On 10 and 11 March 2021, TrustAfrica in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation convened 110+ media and civil society practitioners from xxx to discuss and debate the issue of illicit financial flows (IFF) from Africa in the Covid-19 era.
The virtual convening focused on the theme: ''Strengthening the collaboration between the media and civil society in the fight against illicit financial flows (IFFs) from Africa in the Covid-19 era." The convening was part of the 2021 edition of the Media-Civil Society Meeting on Illicit Financial Flows in Africa.
The meeting aimed to 'create a space for African journalists covering IFFs to engage with civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders'.
The goal was to develop strategies on how media reporting on IFFs can best translate into an effective resource for advocacy efforts and constant pressure for policy change, particularly in the Covid-19 era.
As mentioned in our opening article, TrustAfrica, as part of the implementation of its project: “Embracing the Challenge: Changing Social Norms for Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls in Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso”, and to celebrate the International Women's Day, organized a series of meetings throughout the month of March with our partners IES- Femmes (Association pour l’Intégration Economique et Sociale dans le Développement) in Burkina Faso; ADE SAHEL (Alternative pour le Développement et l’Environnement au Sahel) in Mali, and; ALPHADEV (Alphabétiser pour un Développement Durable) in Senegal.
From Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal, 89 men and women participated in debates exploring the feminist social movement and contributed to advance actions for a systemic change for engendering women's rights and possible solutions to enhance women's empowerment. The main outcome of this series of convenings was to consolidate the different platforms for engagement, exchange and coordination of strategies for the women's rights movement.
During the series of events, champions were selected and will be invited during the month of April to take part in a data-driven advocacy training program with the aim to train gender advocates in the basics of data research, analysis, and evaluation, and to enable them to have a clearer understanding of how to use data in their advocacy work.
This year's International Women’s Day (IWD) theme recognizes the impact of the COVID-19 global health pandemic in 2020. For the 2021 campaign, the UN Women announced the theme "Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World". A social media campaign was launched to inspire women to #ChooseToChallenge and call out gender prejudice and disparity. The theme profiles women's incredible work in creating an equal future for everyone, recovery from the pandemic, and the existing gaps. At TrustAfrica we were excited to host a series of meetings throughout the month with partners under our initiative to redress gender-based violence and challenge the norms and stereotypes which strip women of agency and also spent time planning how we prioritize gender responsive programming through the collaborative Community Immunity Initiative.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that women in leadership drive development in communities. In fact, some of the most effective and positive responses to dealing with the pandemic were led by women and women were at the frontline of the COVID-19 response: in the health sector working as caregivers during the pandemic, as female scientists researching vaccines, and as daily wage earners eking out a living for their households during difficult shutdowns across Africa. Despite the enormous contribution of women in the fight against COVID-19, women at the frontlines are still paid 11% less than their male counterparts, according to data released by the United Nations. We must #ChooseToChallenge and end the gender disparity in pay. That’s why at TrustAfrica 40% of funds dedicated to community-led responses from the TrustAfrica Solidarity Fund went to support solidarity networks of women that were being responsive to the situation in countries across West Africa.
During the Inaugural World Communities Forum, in which TrustAfrica hosted a session, Chelsea Clinton hosted four amazing women exploring The Power of She and role women need to claim and be given in designing for communities’ development in light of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women. To build a better post COVID-19 future, we cannot simply return to the world as it were. We must lend our voices to the injustice against women, crushing the barricades that hold women back. This year's IWD is a strong wake-up call for gender equity. It is time to harness women's leadership power to achieve a more equal, all-encompassing, and sustainable future.
TrustAfrica is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Prof. Amadou Mahtar Mbow starting in March 2021. The celebration, which will be held in partnership with the members of the African political class and intellectual community as well as the good people of Senegal, will involve a series of debates and roundtables. There will also be an exhibition in honour of the great PanAfricanist, former Minister of Senegal, former Director-General of UNESCO. Read more here about this respectable elder statesman with immense goodwill and outstanding reputation in the global community.
Period: April 2021 – September 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the globe with the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring it a global pandemic in March 2020. The first case was recorded in Africa in Egypt on 14 February 2020, and the number of cases across Africa has since reached 3, 914, 044 with 104, 382 deaths as at 3 March 2020. Following recommendations by local health experts and the WHO, at least 42 African governments have implemented partial or full lockdown measures and movement restrictions to contain the spread of the disease. In responding to the pandemic, most African governments have relied on a securitised approach with enforcement of lockdown measures by the security forces and checkpoints erected across countries and closure of borders. There have been outcries about security sector excesses and human rights violations in countries that include Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe during implementation of public health emergency measures or lockdowns or curfews. By June 2020, 11 people had been killed and 230,000 arrested in South Africa during implementation of lockdown measures. Over 21 people were killed by police in Kenya over the COVID 19 related lockdowns in the same period. In Zimbabwe, over 400,000 people had been arrested by mid-February 2021 over flouting lockdown measures in addition to a rise in political repression.
La mobilisation des femmes en Afrique remonte déjà à leur contestation de l’ordre colonial. Si on a pu observer l’émergence et le développement de créations de mouvements des femmes en Afrique après les indépendances, ils ont explosé à partir des années 1980-1990 à la faveur d’un vent d’ouverture à la culture des droits de l’homme, de la démocratie et de la paix. Par ailleurs, les crises socio-économiques qu’ont connu les pays de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, renforcées par l’introduction forcée des programmes d’ajustement structurel au milieu des années 80, obligèrent les femmes à sortir de la sphère privée pour investir la sphère publique. La multiplication de ces mouvements féminins a aussi coïncidé avec un contexte mondial favorable aux femmes. La décennie des Nations unies pour la femme (1975-1985) avait déjà ouvert la voie à la légitimation de l’approche sur le genre. Les conférences mondiales des Nations Unies sur les femmes, notamment celles de Nairobi en 1985 et Beijing en 1995 ont permis de faire entendre la voix des mouvements féminins africains sur la scène internationale.
TrustAfrica is excited the be a thought partner and anchoring member of this inaugural event which will profile communities and the solutions they are finding. At TrustAfrica, for over 15 years now, we’ve moved side by side with communities and community leaders, civil society and our continental political architecture working together on the most pressing challenges of our time as a continent. And if COVID-19 has reinforced anything, it is the notion that communities and proximate leaders are the ones who are best equipped to respond to the challenges in their communities. We are proud as an African philanthropic foundation to be able to meet our communities in these responses and amplify their impact with catalytic support and by bringing them into key continental and global fora such as the inaugural World Communities Forum.
Mawuse Hotor (middle) and her parents, Mary Ahotor and Gabriel, cocoa farmers in Ghana
“Engaging with and raising the participation of impacted communities has been a continuous challenge in sustainability initiatives.”
Veronika Ratri, Business Watch Indonesia (BWI)
Solidaridad, Fairfood, TrustAfrica and Business Watch Indonesia (BWI) are excited to launch our new joint programme, RECLAIM SUSTAINABILITY! This five-year programme (2021-2025) will be implemented in strategic partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, within their Policy Framework Strengthening Civil Society. With this programme, we strive to foster genuine and inclusive sustainability in global value chains, where the voices of farmers, miners, workers and citizens are well represented in decision making, and civil society is strengthened.
In recent years, sustainability has become something of a buzzword in international supply chains, the media, and consumer marketing. However, this has not yet created the desired impact, for there can be no genuine sustainability when the people who produce the products consumed by us all continue living in poverty; when natural resources are not managed sustainably, civic space in many countries is limited, and the working conditions of millions of producers are abject. Farmers, miners and workers are key players in tackling major challenges such as poverty and climate change, yet their voices are often unheard. The global COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the situation of millions of people worldwide.
“The pandemic is exaggerating existing inequalities in food supply chains. While we are all highly dependent on smallholder farmers and workers for our food, they find themselves in exceptionally vulnerable positions. We remain optimistic, as we recognise that the world is gaining momentum to actually build up better as we collectively hit rock bottom. With greatly improved awareness for sustainability from everyone involved in global supply chains – consumers, government and private sector – we can make change happen. Our joint programme taps into this momentum using smart innovations, thus heralding an era of truly inclusive supply chains, in which farmers and workers reclaim their rightful voice.”
Sander de Jong, Fairfood
While 2021 may feel like a continuation of 2020, there is something significant about marking the start of a new year. As we get into our programming rhythm in the new year, we would like to reach out to you with an update. A new year brings with it, new possibilities and new trajectories for becoming a healthier, more just and vibrant society. We invite you as partners, friends and communities to be in solidarity with communities who are working tirelessly with hope for justice, participatory democracy, peace and decent living conditions across the continent.
While we have some existential questions requiring urgent action this year, we are also privileged to be working across communities who are responding to the challenges of this time with integrity, vision and passion. And we look forward to sharing some of these stories with you throughout the year.