Despite great strides in advancement, Africa is facing problems – especially around the fair distribution of natural resources – that need to be dealt with swiftly.
By BHEKINKOSI MOYO
Africa exudes a certain optimism about its future these days. ‘Africa is rising’ is today’s cliche, coined by the same Economist magazine that once declared Africa ‘dark’. But this goes beyond that magazine’s take on matters – you have to be here to experience the excitement. Leading economists on the continent and beyond are throwing around all sorts of positive projections – some as far as 2060. A number of factors, they say, will lead to Africa becoming a lot wealthier by 2050.
Facoumba is a highly motivated development professional who has been living out her desire to be a changemaker at TrustAfrica since 2011. Facoumba’s experience and skills have been built through years of working with a variety of civil society organizations across Africa. Facoumba joined TrustAfrica in February 2011 as a Program Associate for the Investment Climate and Business Environment (ICBE) Research Fund, a joint initiative with IDRC that contributed to improve Africa’s business environments. In early 2015 she assisted with the Higher Education Summit and on 1 April 2015 joined the Grants Unit as Grants Associate. From 2018 she has served as Grants Officer after leading the implementation of FLUXX as TrustAfrica’s web-based grants management system.
Prior to joining TrustAfrica, she worked as a Research Assistant for Emergence Consulting Group, a Senegalese firm specializing in development strategies. Keenly interested in the field of innovation she also served as a volunteer with USAID-supported activities of the Digital Freedom Initiative (DFI), a U.S. Presidential program piloted in Senegal, in promoting economic growth for entrepreneurs and small businesses through ICTs. Facoumba also provided project support for OSIWA E-Riders initiative by supporting the deployment of open-source software to encourage the growth of civil society networks.
She holds a Bachelors degree in Economic Analysis and Policy, and a Masters in Development Practice (MDP) as well as other certificates in business development and the economics of knowledge and innovation.
Voice of Nigeria
Academic intellectuals from across West Africa have raised concerns about the decay of education system in Africa.
The Nigerian Association for the Progress and Defense of Women's Rights is an NGO based in Niger that works to promote women's rights throughout the country. Between 2010 and 2011, TrustAfrica, through it's "Enhancing Women's Dignity" project, gave grants to ANPDDF to finance trainings that would improve the participation of women in elections, increase their leadership capacity and provide them with the necessary legal documents to be able to vote in the 2015 elections. Click here to find out how well they did.
|Name of Grant||Amount of Grant||Country||Date Given||Description|
|GADY GIE and Defar Yaraax||$25,000||Senegal||5/1/12 - 3 years||The first grant from our new Neighborhood Support Program, for a women’s group that processes, packages and sells local cereals.|
|WANEP West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (Liberia Chapter)||$67,685||Liberia||5/1/12 - 1 year||A one-year bridge grant to consolidate the gains achieved by the establishment of various early warning and response mechanisms to minimize risk of violent conflicts.|
|Contemporary Affairs Foundation||$12,000||Zimbabwe||12/15/11 - 6 months||In an effort to develop the capacity of young African leaders, grant will support participation in Pan African Universities Debating Championships and Stetson Annual Environmental Moot Court Competition.|
|Zimbabwe Labour Center||$10,000||Zimbabwe||8/1/12 - 6 months||Street vendors in Zimbabwe face difficult obstacles. This grant will carry out advocacy and support work in promotion of street vendors.|
|Centre Mauritanien d'Analyse des Politiques (CMAP)||$70,000||Mauritania and Senegal||8/1/12 - 11 months||Determinants of Youth Entrepreneurship in the Sahel: The Case of Mauritania and Senegal.|
|Centre Universitaire de Recherche pour le Développement Economique et Social (CURDES)||$40,675||Burundi||8/1/2012 - 6/30/13 - 11 months||An analysis of the Contribution of Microfinance Institutions to SME Finance and the Empowerment of Women in Burundi.|
The toolkit was created to provide clear and concise information that can be used to positively shape young peoples' perception of local governance and other governance stakeholders' perceptions of youth. Knowledge provided through the toolkit is intended to also boost young people's awareness and sharpen their day-to-day decision making skills as participants in local administration and the country's efforts to decentralize government. Preparation of the toolkit included governance forums; media awareness programs to sensitize the local public about the toolkit, youth and governance issues; focus group discussions and validation sessions.
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Each year Africa loses more than $50 billion through illicit financial flows (IFFs), a number that increases by 20% annually. Notably, some 60% derives from the activities of large commercial companies. But while every major development strategy highlights this outflow as an obstacle to inclusive development – from Agenda 2063 and Finance for Development to the Sustainable Development Goals – a gap remains between rhetoric and action. It is thus critical to strengthen civil society voices to pressure leaders into adopting and implementing the necessary policies.
To this end, TrustAfrica, together with a coalition of five other pan-African civil society organizations, launched a popular campaign to end illicit financial flows from Africa called #stopthebleeding in July 2015 in Nairobi. The campaign has since been launched in southern and western Africa and by national partners in Togo, Zambia and Nigeria. During a solidarity conference in Washington, DC, the campaign was endorsed by groups including AFL-CIO, Jubilee USA, US-Africa Network and the FACT Coalition. A campaign song recorded by musical artists Livesoul, Synik, and Pauline & The Kids won the 2016 Honesty Oscar Awards for Best Song (Activist Anthem).
We have organized several consultations with our partners – Third World Network-Africa, Tax Justice Network-Africa, FEMENT and AFRODAD – and have brought together researchers, scholars and civil society to deepen the research capabilities of African institutions and to fuel more effective advocacy. We also commission – and help promote – in-depth research on IFFs in mining, agriculture and wildlife and tourism sectors.
Current work and future plans include:
- Harnessing technology for more efficient information sharing among our partners and in mobilizing the wider public;
- Conduct country and company level research that will help mobilize people with relevant local information as opposed to aggregate continental figures;
- Publishing a compendium on IFFs in 17 countries; and
- Developing a signature annual report on IFFs from Africa to serve as a resource for civil society and policymakers.
African children often leave formal schooling without adequate literacy and numeracy skills, an early learning deficit that makes them inadequately prepared to succeed in a globalized workforce.
Our Early Learning Innovation Fund, a partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, has developed scalable and cost-effective models in Uganda, Kenya, and Senegal.
These innovative models, located both in and outside of schools, include preschool reading acquisition, school management improvements, reading clubs, tutoring and community involvement. Some utilize children’s first languages to boost their ability to acquire skills in a second language they may encounter at school.
The fund is recognized for its production of reading materials for children, most of which are in local languages, and for the establishment of an early learning community of practice that is not just limited to our grantees. Another tangible outcome is a local library established by one of our partners in Kenya which enjoys great support from the community. Case studies are available here.
A recent evaluation of this work found that pilot innovations improved children’s literacy and numeracy competencies in a range of contexts in the three project countries. It made special note of our capacity-building services, which were tailored to specific needs of each grantee. It also recommended efforts to build lasting civil society networks on the continent and enable grantees to become significant education players. This work is underway. We are providing assistance to the most successful of these innovations, including tailored monitoring and evaluation, with the aim of scaling up their initiatives in order to reach more communities with early learning opportunities. Also, each partner is working on a theory of change, with a set of monitoring tools that will determine the path of the projects and can also be used for advocacy.
Our work with LCDU in Uganda has led to improvements in teacher training, the production of more local resourced materials for teachers, and they are now starting an “at home” intervention, which will include parents, and community volunteers working with children. Similarly, the Madrasa Early Childhood Program in Kenya has been approved by the government to be a teacher training center and its curriculum also approved, to be integrated into public school and be used as the curriculum of choice. The organization is now expanding into public schools, instead of just creating its own community schools and working in Muslim communities.
Thanks to the work of our partner ARED, Senegal will soon have its first complete pilot of bilingual education in primary school. The government is supporting the work of this partner.
In partnership with the International Development Research Centre, TrustAfrica operates a special fund to promote enterprise and livelihoods in Africa through research and advocacy. Known as the Investment Climate & Business Environment (ICBE) Research Fund, in its first phase it awarded roughly US$1,481,000 in research grants. In 2010 we lauched the second phase, which provided an additional US$2.5 million for cutting-edge research over a three-year period. We are intent on building knowledge about investment policies and business practices that accelerate human development and fuel broadly shared prosperity.
The fund has generated research and knowledge that has influenced policy on enterprise development (especially SMEs) in many countries in Africa. It has also built a solid foundation of partnerships and enhanced the capacity of groups undertaking this work. For more about the fund’s accomplishments, click here.
Over the past two decades, Africa has achieved remarkable economic growth, outpacing most other regions in the world. Yet the benefits of greater investment and higher returns have been heavily concentrated among small segments of the population. Africa’s future hinges on its ability to develop markets that benefit the whole of society. Disparities from policies that hinder the majority of the continent’s people and businesses, especially small and medium-scale enterprises, keep them at a great disadvantage.
Featured at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative, the ICBE Research Fund uses competitive research grant mechanisms, training workshops and partnerships between business schools and private-sector organizations to contribute to a better investment climate and business environment in Africa. The Fund operates in English and French and includes all regions of the African continent.
Our first two calls for proposals, issued in June 2006 and August 2007, drew 306 submissions from universities, business schools and independent research consultants in 33 African countries. For each round of funding, we engaged peer reviewers to grade the proposals and convened a pan-African jury to select the winners. In all, we awarded 31 small grants of up to $10,000 each, 20 intermediate grants of up to $50,000 each and three large grants of up to $100,000 each.
Our second phase drew fewer submissions (243 submissions after two calls for proposals) but our reach was far greater, attracting responses from 47 African countries. This time, we awarded 21 small grants of up to $10,000 each, 27 intermediate grants of up to $50,000 each and ten large grants of up to $100,000. This time, we added a round of funding and selected some applicants from underrepresented countries whose proposals were initially rejected. After training them on how to write good proposals, a team of experts reviewed the revised proposals and awarded grants accordingly, in an attempt to increase the reach of the ICBE program.
TrustAfrica believes in the importance of promoting the rights of women and girls across the continent. From access to land and credit, to political participation and leadership and equal opportunities in education, women are disadvantaged from participating in opportunities to improve their lives at the same level as men. To address these and other deficiencies, our programs strive to use a gender lens to consider issues within a gender context and ensure that we maintain a gender aware approach throughout their implementation. Additionally, TrustAfrica as an organization works to ensure that there is equal opportunity and representation throughout its own staff and Board.
Most recently, through the generous support of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we implemented a program that focused on the third Millennium Development Goal, which calls on member states to promote gender equality and empower women. Entitled “Enhancing Women’s Dignity,” the project worked to curb gender violence and promote women’s political participation. You can learn more about the “Enhancing Women’s Dignity Project” under the projects category below.