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Feb 01 2012

TrustAfrica Now - February 2012

TrustAfrica Now
 
February 2012
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Greetings from Dakar!

A new year is upon us and with that, TrustAfrica has big plans! This year promises to hold more convenings, workshops and publications than ever before. In addition, as you'll learn below, we've taken on new projects, feted major dignataries, liased on major political movements and the need to strengthen social justice. We're communicating more, reaching out more and developing more as an organization going into its sixth year. Thank you for being a part of it all and for continuing to join us as we move forward.

TrustAfrica Fosters Innovative Learning Approaches
 
Children's Numeracy and Literacy Skills Focus of New Leaning Innovation Fund

TrustAfrica is the proud recipient of a $1.5 million grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to support a project entitled "The Learning Innovation Fund." The project will provide small grants and technical assistance to local organizations in four countries to improve literacy and numeracy skills for children during their first four years of primary school.

The project will target Senegal and Mali in West Africa and Uganda and Kenya in East Africa. These four countries provide an opportunity to pilot the project in both English and French thus offering a comparative learning opportunity. Additionally, the governments in these countries have demonstrated interest in development policy reform, opening the door to possibilities for future policy advocacy and the potential for scaling up proven innovations.

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.

Advocating for Criminal Justice in Africa
 
Civil Society Convenes to Strengthen Accountability in Justice Institutions
ICC Conference

Civil society organizations (CSOs) from 13 African countries, as well as several international organizations, convened in Nairobi, Kenya on November 15 - 17 for a strategy meeting on advancing international criminal justice in Africa. In light of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) focus on Africa, while ignoring crimes in other parts of the world, refusal to listen to requests to defer cases by the African Union (AU), and other issues, several AU member states have become non-cooperative and have threatened to withdraw from the ICC.

"Advancing International Criminal Justice in Africa: State Responsibility, the ICC, and the AU--Towards an Effective Advocacy Response," hosted by TrustAfrica, the CCP-AU, and the MacArthur Foundation, provided an opportunity for stakeholders, including CSOs, policy experts, scholars, and individual activists, to devise a strategic response to the ICC backlash and help engage funders in collaborative grant-making around these issues.

The convening included a candid appraisal of the historic relationship between the ICC and Africa and purposefully sought to shift the discourse from reactive to proactive, including how to address genuine concerns with the ICC's record in Africa without undermining the progress made so far on the continent.

In his keynote speech to the meeting, Kenyan Chief Justice, the Honorable Dr. Willy Mutunga called on CSOs to not lose sight of the fact that the ICC is a court of last resort, designed to step in where national institutions have failed. He therefore urged participants to work to strengthen institutions of governance on the continent, in particular robust investigatory, prosecutorial and penal institutions to deal with issues of impunity and serious crimes against humanity.

The ICC was represented by the Head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division of the Office of the Prosecutor who gave a comprehensive description of the ICC's mandate, as well as a specific analysis of the current cases pending before the Court.

In keeping with the conference's intention to develop concrete plans for action, participating CSOs identified a range of advocacy and capacity building strategies at the national, continental and international levels. They also highlighted the need to enhance networking to effectively address cross-cutting issues. In addition, working groups were proposed to spearhead specific thematic interventions at various levels.

All in all, the conference was successfully able to focus attention on this critical issue and motivate stakeholders to continue to improve mechanisms to end impunity and seek justice, peace and reconciliation for victims of atrocities.


Bridging the Digital Divide
 
TrustAfrica Donates Equipment to Strengthen ICT in Schools
SENECLIC Donation

On January 17, 2012, as part of its mission, among others, to close the digital divide, TrustAfrica donated used computer equipment, televisions, air conditioners and cooking equipment worth approximately $20,000 to a local NGO, SENECLIC, to be distributed to needy schools. SENECLIC specializes in refurbishing used equipment and training school beneficiaries in repair and maintenance so that the equipment can remain viable.

"We believe that this batch of equipment will contribute to the wellbeing of beneficiaries," said Akwasi Aidoo, Executive Director of TrustAfrica. "An active citizen is an essential element for a prosperous and sustainable society and we hope this donation will help young children to become engaged citizens," he said.

The head of Seneclic, Mr. Ababacar Diop, added that Information and Communication Technology is a powerful tool which he hopes to advance by populating classrooms in Senegal with multimedia. "The main objective of Seneclic is to affect over 8,000 elementary schools in the national territory," he said.

Pictured, left to right, Ababacar Diop, Director of Seneclic and Akwasi Aidoo, Director of TrustAfrica, hold one of the laptop computers that was donated.


Civil Society Strengthens Role in Governance Assessments
 
Conference Emphasizes Local NGOs Involvement in Policy through Fact-Finding Tools

On November 10-12, 2011, TrustAfrica was one of the co-sponsors of the United Nations Development Programme's 3-day workshop in Dakar, Senegal on how civil society can more effectively promote accountability of governments through governance assessments. In its role as both producers and users of governance data, civil society is perfectly positioned to intervene when it comes to public institutions, actors and policies, based on the evidence before it. Governance assessments help identify opportunities and diagnose deficits in governments but there needs to be a better understanding of how to translate this knowledge into practice.

The conference brought together more than 120 civil society practitioners, researchers and development practitioners from more than 30 countries, and representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It was organized by the UNDP Partnerships Bureau/Civil Society Division, the Bureau for Development Policy/Oslo Governance Centre and the Regional Bureau of Africa, with support from the UNDP-France Trust Fund together with four leading partners in the field of civil society and governance: TrustAfrica, CIVICUS, CONGAD and the African Governance Institute.


TrustAfrica Honors Nobel Laureates with Celebration Dinner
 
Liberia Civil Society Initiative Acknowledges President Johnson-Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee
Nobel Laureate Dinner

On December 5, 2011, more than 150 guests entered the doors of City Hall in Monrovia, Liberia to sit down for dinner with two very special guests. President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee joined dignataries, civil society representatives, members of government, friends and family to listen to music, enjoy fine dining, hear speeches and receive good wishes on the eve of their departure to Oslo, Norway to accept their awards. The occasion, organized through the Liberia Civil Society Initiative of TrustAfrica, was an opportunity to bring civil society and the government together and take pride in all the accomplishments Liberia has made since the war ended.

Pictured: TrustAfrica Staff pose for a photo with Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee (center).


SAVE THE DATE!
 
TrustAfrica Hosts Panel Discussion on Gender Financing in NYC

On February 28, 2012, TrustAfrica will host "Financing for Gender Equality: The Role of African Foundations" as a parallel event for the United Nations Commision on the Status of Women meetings held that week. The event will take place from 8:30 to 10:00 AM, at the Church Center, UN, in New York City. It will feature an exciting panel of presenters, including H.E. Ms. Bissi Adeleye-Fayemi, Co-Founder of the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) and First Lady of Ekiti State, Nigeria, Ms. Roselynn Musa, Program Manager, Africa Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), and Dr. Akwasi Aidoo, Executive Director of TrustAfrica. It will be moderated by Ms. Theo Sowa, Interim CEO, African Women's Development Fund. Hope to see you there!


Our Team is Growing
 
Meet our newest staff members
Moustapha and Timing

Moustapha Diop, Finance Associate. Moustapha Diop joined the finance department of TrustAfrica in November, 2011. After various internships in various sectors (public and private), he joined the prestigious firm of Deloitte Touche Tomatsu Limited to serve as a financial auditor for five years where he gained considerable experience in several sectors including the NGO sector. Mr. Diop has a degree in polytechnics and trade in Ivory Coast with a specialization in audit and management control. As for extracurricular activities, Mr. Diop was Chairman of the Leo Club Stella Abidjan.

Timing Lama, Administrative Assistant, Liberia Civil Society Initiative. Timing Lama joined Trust Africa in November, 2011. Previously, she was an Administrative Assistant at AEP Consultants, Inc. a private firm in Monrovia, Liberia. Timing has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Don Bosco polytechnic (Now Stella Maris Polytechnic) in Monrovia and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Liberia Graduate School. She is fluent in English.


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.

Sincerely,


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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