mandate is to secure the conditions for democracy and justice across the African continent. TrustAfrica operates from a firm belief in democratic principles, a deep commitment to social justice, and a clear understanding of the need for economic vitality.
The Kiisi Trust Fund wishes to announce the appointment of Barrister Lemea Ngbor-Abina, a member of the Trust’ Advisory Council, into the Rivers State Judiciary as a Judge by the Executive Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike on the 7th of January 2020.
Barrister Lemea Ngbor-Abina is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria with over 16 years at the Bar. As a lawyer, she has held various portfolios on several projects and has also provided legal advisory services to many local and international clients including Shell, Total, Cadbury, Starwoods Groups, Bank PHB, UBA, Access Bank amongst others.
La violence basée sur le genre (VBG) est un obstacle persistant, parmi d’autres, à l’autonomisation des femmes francophones en Afrique de l’ouest. Toutefois, bien que la VBG soit une préoccupation omniprésente en matière de droits humains pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest, il n’existe que peu de recherche sur la manière de la combattre en ciblant sa cause fondamentale que sont les normes sociales néfastes.
Dans le cadre d’un projet de deux ans de l’organisation TrustAfrica, des études exploratoires sur la prévention et l’élimination des violences basées sur le genre ont été menées dans les trois pays prioritaires que sont le Sénégal, le Burkina Faso et le Mali. L’objectif de ce projet est de s’attaquer aux causes et manifestations systémiques de la violence basée sur le genre pour promouvoir l’autonomisation des femmes francophones en Afrique de l’ouest, notamment dans les pays cibles.
Par Olivia Tchamba, Human Rights Program Officer
«Mon père m’a donné en mariage à l’âge de 12 ans, ma mère ne voulait pas mais elle n’a pas droit à la parole. Ma première grossesse a failli me coûter la vie, j’avais à peine 13 ans (…) ». C’est en pleurs que B.N., une jeune dame à Saraya dans la région de Kédougou au Sénégal partage ce récit de vie.
Cette grande souffrance qu’elle exprime ainsi, trouve écho dans le témoignage d’une autre victime à Banfora au Burkina Faso, qui dit: «A la suite du décès de mon mari, sa famille a voulu que je sois la femme d’un de ses frères, mais comme j’ai refusé, elle a saisi tous les biens de mon mari me laissant ainsi seule avec les enfants sans aucune ressources». Deux inconnus certes, mais des réalités de vie assez similaires. Les violences faites aux femmes et aux filles sont un fléau. A l’échelle mondiale les statistiques sont assez parlantes. Selon le rapport des Nations Unies, Les femmes dans le monde 2015 : des chiffres et des idées, 35 % des femmes, soit une sur trois, subissent des violences au cours de leur vie. En Afrique, la violence physique à l'égard des femmes est particulièrement élevée. Près de la moitié des pays ayant contribué à ce rapport ont signalé une prévalence supérieure à 40%. Dans le cadre d’un projet visant à contribuer à la prévention et l’élimination des violences basées sur le genre dans 3 pays cibles, notamment, le Sénégal, le Mali et le Burkina Faso, la Fondation TrustAfrica a commandité des études exploratoires dans lesdits pays. Ces recherches ont permis de mettre en exergue les formes de violences faites aux femmes mais également leur ampleur ainsi que les causes qui les soustendent. Elles contribueront également à orienter les investissements, les activités de plaidoyer et d’autres interventions de TrustAfrica dans cet espace.
In September 2019, Heads of State and Government gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to follow up and comprehensively review progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This marked the first UN summit on the SDGs since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015.
The mantra “leave no one behind” has been embraced by the development community and embedded in global development efforts. The importance of tackling inequalities and fighting for the inclusion and participation of marginalized people is therefore obvious. However, it must be recognized that numerous voices are still not heard in the global development processes. A particularly loud one is that of people facing discrimination based on work and descent.
Discrimination based on work and descent (DWD) is estimated to affect over 260 million people worldwide, in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and North America. This form of discrimination which is prohibited under international human rights law is referred to by the UN as structural and hierarchical systemic discrimination. Descent based discrimination fundamentally undermines the dignity of the persons concerned; it fuels violations of the right to education and employment, undermines access to justice and all too often, catalyses sexual violence and other crimes targeted at women and girls. Although reports such as that of the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, presented during the Human Rights Council’s 31st Session in March 2016, limits its understanding of DWD to Caste and other analogous forms of discrimination, there are communities that have not necessarily been identified under the DWD framework that fit in the definition.