Written by Ese Emerhi is the project/team lead for TrustAfrica’s Nigeria and West Africa programming
It’s a disappointing fact that after seventy years, civil society and non-profit organizations in the Global South still rely heavily on external aid from the Global North for their survival. There are justifiable arguments that this donor dependency needs to stop or change, and inherent in this argument is the negative power dynamics that this has created within the development sector that has led to competition, mistrust, lack of cooperation, and an overarching objective of donors to prolong the “problem” so they can remain in “business.” If giving aid is ultimately about solving problems and correcting injustice, why are there still so many wicked and toxic problems to solve?
Systemic and transformative social change is a long-term objective that involves many players and factors. One approach to tackling transformative change from donors has been to support new entrants into civil society by giving small grants that address immediate needs. These small local community-based organizations learning on-the-go often lack deep organizational capacity — staff, internal structure, knowledge, and access to decision-makers — and so results and impacts are often muted and focus mostly on outputs rather than sustained impact. For some donors and government actors, the small grants approach have been the response or push back to traditional aid — externally designed explanations and solutions to long-term entrenched problems — by directly involving local actors in the design phase and turning over some power to them to provide solutions to their own problems. This approach certainly has some merits, and, in some instances, it has shown very promising results by ensuring local agency and voice in addressing some of society’s challenges. But it has its limits.
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The 8th Pan-African Conference (PAC) on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation, which took place virtually from 9 to 13 November 2020, was quite successful and mutually beneficial to both the Participants and organisers. The theme of this edition was: ‘’The Africa we want after COVID-19: Optimising the Mobilization of the Internal Resources of the Extractive Sector for the Transformation of Africa’’
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 edition was held in form of physical events (in countries where this was possible) and virtual sessions, on the margins of the meeting and plenary sessions. To make this conference a success, various committees were set up. Among them was the Communications Committee, which was in charge of reporting the event and ensuring its visibility across the African continent with the support of the media. This press-book is a reflection of the extent and quality of the media coverage.
TrustAfrica has launched a project over the past two years to address gender-based violence as a persistent obstacle, among others, to Francophone women empowerment in West Africa, particularly in three priority countries, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Mali. The Foundation has invested in this through the transformation of social norms, research, technical assistance, and capacity building.
With the global pandemic COVID-19, the main risk factors and acts of violence against women and girls have been exacerbated, especially with the closure of schools and universities and the lockdown. Besides physical and verbal abuse, many girls have had to drop out of school. TrustAfrica, together with its partners, was able to respond immediately to the crisis by establishing a rapid response mechanism to support initiatives that address these issues in this new context.
Using the “International 16 days of activism campaign against gender-based violence (GBV)” as a pretext, TrustAfrica organizes a panel discussion to support the current initiatives, mobilize actors and share knowledge with the various stakeholders.
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The original strategic approach of the Trust in 2017 was a focus on supporting local community-based organizations to implement projects in any of the seven thematic funding areas of the Trust. It was understood and appreciated that funding projects in a conflict-prone area to promote community development and other activities that support sustained economic development is a complex exercise with high risks, and hence, the need to work with local community-based organizations with the support of small grants to increase capacity and minimize risks.
In conceptualizing the Trust’s work with local community-based organizations, the Trust worked with a local Advisory Council made up of predominately Ogoni representatives and seasoned development practitioners to identify organizations and make funding recommendations to the Trustees of the Kiisi Trust. The Council met quarterly to review funding dockets, and as part of their work in discharging their responsibilities, met with Ogoni community representatives and stakeholders to discuss the work of the Trust. Between 2017
and 2020, the Advisory Council reviewed and debated over 64 grant applications and ultimately recommended 35 of those funding applications. Those funded projects resulted in impacting 30,861 beneficiaries in 68 communities across the 4 local government areas of Ogoniland. The Trust supports projects in seven thematic areas: agriculture, women’s programs, peacebuilding, education, governance, health, youth skills development/SME.
International Day for the Abolition of Slavery - 2 December 2020
TrustAfrica, Amnesty International and the African Network Against Discrimination on the Basis of Work, Ancestry, Slavery and Social Beliefs are jointly hosting a virtual roundtable to commemorate the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Although slavery has been abolished in Mauritania, Mali, and Niger, some individuals and communities because of their birth or descent or ancestry continue to be discriminated as slaves. The aim of this virtual roundtable is to convene women representatives belonging to antislavery organizations to share their lived experiences in times of COVID-19 pandemic.
Opening remarks and Moderator: Prof. Penda Mbow, Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, former Minister of Culture, and Founder of ‘Mouvement citoyens’
The 2020 edition of the 8th Pan African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and Taxation (PAC 2020), will be hosted by TrustAfrica and organized in collaboration with 16 co-conveners namely Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), African Union (AU), United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA), Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ), African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), OXFAM, Action Aid, Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), African Minerals Development Center (AMDC), Publish What You Pay (PWYP), StopTheBleeding (STB) Consortium, Pan African Lawyers’ Union (PALU), Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), Youth for Tax Justice Network (YTJN) and African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD).
Due to the Covid-19 global health pandemic, this year’s edition of PAC will be a combination of in-country physical events (where possible) as well as virtual breakaway and plenary sessions held under the theme: “The Africa We Want Post COVID-19: Optimizing Domestic Resource Mobilization from the Extractive Sector for Africa’s Transformation.”
To Register for PAC please click this link https://airtable.com/shr9rfp5aCYxMcrM3
It is with great sadness that we learned of the unfortunate demise of Professor Iba Der Thiam (1937-2020), a renowned historian, pan-Africanist, leading scholar and a shining light of the African intellectual community. Professor Iba Der Thiam was former Minister of National Education of Senegal (1983 to 1988) and had a stellar record of service which will remain indelible in the annals of posterity. Indeed, with his passing, Africa, and the entire scientific community has lost a great monument, a trail-blazer and an intellectual of high repute. A former member of UNESCO's scientific committee responsible for writing the History of Africa, Professor Iba Der Thiam was known for his in-depth knowledge of the continent's historical, sociological, cultural, political and economic realities. He was also known for his commitment to the defence of Africa and its dignity.
Markets are where food producers and consumers meet. They are a vital connection between our food and our planet. Markets are where food is traded and where ideas and cultures mix - but often markets do not work for producers and consumers. The climate emergency and the pandemic are highlighting that we need new approaches to the way food is processed, distributed and traded. In addition, we want to show how traditional and informal African markets are neglected and how strengthening them is a critical part of the transition to agroecology. This conference will lay out the challenges facing African markets, shape the markets we want to see in the future, and work out how to get there.
Community Immunity global initiative’s second LiveStream4Africa concert on Saturday, 17 October 2020 at 6:pm GMT was a very successful one. Renowned award-winning artists Baaba Maal, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Berita were amazing. The two comperes, DJ Boubs and Sainabou Jagne did a wonderful job to ensure that both English-speaking and French-speaking audiences were able to follow the concert and enjoy the performances.