TrustAfrica is a Pan African foundation headquartered in Dakar, Senegal. We were founded with a commitment to strengthen African agency in addressing the continent’s most pressing challenges. We operate from a conviction that Africans must work together to set their own development priorities, informed by the aspirations of African citizens.

TrustAfrica’s programs have focused on strengthening democracy and democratic governance, promoting equitable development, and advancing African philanthropy. Our governance work has been anchored on a strong belief that for Africa to be stable and prosperous citizens must have a voice and actively participate in processes that shape the future of the continent. Our work in this field has included promoting democratic elections, supporting social movements and facilitating citizen participation, promoting transparency and accountability in governance, strengthening constitutionalism and the rule of law, upholding basic human rights and fighting against the culture of impunity.

Under our Equitable Development cluster, we have championed economic and social policies that lead to more inclusive and equitable economic development. This includes initiatives to promote small holder agriculture, with a particular focus on women small scale farmers. We have also supported initiatives to promote transparency, accountability and equity in natural resource governance, as well as domestic resource mobilization through fair taxation and curbing illicit financial flows. Furthermore, we have worked to mobilize African leaders around an agenda to transform the higher education sector in line with Africa’s needs, while promoting early learning innovations.

Through our African Philanthropy program, we have worked towards strengthening and broadening knowledge and understanding of the context, narratives, practice, and potential of African philanthropy to advance social justice in Africa. Our work has been anchored on the belief that by nurturing African philanthropy, the continent can reduce dependency on external resources and chart a more sustainable path to development. We view African philanthropy as part of agency that should be mobilized towards the realization of Africa’s transformation.

Our Theory of change

Our theory of change holds that responsible citizenship and accountable leadership will enable societies to become more stable, more prosperous, more equitable, and just. We believe that if we leverage African and global philanthropic resources to strengthen these two levers and connect issues and connect constituencies, we will catalyze a movement for Africa’s transformation.


African citizens living with dignity in a sovereign, just, integrated and prosperous Africa with strong and effective institutions.


We exist to promote responsible citizenship and accountable leadership in addressing Africa’s most pressing challenges.


TrustAfrica Now
July 2012
In This Issue  

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Greetings from Dakar:

TrustAfrica is making an impact! Perhaps you're not aware, but we have been reaching out to partners, stakeholders and interested parties all over the continent. Last month we were in Tunisia, discussing the drivers that led to the Arab Spring. In May we were in Zimbabwe, rapping, painting, dancing and debating about how the arts can encourage change. Here in our own Senegal we were lending a few neighbors a helping hand through our community grants program.

To really get a feel for some of the work taking place, check out the homepage of our Website and click on the "Impact" link just underneath the photo gallery or just click here. You'll see, hear and read news directly from our partners about the important work they are doing.

We are only as effective as the stakeholders we support. We hope you'll take a moment in your very busy day to take a look at some of the efforts taking place across the continent. We guarantee it will erase your sense of frustration and inspire you to advocate for changes in your own life. Impact is something that everyone can achieve. Whether on the local, national or Pan-African level, we encourage you to take action!

Call for Proposals for the Early Learning Innovations Fund
Deadline extended to August 15, 2012

TrustAfrica in partnership with the Hewlett Foundation, is inviting applications for grants to design and implement early learning innovation projects from organizations in Kenya, Uganda, Mali and Senegal. We are seeking organizations with a credible track record in the area of designing and implementing learning innovations, to submit applications for funding partnerships. At this stage, our 'Early Learning Innovations Fund' is at the pilot phase and we are looking at disbursing grants averaging US$55,000 for projects that can be implemented over 24 months, starting from October 2012.

The primary goal of the project is to foster innovative learning approaches and environments for early learners who are currently not well served by existing education systems. Targeting children ages 5 - 11 years-old, the project will specifically seek to:

  1. Significantly improve the literacy and numeracy competencies among early learners through cutting-edge innovations that are successfully piloted in different geographic locations and contexts;
  2. Identify the enabling factors and feasibility probability for taking early-learning innovations to scale within the focus countries through outreach;
  3. Strengthen the effectiveness of organizations that produce the early-learning innovations, through technical assistance provision, and peer-learning opportunities; and
  4. Promote dissemination of the innovation results among relevant policy stakeholders.

Applications for the grants can be found in both English and French on the TrustAfrica Website.

Dialogue in North Africa Offers Opportunity to Discuss a Way Forward for Social Change
Participants from Workshop in Tunisia

Leading scholars and members of civil society gathered in Tunisia to debate critical issues related to the recent social and political unrest in various parts of North Africa during a workshop entitled "Major Drivers of Social Change in Africa-Overview and a Way Forward." The workshop, organized by TrustAfrica, brought together researchers, university professors, activists and civil society practitioners both to discuss and challenge existing practices related to social change.

Africa continues to face daunting challenges in terms of governance issues. While the events during the recent "Arab Spring" opened the door for popular movements promoting democracy and citizen-focused efforts to challenge existing government norms, the growth in citizen confidence and agency is not universally welcomed. Some governments feel the expanding civic space poses a threat to their previously unfettered control and hegemony. In several countries, governments have adopted autocratic and authoritarian responses to citizens' demands for more transparency and accountability while others stealthily seek to lengthen their terms in office. A number of governments have also introduced legislation designed to constrain, weaken, or even close down civil society organizations. Without doubt, this democratic recession poses a major threat to Africa's future stability and development.

The workshop was intended to discuss in detail the context under which the Arab Spring took place, and provide a platform for a dialogue between countries in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Participants were drawn from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Mozambique, and Senegal. During the workshop there was a clear demand for more platforms like these, as well as the need to network the youth across the various countries of Africa. The youth are a critical factor to pay attention to during this time in Africa's history.

There were deep discussions also on religion and how it has been politicized. Another theme that came through strongly was that of the "post-modern coup." This new form of coup involves tactics by dictators on regulating the social media and using that space to target social activists.

In addition to the workshop, the meeting offered an opportunity for a preview of a new book edited by TrustAfrica. The book, entitled "(Dis)Enabling the Public Sphere: Civil Society Regulation in Africa (Volume 2)" is part of a three-volume series focused on the regulatory environment for civil society. Volume 2 focuses on North Africa and includes thematic discussions on the main drivers of change in the region, in particular, youth, women, religion and social media, based on the events that took place around the Arab Spring. The book builds on Volume 1, released in 2011, that focused on Southern Africa and some countries in Central and East Africa. A final volume covering West Africa is due out in 2013.

TrustAfrica's Neighborhood Support Program Helps Strengthen Communities
Women processing cereals

In an effort to play a greater role in supporting local communities in Senegal, TrustAfrica has established a Neighborhood Support Program (NSP). The first grant of the program was awarded to a women's group that processes, packages and sells local cereals. GIE and Defar Yaraax (GADY) is located in Hann Village, one of the poorest areas in the Dakar region. Through its Equitable Development program, TrustAfrica aims to improve the social and economic status of women in their community. It has awarded GADY a three-year grant for a total of $25,000.

The objective of the grant is to establish a cereals processing unit and provide training so that selected members of 25 women's groups will be able to pass on their skills to other women in the community. These efforts are intended to directly increase women's income and perhaps open the door to further opportunities for skills sharing and product distribution.

The trainings will take place in conjunction with the Institut Technologique Alimentaire (ITA), a local institution that works on research and development for food and nutrition.

Most recently, the project launched its activities during a ceremony that was attended by the Mayor of Hann, project participants and TrustAfrica staff. The hope is that through hard work, word of mouth and continued training, the project will quickly start to bring in profits that will not only benefit the community, but increase demand to the extent where the business can be self-sustaining.

Create, Inspire, Change Lights Up the Artistic and Activist Communities
Zimbabwe Alliance Harnesses the Power of Arts and Culture to Spark Fresh Ideas, New Approaches
Briggs Bomba at Create, Inspire, Change

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. As part of the program, artists, activists, academics and civil society actors attended critical discussions and workshops that offered practical skills sharing and collaboration and witnessed public performances that capped off the activities.

One highlight of the event was an interactive discussion session featuring the celebrated Senegalese musician, filmmaker, organizer and PanAfrican activist, Didier Awadi. Drawing on his experiences and background in combining the arts, politics and social causes, Awadi shared valuable experience and insights on the role of arts activism and protest in defending democracy in Senegal during its recent presidential elections.

New Fund Engages Civil Society to Advocate for International Criminal Justice

TrustAfrica is pleased to announce a new project, "The Fund to Advance International Criminal Justice in Africa." The project is a follow-up to a series of meetings on International Criminal Justice, the most recent of which took place in Nairobi, Kenya at the end of last year. The $1.15 million, multi-donor effort seeks to ensure greater collaboration and accountability among African states to transform the field of international criminal justice in Africa.

In particular, through a series of activities, the fund seeks to mobilize civil society around international criminal justice in the following manner:

  • Shepherd the creation and implementation of a joint multi-pronged civil society advocacy strategy for advancing international criminal justice in Africa, particularly those that strengthen the Rome Statute system;
  • Implement grantmaking to support the advocacy strategy;
  • Foster and coordinate a productive network of organizations and advocates who will implement the advocacy strategy; and
  • Track and evaluate progress in the implementation of the advocacy strategy.

This three-year multimillion dollar effort remains open to receiving new funding partners. In the meantime, interested stakeholders should continue to check the TrustAfrica Website for further information as the project progresses.

Our Team is Growing
Meet our newest staff members
Halima Mohamed

Halima Mohamed, Philanthropy Program Advisor. Halima Mohamed joined us in April 2012 as our Philanthropy Program Advisor. Based in Johannesburg, Halima is focusing on developing knowledge building, outreach and advocacy on African philanthropy and advancing work on social justice philanthropy in Africa. She has previously worked at the Ford Foundation Office for Southern Africa, at the EDGE Institute, and as a long-term consultant to the Ford Foundation and the Global Fund for Community Foundations. She is an independent consultant and also serves on the Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace Working Group and the Alliance magazine editorial board. She holds a Masters Degree in Development Studies, with distinction, from the University of the Witwatersrand -- with a research focus on social justice philanthropy in South Africa.

Be a Part of Our Social Network
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

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 logo
January, 2013 - In This Issue:


Welcome to our revised edition of TrustAfrica Now!  TrustAfrica would like to ensure that you receive your newsletter in your preferred language.  In order to do so, we need you to please click on the "Update Profile/Email Address" link at the very, very bottom of this email.  When it takes you to your profile page, please be sure to complete the final question regarding your language preferences.  In the future, you will only receive this email in your preferred language.  Many thanks.
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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On November 6-7, 2012, TrustAfrica and the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities held a dialogue on “The Future and Relevance of Nigerian Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions: Towards Higher Education Transformation." The two-day meeting brought together Vice Chancellors and other senior administrators of universities, staff unions (Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU and National Association of Academic Technologists, NAATS), civil society groups and representatives of the private sector and the media to share experiences and best practices of good governance in higher education. Highlights of the conference included a keynote address by the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i and Distinguished Senator Uche Chukwumerije, Chair Senate Education Committee.

On September 13-14 TrustAfrica and the Committtee of Vice Chancellors and Principals Tanzania held a dialogue on “Good Governance for Sustainable Quality University Education in Tanzania.” The two-day meeting brought together educators, administrators, government officials, student representatives and the media to share experiences and best practices of good governance in higher education.  Highlights of the conference included a keynote address by the Minister of  Education and Vocational Training, Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa.

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Conferences and Workshops