Jan 04 2013

TrustAfrica Now - January, 2013

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January, 2013 - In This Issue:


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Second Annual African Grantmakers Conference Highlights Growing Interest


hat's New, What's Now, What's Next, Growing African Philanthropy" a three-day conference sponsored by the African Grantmaker's Network (AGN) was a terrific opportunity to participate in an exciting dialogue on the latest developments happening in philanthropy on the continent. Moderated by the formidable Deprose Muchena from OSISA, one session moved seamlessly into the next as attendees listened to keen insights provided by a wide range of luminaries, networked with nearly 400 guests, and nibbled on a variety of tasty dishes, all the while enjoying the wide-open spaces of the ultra-modern Turbine Hall in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The second annual AGN Assembly kicked off with welcome remarks by Janet Mawiyoo, AGN Chairperson and Executive Director of the Kenya Community Development Foundation. Participants were then treated to two surprise guests, H.E. Bongi Ngema, current First Lady of South Africa and H.E. Graca Machel, political activist and former First Lady of South Africa and Mozambique. Dr. Machel made a number of thought-provoking statements about the nature of philanthropy in Africa, including "Philanthropy starts in Africa with an idea and ends with a search for money, elsewhere it is the reverse." She urged philanthropists to "build a chain of solidarity with those we serve" and reminded them of the example of churches whose sustainability is through solidarity, even if they go through long periods without money.

After Dr. Machel departed, the morning plenary session started. Plenary discussions each day focused on the issues raised by the conference title. Topics for parallel sessions in the afternoons ranged from celebrity philanthropy in Africa to philanthropy's role in shifting power from North to South. Other high-level guests included Joaquim Chissano (Former President of Mozambique), Mamphela Ramphele (academic and former anti-apartheid activist), and Jay Naidoo (Actvist and Chair, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)). The final day of the conference, The Zimbabwe Alliance, a project funded through a number of donors including TrustAfrica, gave a presentation on its activities and the challenges and opportunities the project faces.

Guests were invited to attend two separate awards ceremonies on consecutive evenings. The first, the Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards, honored several selfless South Africans and announced the 2012 AGN Philanthropy awardwinner, Mrs. Marwa El Daly, Founder and Chairperson of the Maadi Community Foundation in Egypt. The second night, guests were invited to the Drivers of Change Awards gala dinner, hosted by the Southern African Trust and the Mail & Guardian newspaper.

AGN is a Pan-African group comprising grantmaking organizations who work to strengthen the objective of African philanthropy on the continent.   TrustAfrica is the current secretariat for the AGN. To learn more, kindly access the conference Twitter feed at #AGN or #AfricanGrantmakers or visit our photo gallery on Picasa.

A Critical Look at Social Justice Philanthropy in Africa and in the Arab Region

Immediately preceding the AGN conference, TrustAfrica, the Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace Working Group and the AGN, in collaboration with the Arab Foundations Forum and the Global Fund for Community Foundations, brought together a small group of individuals from across the continent to begin a collective discussion on how to advance debate, build a body of knowledge, inform good practice and strengthen the impact of social justice philanthropy in Africa and in the Arab region. While definitions and understandings vary, broadly speaking "social justice philanthropy" refers to philanthropy that addresses the drivers underlying social, economic and political inequalities.


As the first convening on the continent focused specifically on this topic, it was no surprise that during the one and half days, challenging and complex discussions arose. Participants addressed issues ranging from how to define and understand social justice philanthropy in terms of movement building, to the nature of the risks taken; from examining issues of resource governance and redefining the meaning of enabling giving environments, to making hard choices about what money should or should not be accepted; from sharing experiences around civic action in enabling or oppressive environments, to how to manage power with various constituencies; and the disconnect between policy makers, donors and academia. These and other issues brought about critical reflection of the role philanthropy does, and should, play in developing a more just society.


The convening closed with a strong sense of energy and commitment to continue the self-examination it started. While this convening began as a small focused conversation, it is seen as the first of a series of discussions; and subsequent steps will seek to broaden and deepen the opportunities for such discussions.

Convenings in Several Target Countries Engage Networks, Reveal Gaps

The Higher Education Policy Dialogues have been making their way around the continent! In the last several months of 2012, the Higher Education program held meetings with local and state actors in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria. The dialogues are part of the core strategy of the program to promote transformation in higher education, which is critical to secure the conditions for democracy and equitable development in Africa.  


In each of the four target countries (including Ghana), TrustAfrica has aligned itself with government officials, heads of institutions, umbrella bodies of vice chancellors, seasoned academics and development actors to strengthen networks and develop relevant and effective policies that will encourage positive growth in the sector. In collaboration with its local partners, namely Committee of Vice Chancellors (Nigeria), Uganda Vice Chancellors Forum (Uganda) and Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals of Tanzania, it has held national policy dialogues during which it showcased the findings of its scoping studies and share this information with critical audiences.  


These convenings have provided an opportunity for local actors to augment their agendas with a discussion around a broader range of critical education policy issues. Often, the gatherings have attracted the participation of heads of education ministries (including cabinet ministers), senior officials of other government ministries, parliamentarians and representatives of the private sector, in addition to the academic communities.


The dialogues have also unearthed some critical issues that need to be addressed; for example, in Nigeria, the dialogues generated some controversy when it was revealed that Nigerian students spend nearly $500 million a year to study abroad, rather than staying in their home country. In Tanzania, the Education and Vocational Training Minister stated that higher education would be the engine that will drive the country towards its goals, as defined by the nation's Vision 2025.


The Higher Education Policy Dialogues employ a variety of strategies to address the unique challenges facing higher education on the continent today. The program hopes to sustain the policy dialogues it has started as a means to improve conditions in areas such as governance, financing, collaboration, ethics and standards, research, planning, postgraduate training, and many more. The networks that have been formed are being encouraged to continue to push for reforms of the higher education sector in their respective countries and across the continent.


For more information on the dialogues, including discussion papers, podcasts and videos, please visit our Website at http://bit.ly/SjKsGT and click on the Conferences and Dialogues link on the lefthand side.

Activities are Underway to Shape the Country's Future

The government is taking steps to move the country forward in Liberia. Recently, a group of engaged stakeholders gathered to discuss the President's Vision 2030 Liberia Rising Project, a process whereby local Liberians were provided an opportunity to participate in determining the country's future through a series of meetings around the country, attended by HE President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Ezekiel Pajibo, Project Director for the Liberia Civil Society Initiative was invited to participate in the process. Last month, the discussions culminated in the President's office releasing a draft vision statement, produced during the National Vision Conference, convened in Gbarnga, Bong County. The statement officially ends the design phase of the Vision 2030 and declares the beginning of the operationalization and implementation of its recommendations.

In an effort to further encourage citizen participation and engagement in the exercise, the Liberia Civil Society Initiative recently awarded a $62,150 grant to the Liberian Media for Democratic Initiatives (LMDI). The grant is intended to allow LMDI to engage in a year-long series of dialogues on the Vision 2030 exercise using community outreach and media platforms to ensure the broadest possible participation and awareness by local populations. The intention is for the dialogues to be broadcast around the country.

Copies of the draft Vision statement can be found on our Website. Please scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link.  You can access more information on grantee LMDI here.
New and Improved Materials Make Information Easier to Access and Understand

TrustAfrica is undergoing a facelift to improve its grants and communications materials. In an effort to ensure ease of use, greater understanding, and increased accountability, we have redesigned several key components of our grants templates, Website and Annual Report.


The Grants Department has been working for several months to improve the documents needed to apply for a grant from TrustAfrica. After reaching out to several stakeholders and incorporating their feedback, the newly designed templates, which are bi-lingual (English and French) will allow TrustAfrica to better assess the impact its grantees are having in their specialty areas. These information sheets, application forms and budget documents are designed to provide all the relevant information from grantees to best make an assessment of their potential viability as a TrustAfrica grant recipient. In addition, they ensure that TrustAfrica is able to meet its own transparency and accountability objectives as a grantmaking organization. The new templates are already in use and garnering great feedback from our grantee organizations.


In addition, our Website is being upgraded to accommodate all the growth that has taken place in our organization over the last several years. The new site will feature searchable grants and publications databases, an easy to navigate interface and lots more opportunities to better understand the important work our grantees are doing. We are also taking this opportunity to transition into an online annual report that will be more interactive and provide a quick snapshot of the successes and challenges we have faced over the last fiscal year.


We are excited about the many changes and hope you will be, too! 


Meet Our Newest Staff Members

Lyne Mendy, Operations Manager
Ms. Mendy joined us in June 2012. She became part of the permanent staff after working as a consultant for three months. She previously worked at the Ministry of Institutional Relations and at the Ministry of Social Action and National Solidarity in Senegal. Ms. Mendy has also worked in the healthcare industry as a Financial Specialist at Theracom, a CVS Caremark Company and as a Patient's Accountant at Suburban Hospital in the United States. She is a certified translator and holds a degree in Business Administration. She is fluent in English and French.
Jeanne Elone, Program Officer, International Criminal Justice
Ms. Elone rejoins TrustAfrica as Program Officer for the International Criminal Justice fund. Previously, Ms. Elone coordinated research on North African civil society, examining the role of civil society in the political transformations that shook region in 2011 as well as analyzing the legal and regulatory environment in which these groups operate. She also worked with the ICBE Research Fund and managed grant-making in TrustAfrica's three core programs. Ms. Elone has lived in Cameroon, Burkina Faso, France, and the United States, working on a range of issues from fair trade and agricultural subsidies to human rights to development finance. She studied at Columbia University in New York and at the National Institute for Political Science in Paris and is currently pursuing a doctorate at the School for Advanced International Studies (Johns Hopkins University) in Washington, D.C. She is bilingual in French and English.
Angela Naggaga, Project Director, International Criminal Justice Project
Angela Naggaga joined us in December 2012. She previously worked for over six years as Deputy Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), a pan-African NGO based in the Gambia focusing on using African Union human rights treaties and mechanisms to advance human rights in Africa. Prior to joining IHRDA, Angela was an Assistant Lecturer at the faculty of law of Makerere University in Uganda (four years), and also served as Senior Legal Officer of the faculty's Refugee Law Project providing legal aid to refugees and asylum seekers (five years). Ms. Naggaga has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University, and a Master of Law from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. She is fluent in English and is working on her French.

TrustAfrica is dedicated to securing the conditions for democratic governance and equitable development in Africa, and we can't do it without people like you. We hope you'll visit our Website and blog often, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, read about our workshops and grant making, and join our $100 per year campaign.




Akwasi Aidoo
Executive Director, TrustAfrica

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
phone: +221.33.869.46.86
fax: +221.33.824.15.67

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