CALL FOR CONCEPT NOTES: Strengthening Pan-African Citizens’ Voices for Security Sector Accountability (SPaCVOSSA) in Africa During and Post COVID 19

January 24th, 2023

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. 

Across the continent, people arrested under lockdown restrictions included health workers, informal traders and other workers finding it difficult to get transport to go home after work, precisely because of the early start of the curfews. Thus, people had confrontations with the security forces as they were simply trying to go out or return from work and fend for themselves and their families – bringing into question the appropriateness of the security measures taken.   

Many countries declared state of emergencies and suspended parliamentary sittings, thereby leaving the executive with unchecked power. There have often been debates when it came to the need to extend or lift the state of emergency, and in some cases, the executive branch has extended emergency measures against sentiments from citizens and other arms of government raising serious concern particularly with regards to the executive bypassing parliament. Furthermore, academic freedom and media freedom has also been restricted in the name of security. 

These developments have led to accusations that the emergency measures have been used by governments as a cover to lockdown democratic expression using the security forces. Indeed, what began as a public health crisis has in many ways morphed into a human rights crisis in many countries across the continent. 

 Call for Concept Notes:  

Under its Governance Program, TrustAfrica is inviting Concept Notes from potential civil society partners in implementing a project geared towards Strengthening Pan-African Citizens’ Voices for Security Sector Accountability (SPaCVOSSA) in four (4) countries in four (4) Regional Economic Communities (RECs) of the African continent namely Zimbabwe (Southern Africa), Nigeria (West Africa), Democratic Republic of Congo (Central Africa) and Kenya (East Africa).  The project’s goal is to strengthen the voices of African citizens in security sector accountability during and post-COVID 19 with the following specific objectives: 

  1. To provide a platform for the voices of African citizens, civil society and social movements to analytically discuss the impact on communities of policy measures and securitised enforcement regimes to combat COVID-19. 
  2. To produce country-level and pan-African level researched knowledge products to highlight the community impact of securitized policy measures in response to COVID-19. 
  3. To develop a common African position by civil society on responsible conduct of security forces during Covid-19 and make recommendations to shape national and continental policy.  

Applications should be in the form of Brief Concept Note and budget from civic society organisations in any of the four target countries describing how to carry out the following: 

  • Country-Level Citizens Forums to analyse the impact of legal and policy frameworks adopted during COVID 19 from input by experts and citizens’ lived realities in partnership with media houses for wider engagement and leveraging on these reflective conservations reimagine the future and build solidarity and action towards it. 
  • Country-Level Impact Assessment Field Research to ascertain the impact of lockdowns in vulnerable communities and sectors such as informal traders and commuters, including focus group discussions with community representatives 
  • Country-Level Policy Advocacy Campaign by identifying policy sites identification and engagements, sharing recommendations from Citizens Solidarity Forums (CSFs) with stakeholders, including policy makers such as legislature, constitutional commissions and executive through breakfast meetings/ townhalls, and partnering media/artist partnerships for publicity of the recommendations. 

Concept notes should include the following sections: 

  1. Context and Problem Analysis  
  2. Project Goal and Objectives 
  3. Specific Activities 
  4. Partnerships and Stakeholders  
  5. Risks analysis and management 

Eligibility to Apply for TrustAfrica Grants:  

Before beginning the process, applicants should make sure their organizations are eligible to apply for a TrustAfrica grant. 

Pre-selected candidate will be invited to submit a full application using TrustAfrica’s grants portalYou will have the opportunity to create your profile by completing a detailed online form to provide information on your organization’s governance structure and accountability, both financially and operationallyAs part of our due diligence process the documents below will be required: 

  • valid registration certificate  
  • The most recent financial statements, preferably audited 
  • The banking information of the organization for an account in the name of the organization 
  • The IRS form, which is an affidavit containing organizational information 
  • A letter recommendation (first time applicants only), usually from a former donor 
  • The resumes of key staff involved in the project 

What TrustAfrica Does Not Fund 

  • Unsolicited proposals 
  • Grants to individuals 
  • Funds for travel to the United States 
  • Endowment grants 
  • Capital projects, such as purchase or construction of buildings 
  • Partisan politics 
  • Lobbying 
  • For-profit activities or enterprises 

Use of fiscal sponsor: 

In certain circumstances when a prospective grantee fails to meet essential criteria or lacks capacity to manage grant funds, a fiscal agent can be proposed on behalf of the intended candidate. 

Available Funds: US$ 15,000 per country 

Deadline: 19 March 2021 

Project Commencement Date1 April 2021  

How to Apply: To apply please email your concept note to  with the subject: RESPOND TO SSA CALL before end of day 19 March 2020Applicants will be notified of the decision of the review panel by 26 March 2021.  

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