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The world is on fire. There is no more denying what we are seeing and what we are experiencing. Whether we are reeling from the impact of the climate crisis in Brazil, or the compounded effects of systemic racism against people of African descent and indigenous, people in the United States, or whether the Ukraine-Russia crisis and the rise in the military complex is affecting the price of bread for low-income families in Africa. The urgency of this global moment calls for urgency in how we walk alongside and support communities most at risk from the multiplicity of crises we are facing. Women and communities of African descent are increasingly at the forefront of bearing the brunt of these crises. Within this context, how then can a philanthropic system that is socially distanced from lived realities be reimagined in a way that inspires society out of crisis at this moment?

TrustAfrica and Urgent Action-Africa have been supporting the cross-section of this constituency for over 20 years.  In 2022, we took matters into our own hands and committed our general funds to Re-Imagining Pan-African and Feminist Philanthropies at a time when resources are critical to supporting these communities. We were clear that something fundamental that has been at the centre of why and how we channel resources in solidarity needed to be clearly articulated and named as a narrative that needs to be understood, socialized and embraced in the philanthropic centre.

In July 2022, 50 leading Pan-African and feminist activists met in Naivasha, Kenya to advance thinking, narratives, and practice that could culminate in a shared advocacy agenda.  Out of this meeting the Naivasha Principles, a draft Narratives frameworkand a working definition of Pan-African and Feminist philanthropy were established to support the transformation of philanthropic practice and bolster the support offered for Pan-African and feminist organizing. The Narratives and Principles address ideologies, approaches and practices that are ingrained culturally in how mainstream philanthropy is exercised and experienced. While the nomenclature and trend around power and trust have been increasingly circulating in the sector over the past few years, these values have been intrinsic to how philanthropy has been exercised in the Pan-African and feminist space for decades. These are namely values that recognize the agency and organizing power of our constituencies as central to advancing philanthropic solidarity towards a just society.

Today this journey continues as we write this blog from a follow-up Pan-African and Feminist Philanthropies Indaba[1], with some progressive funding actors and leading pan-African and feminist activists on the continent to make practical and substantive commitments reflective of the ideological shift in the way we are showing up in the sector. We are asking the challenging questions about ethical philanthropy and resource justice; dismantling philanthropic privilege and the fundamental transformations needed to advance a truly Pan-African and Feminist philanthropy. We are asking political questions about the access and use by feminist and social justice movements of philanthropic resources. There are no easy answers, but this collaborative endeavour anchored by TrustAfrica and Urgent Action Fund-Africa is ready to build a concrete roadmap to find and embody the answers to these questions.  

With a collective commitment and strong international solidarity around the Pan-African and feminist agenda, we aspire to influence a new global philanthropic narrative that centres agency, solidarity, independence and collective power that we see being eroded daily by divisive and exclusionary political, economic, and social systems. 

As unapologetically embedded actors in this philanthropic and social change space, we are intuitively embodying the movement approach from our Pan-African and feminist roots, as we interrogate and seek to influence the conversation around the politics behind the use of resources in solidarity with a social justice agenda.

The nexus between the crises and opportunities we face in this global moment underscores the need for a fundamental reimagining of systemic structures. Pan-African and Feminist philanthropic approaches centre solidarity and a redistribution of resources and power based on values of equity, collective humanity, and agency. This is at a moment where the urgency for global philanthropy to fundamentally rethink its role in advancing an agenda for equity, justice and wellness of communities most impacted by structural injustices is critical. As TrustAfrica and Urgent Action Fund-Africa, we consider it a privilege and a great responsibility to be on the frontline of anchoring this process to move philanthropy to be more of a transformative force in altering the trajectories of the challenges we face.

For more information on the outcomes and process from this collective please follow http://www.trustafrica.org, as well as @TrustAfrica and @UAFAfrica on Twitter.

Assane Seck University of Zinguinchor has hosted a three-day symposium on the life and work of Amilcar Cabral, great intellectual and freedom fighter. The event, held from 19 to 21 January 2023, was organized in conjunction with Cheikh-Anta Diop University in Dakar, Amadou Makhtar Mbow University, the Senegalese Association of Philosophy and TrustAfrica.  

The opening ceremony of this important event was a great success and was chaired by the Senegalese Minister of Higher Education, Professor Moussa Baldé. The symposium which featured very rich debates and high-level exchanges, made it possible to revisit the work of the freedom fighter and to question the legacy of Cabral, fifty years after his assassination.  

TrustAfrica strongly condemns the horrific and unconscionable assassination of Eswatini Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Ruddolf Maseko who was gunned down in front of his wife and kids in his living room on Saturday, January 21, 2023. Advocate Thulani Ruddolf Maseko was a committed human rights activist, who worked tirelessly for the advancement of democracy and the rule of law in Eswatini, his country of origin, and contributed to human rights efforts and solidarity within the Southern Africa region and beyond.

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Philanthropy is intrinsically linked to ideology – about how the world works, about belief systems, about the role of philanthropy itself. Accordingly, transforming the system of institutional philanthropy demands an ideological underpinning, not just a practice-based one. The last few years have seen several narratives around philanthropic transformation emerge. This paper reflects on these in relation to African philanthropic narratives, explores some of the tensions and the changes in the institutional philanthropy field, and identifies some implications for how these play out on the African continent. Ultimately, while recognizing that some significant shifts have indeed taken place in the sector, the paper (i) reflects that the majority of institutional philanthropy has yet to grapple with the ideological aspects underpinning transformation of the system, (ii) argues that an ideological reconceptualization of institutional philanthropy’s role, one that positions its privilege in service of the individual and collective agency of its constituencies, is critical to the transformation of the sector, and (iii) then reflects on what agency as a lens requires of the institutional philanthropy sector.

Keywords: Institutional philanthropy; Africa; privilege, power, agency, positionality, ideological transformation.

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Philanthropy is intrinsically linked to ideology – about how the world works, about belief systems, about the role of philanthropy itself. Accordingly, transforming the system of institutional philanthropy demands an ideological underpinning, not just a practice-based one. The last few years have seen several narratives around philanthropic transformation emerge. This paper reflects on these in relation to African philanthropic narratives, explores some of the tensions and the changes in the institutional philanthropy field, and identifies some implications for how these play out on the African continent. Ultimately, while recognizing that some significant shifts have indeed taken place in the sector, the paper (i) reflects that the majority of institutional philanthropy has yet to grapple with the ideological aspects underpinning transformation of the system, (ii) argues that an ideological reconceptualization of institutional philanthropy’s role, one that positions its privilege in service of the individual and collective agency of its constituencies, is critical to the transformation of the sector, and (iii) then reflects on what agency as a lens requires of the institutional philanthropy sector.

Keywords: Institutional philanthropy; Africa; privilege, power, agency, positionality, ideological transformation

TrustAfrica is pleased to join the Research Laboratory in Economic and Social Sciences (LARSES) of UASZ, the Research Laboratory on Institutions and Growth (LINC) of UCAD and the Laboratory of Applied Economics and Modelling (LEAM) of UAM in organizing an international symposium on AMILCAR CABRAL: Fifty Years Later.   

The symposium will take place from 19 to 21 January 2023 at the Assane Seck University of Ziguinchor, Senegal. 

The tragic road accident that occurred on the night of January 7 and 8, 2023, in the Kaffrine Region, about 250 kilometres southeast of Dakar has continued to send  shockwaves throughout Senegal and beyond. The unfortunate accident, which resulted in the loss of 39 lives with 85 injuries, is without doubt, the most violent shock ever recorded in Senegal. 

TrustAfrica joins well-meaning people all over the world to offer sincere condolences to President Macky Sall of Senegal , the Senegalese people, the families of the deceased as well as other people who were affected by the unfortunate incident. 

As partners in the progress and development of the Senegalese nation, we are deeply saddened by the tragic occurrence. While commending the government of Senegal for declaring a three-day period of national mourning as part of efforts to assuage the pain and grief that has befallen the country, we in TrustAfrica are fervent in our prayers that the souls of the victims of this tragic occurrence will find eternal rest with the creator and Lord of the Universe. 

Our communications and Social Movement officer, Abdarahmane Wone, represented TrustAfrica and the African Network on Discrimination based on Work and Descent and Slavery (ANDS) at the 15th Session of the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues, which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, 1-2 December 2022. The theme of the Forum is: Review. Rethink. Reform.  

Click here to download the ASM Baraza Report

The African Social Movements Baraza (ASM Baraza) was hosted with great excitement and high expectation, following the first convening which took place in 2018. The 2022 ASM Baraza welcomed social movement leaders and solidarity standers who convened in Johannesburg, South Africa to paint a picture of the future of social movements on the continent. Hosted by TrustAfrica with support from Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI) and Wallace Global Fund, the ASM Baraza gathered under the theme of ‘People Power: Reimagining the Future – Organising for Transformation’ - an appropriate foundation for collective reflection and progressive mapping. In total, 122 social movement actors from the five African regions, spanning 20 countries, participated in sessions facilitated by Nizenande Machi and interacted with panel sessions and presentations from thought leaders who included Lebohang Pheko, Everjoice Win, Mazibuko Jara and Lala Raveloarimisa.

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TrustAfrica is pleased to announce the 2022 awardees for the African Civil Society Support Initiative (ACSI). The call was issued as a response to the adverse impact of COVID-19 and the closing civic space in Africa on local institutions which are critical to national and regional policy change and implementation. Through core operational investment in African civil society organizations with feminist values, ACSI seeks to elevate women’s voices on health and development in Africa and to strengthen a multi sector supportive network of strong national and regional civil society organisations working on policy advocacy. ACSI invests in strengthening institutional effectiveness and its support is not project-specific.  The initial focus countries selected were Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. TrustAfrica identified and is supporting seven (7) organizations as its initial cohort in the program. The 7 organizations shown below were selected through a rigorous application process and have been awarded grants in the range of 50000 to 100000 US$ over a 12-month period. In total TrustAfrica is disbursing $US657,509 in this cohort. We invite you to get to know our grantees.

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