May 02 2011

TrustAfrica Now - May 2011

TrustAfrica Now
May 2011
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Greetings from Dakar!

Now that we've closed the books on our 2010 fiscal year, which ended on March 31, we're taking stock of what was, by any measure, our busiest and most successful year to date. We not only doubled our grant making, but also made significant strides to strengthen our operations, undertaking an internal audit of our grant files and upgrading our computer systems. With your support, we're determined to achieve even more this year.

This edition of TrustAfrica Now describes some of our most significant activities and accomplishment in recent months.

Making Grants to Support African Civil Society
In our busiest year to date, we awarded nearly $4 million

With the close of our fiscal year on March 31, we have updated our searchable online grants database. This past year we awarded $3.9 million through 106 grants to partner organizations in 18 African countries and the Diaspora. Highlights include several clusters of grants related to smallholder agriculture, gender violence and women's political participation, civil society in Liberia, higher education, economic governance and business and investment.

Strengthening Agricultural Advocacy
Research, dialogue and training seek to support smallholder farmers
rice farmers in Malawi

More than 30 smallholder farmers and civil society leaders from East, West and Southern Africa gathered March 14-19 in Lilongwe, Malawi, for our training workshop to strengthen advocacy for sustainable and equitable agricultural development. Together, they learned about global and continental agriculture policies, explored strategies for engaging in public advocacy, and acquired skills needed to participate effectively in government budget processes. Through this initiative, we also recently published a set of scoping studies that assess the strengths and needs of relevant advocacy organizations in five African nations. We then made several grants to build the capacity of civil society organizations that are working to amplify the voices of smallholder farmers and bring their needs and concerns to the attention of policy makers.

Reflecting on Artists, Social Change and Development
Roundtable at 2011 World Social Forum sparks lively debate
World Social Forum

With Dakar playing host to the 2011 World Social Forum, we convened a roundtable on artists, social change and development. Magamba Cultural Activist Network and Africulturban joined us in organizing the event, which looked at how artists are using art for civic engagement and what role foundations can play in supporting such initiatives. Artists and cultural activists from numerous countries shared ideas and experiences, enlightening foundations and partners on how to support such work. The roundtable explored questions such as: how do artists amplify their voices to become central in development, democracy and governance? How do we measure artistic impact in these critical fields?

On the eve of the forum, we also convened a meeting of the Funders Network on Transforming the Global Economy, bringing together dozens of American philanthropists and grant makers with African civil society leaders who briefed them on emerging themes on the continent. View photos of the orientation discussions and opening march.

Analyzing the Environment for Civil Society
New volume assesses challenges and opportunities in 18 nations
Civil society books

Together with the Southern Africa Trust, we have published a 429-page book about the legislative environment for civil society in 18 countries in Central, East and Southern Africa. Edited by Bhekinkosi Moyo, our program director, (Dis) Enabling the Public Sphere: Civil Society Regulation in Africa (Volume 1) also features a foreword by Graça Machel. It is available in hardcover, softcover and PDF format. The book was formally launched at recent dialogues in Dakar, Senegal, and Pretoria, South Africa.

Building the Capacity of Women Leaders
'Boot camp' in Bamako draws activists from seven countries
Bamako MDG3 Bootcamp

Dozens of women activists from seven Francophone African countries gathered in Bamako, Mali, on Jan. 17-23 for an intensive training workshop. The "boot camp," designed to strengthen the capacity of organizations supported through our MDG3 Project, brought together leaders from civil society, grassroots movements and political parties. Together, they built practical knowledge and skills for developing and conducting effective advocacy campaigns.

We're Hiring
Project Director, Liberia

We're looking for a dynamic, energetic and self-driven individual to serve as Project Director for our initiative to strengthen civil society capacity for policy engagement in Liberia. Based in Monrovia, the position entails overseeing our grant making, technical assistance and peer-learning activities. Our goal is to build a strong, vibrant, and credible nongovernmental sector that responds more readily to the needs and aspirations of the Liberian people.

Our Team is Growing
Meet our newest board members, staff members and consultants
Janet Mawiyoo

Janet Naumi Mawiyoo joined our Board of Trustees in February. She is chief executive officer of the Kenya Community Development Foundation, the only public national foundation in Kenya, which works to promote sustainable development through social investments and grant making that empowers disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. She previously worked at the Kenyan Ministry of Culture and Social Services, the Ministry of Technical Training and Applied Technology, the Norwegian Agency for Development and ActionAid International, both in Kenya and in Tanzania, where she rose to the position of country director. Ms. Mawiyoo holds a Bachelor's degree in social work from Nairobi University, a Master's degree in economics from the University of Manchester (UK), where she specialized in development administration and management, and a postgraduate diploma in organizational development.

Sibongile MkhabelaSibongile Mkhabela also joined our Board in February. She is chief executive officer of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, which works to improve the lives of poor children and youth and which has grown under her leadership to R500m/$50m. She is now on a two-year secondment to head the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital, one of the Fund's signature initiatives. With a degree in social work and several graduate diplomas, Bongi (as she is known to friends) has held senior positions at the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Education Programme and South African Council of Churches. She also served as Programs Director in the office then-Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, overseeing strategic projects including NGO/government partnerships and children's programs. In 2004 she was awarded a Joel L. Fleishman Civil Society Fellowship by Duke University (USA). As a student leader, Bongi was an executive member of the Soweto Students Representative Council and general secretary of the South African Students Movement, two driving forces behind the nationwide revolt on June 16, 1976, often hailed as the beginning of the end of apartheid. Charged with sedition in the Soweto 11 trial, she was imprisoned for three years. Following her release in 1982, she wrote a stirring account of the uprising, Open Earth and Black Roses.

Facoumba GueyeFacoumba Gueye joined TrustAfrica in February 2011 as Program Assistant for the Investment Climate and Business Environment (ICBE) Research Fund. She previously worked as a research assistant for the Emergence Consulting Group, a Senegalese firm where she specialized in development strategies. Keenly interested in the field of development and in international solidarity, she has also served as a volunteer in project development for the Digital Freedom Initiative, a project financed by USAID in Senegal, and as the project assistant for eRider Senegal, an ICT support program financed by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa. Ms. Gueye will soon defend her Master's thesis in human resource economics. She holds other certificates in the field of business development and the economics of knowledge and innovation. She speaks French and is working on her English.

Aminata Seck has been consulting for our grants administration team since October 2010. Her thorough internal audit of our grant files is bringing greater clarity and efficiency to our grants administration system and processes. Aminata previously worked at Oxfam GB and Save the Children UK. She earned a Licence in history at the Sorbonne and a Master's degree in marketing at l'Institut Supérieur de Management (ISM) in Dakar. She is now working on a Master's in project management at ISM.

Amélie Traore, who has assisted our accounting team on several occasions over the past year, stepped in full-time from September to March while our staff accountant took maternity leave. Amélie holds graduate degrees in audit and management control and in accounting and finance. She has previously worked at FocusAfrica and the African Centre for Advanced Studies in Management (CESAG), both in Dakar, and at Cabinet Rosette Nacro in her native Burkina Faso.

Our Web Presence is Growing
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Picasa and YouTube

Social networking sites are a great way to stay in touch with TrustAfrica — and to exchange ideas with others who share an interest in democracy and development in Africa. On Twitter and Facebook, we post short, timely reflections about issues of the day. On Picasa, we showcase photos of our events and the work of our grantees. On YouTube, we present interviews and videos about our work and the challenges facing Africa.

Support our work

Guidestar Exchange Seal
We extend a heartfelt thanks to all who responded to our last appeal for support. Your crucial contributions sustain our work and reduce our reliance on institutional donors.

Contributions to TrustAfrica, a 501(c)(3) organization that has earned the GuideStar Exchange Seal, are tax deductible in the United States to the full extent allowable by law. Please consider making a donation today to qualify for a tax deduction this calendar year.



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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

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