The decline of Africa’s higher education sector can be seen in overcrowded lecture rooms, crumbling infrastructure, obsolete curricula and, in many cases, poor and outdated pedagogy and inadequate funding. These factors, together with low research outputs and weak links to industry, mean that the sector is unable to meet the demands of Africa in the 21st century.

Over the past several years, TrustAfrica has worked to build a continent-wide movement to revitalize the higher education sector. It has forged partnerships with pan-African and international organizations and brought together a range of stakeholders, including leaders from government, business, students, academic unions and civil society as well as educators.

National-level dialogues in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda were followed in March 2015 with the first-ever Continental Summit on Higher Education hosted by President Macky Sall of Senegal. The summit was attended by key stakeholders from across the continent, including high-level officials such as ministers and vice chancellors. Among the dignitaries at the summit were Mr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, and Ms. Oby Ezekwesili, former Vice President for Africa of the World Bank.

The summit’s Declaration and Action Plan, which set out a bold agenda to transform the African higher education sector, was tabled by President Sall at the 25th session of Assembly of the African Union in June 2015. Consequently, the AU established a group of ten Heads of State led by President Sall to champion education, science and technology on the continent. We are working closely with the Government of Senegal to support the Heads of State group.

Other efforts to advance the summit’s action plan include national summits in Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania to set priorities for transforming their higher education sectors.

Strengthening the Advocacy Movement for Equitable Smallholder Agriculture in Africa

Despite its recognized role as an engine for economic growth, African agriculture remains hobbled by inadequate public spending and policies. This is particularly true for smallholder farming, where productivity boosts could lead to food security and more widely shared prosperity.

Since 2009, TrustAfrica has been working with farmers’ organizations to strengthen their ability to hold their governments to account to commitments they made as members of the African Union, including allocating 10 percent of national budgets to the sector.

Grants have supported advocacy by smallholder farmers’ organizations, civil society organizations and policy research organizations in Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Building on previous successes, partners continue to petition for transparency in national budget allocations to agriculture, better support and provision of extension and advisory services and a bigger role for smallholders in the agriculture value chain.

Current and future work includes continued support for increasing the capacity of these groups to participate in policymaking processes, with attention to helping advocates with tabling their policy requests and advancing smallholder issues at the continental level.

A knowledge hub and interactive discussion platform is in the works for better information sharing among advocacy networks, as is the development of a community of practice on agriculture advocacy.

Coming Soon

The Lawyers' Environmental Action Team (LEAT) is a public interest environmental organization, based in Tanzania. Its purpose is to foster sound natural resources management and environmental protection.

LEAT received a grant through our Agriculture Advocacy Project which seeks to build a more robust advocacy movement for sustainable and equitable agricultural development in Africa. It encourages civil society to make use of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) to hold governments more accountable to their constituents working in agriculture. In August 2011, LEAT received a $30,000 grant to develop a campaign to increase the budget for the agriculture sector in Tanzania, in order to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Specifically, the campaign is for a 10% increase in the National Budget for agriculture in the years 2012-2013.

In light of its objectives, LEAT produced a number of advocacy materials.

As part of its strategy to use the arts and cultural activism as a means to advance social and political change, TrustAfrica's Zimbabwe Alliance, in conjunction with Magamba Cultural Activist Network and Pemberi Trust organized an exciting program in Harare Zimbabwe, May 1-6. Entitled "Create, Inspire, Change," the festival offered a platform to the usually marginalized youth voices and created an inspiring space for a wide range of artistic expression, including Hip Hop, Reggae, Graffiti, spoken word, painting, and theatre as a mechanism for addressing issues related to democracy, governance and social justice. Take a look at the video created from the event.


At TrustAfrica, we seek to generate new philanthropic resources among our fellow Africans, whether living on the continent or among the diaspora.
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TrustAfrica also needs your support to ensure that we can sustain our work and that we are not overly dependent on foreign donors.To ensure that TrustAfrica remains a truly African institution, we're seeking donors from across the continent and throughout the diaspora.
One of our primary goals is to promote sound management, transparent governance, effective communication, and sustainable results among nongovernmental organizations in Africa. We expect no less of ourselves, and we strive to embody these qualities in every aspect of our operations.

TrustAfrica is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization in the United States, and contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowable by law.
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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.

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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

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

TrustAfrica established the International Criminal Justice (ICJ) Fund in 2012 to support civil society’s efforts to improve accountability mechanisms for grave crimes in Africa. We work at national, regional and international levels, where we use different strategies to foster justice and reconciliation, often following protracted conflict.

At the national level, we have placed victims at the center of our engagement and enhanced the work of key organizations in Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda.

At the regional and international level, we have sought to address the declining legitimacy of the International Criminal Court and seize opportunities presented by new African accountability mechanisms (including the African Court for Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as the proposed African Union Transitional Justice Policy Framework) by facilitating cross-continental experience sharing and learning.

These activities have contributed significantly towards building a well-networked and robust advocacy movement capable of addressing the challenges facing the implementation of international criminal justice in Africa.

In 2015, Fund activities included building the capacity of civil society organizations; fostering the development of research and data on African ICJ and transitional justice processes; and supporting strategy workshops, cross-continental learning initiatives, and joint advocacy missions at key regional and international meetings. At the center of this work is the need to re-focus attention on the plight of victims and governments’ responsibility to provide redress, a strategy that has proven effective in mobilizing constituencies to advocate for criminal and transitional justice.

One such initiative has been our engagement with the trial of Hissène Habré before the Extraordinary African Chambers in Dakar, Senegal. Since the trial began on 20 July 2015, the Fund has been working closely with a consortium of civil society organizations and Senegalese law graduates to monitor, document, and share information on proceedings across various platforms. The ICJ Fund trained a group of law graduates from Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) in Dakar, Senegal, to monitor and provide daily reports on the proceedings in both French and English. The work of these students provides an invaluable resource to activists and legal experts working on criminal justice issues in Africa and beyond. As the trial reopened on 8 February 2016, the media and other key partners highlighted TrustAfrica’s work in supporting documentation and monitoring of the ground-breaking trial, and developing the skills of young Africans to lead justice and accountability processes on the continent.

A 2015 interim evaluation of our work found that by bringing together major human rights grant-makers the Fund has been able to expand the operational scope and diversity of their investments in Africa. The evaluation also noted that the Fund has been adept in its response to the evolving climate for international criminal justice work on the continent and has supported fresh and bold advocacy initiatives.

The Fund continues to help sustain the efforts of its partners and to explore opportunities to expand its work in parts of Central Africa where accountability processes are just beginning. It is also deepening its engagements with continental mechanisms, including improving the African Court’s international criminal justice mandate – according a special role for victim participation and engaging groups working on documentation to improve these for litigation.

The ZimAlliance is a donor collaborative formed in 2010 to seize the opportunity created by the constitutional reform process and general elections to strengthen the role of civil society in influencing the country’s transition to democracy.

Emphasis has been on strengthening the capacity of civil society to advance informed and effective citizen participation and secure human rights and democracy.

The alliance’s grants, convenings, capacity building and technical support have enabled civil society partners to design creative, coordinated responses that have built regional and international solidarity, amplified the voices of marginalized groups, and educated citizens to mobilize others and engage with policymakers.

In partnership with Magamba Network, we used our Changemakers Hub platform to convene several discussions to catalyse youth to promote democracy and social change in Zimbabwe. Themes included arts for social change, new media, citizen journalism and freedom of expression.

We recently offered a skills training workshop for youths, citizen journalists and community organizers that explored how to use information communications technology (ICT) and geographical information systems (GIS) in campaigns to enhance social service delivery and monitor the political environment.

We also commissioned leading academics and thinker-activists from a range of disciplines to contribute to a book entitled Beyond the crisis: Zimbabwe’s prospects for transformation [link to order book], and  hosted a high-level national convening to launch the book and promote dialogue on the theme.

We are also investing in efforts to strengthen community-based organizations through a series of residents’ forums in partnership with Amandla Network.

Our aim is to contribute to rebuilding a permanent national civil society platform that has the ability to hold the state accountable to all of its citizens.

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