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From its conception as a Tribunal to its current form as a Community Court, the ECOWAS Court ofJustice (ECCJ) stands as one of the most transformed international courts in terms of functions,structure, and processes
Established under Article 6 and 15 of the Revised Treaty of Economic Community of West African States, (“ECOWAS”); the ECCJ – the sole judicial organ of the community; initially had a very limited mandate to settle disputes arising out of the treaty as they related to states and institutions of the commission. However, the ECCJ has since evolved from an inter-governmental dispute settlement mechanism into a community court with an expanded mandate and jurisdiction including; an Advisory jurisdiction, contentious jurisdiction, and competence in matters of adjudication.
The Kiisi Trust was established in 2009 as part of a United States Federal Court Settlement. The settlement arose out of a lawsuit against the Royal Dutch Shell Company by survivors and family members of the people who were victims of human rights abuses arising out of Shell’s Nigerian Operations in Ogoniland in Rivers state, Nigeria. The Ogoni Plaintiffs included victims of torture and arbitrary detention as well as the survivors of husbands, brothers and fathers who were summarily executed for their role in protesting the cultural and environmental devastation Shell’s operations in Ogoniland.
The settlement is recognised as a victory for human rights and environmental justice in Nigeria and as a pivotal step towards holding corporations accountable for complicity in human rights violations, wherever they may be committed. At the time of the settlement, the Ogoni plaintiffs released a statement urging “our people to cherish and nourish the Kiisi Trust because it should stand as one legacy of the labours of our heroes past.” The word Kiisi means ''progress'' in Ogoni Language.
The Kiisi Trust Fund is managed as a donor advised fund (DAF) by TrustAfrica on behalf of the Kiisi Trust Fund trustees in Nigeria. The Trust Fund is dedicated to the benefit of the Ogoni people in Nigeria and will focus on initiatives for education, health, community development, educational endowments, skills development, agricultural development, women’s programmes, small enterprise support, and adult literacy. The Trust Fund will administer a community-based approach to its work to process, identify and assess potential grantees, develop grant dockets for approval, and conduct monitoring and evaluation on grantees.
TrustAfrica’s philanthropy work seeks to leverage new and traditional forms of African giving to advance economic, political and social justice. Cultivating indigenous philanthropic resources can support and strengthen African agency, shifting the balance of power back towards the continent and reclaiming African ownership of African agendas.
Africa is home to a deeply rooted culture of giving and mutual support. Building knowledge of these traditions is fundamental to enabling African narratives of giving to take an equal space alongside more formalized philanthropic mechanisms. To that end, we produced Giving to Help and Helping to Give: The Context and Politics of African Philanthropy, among other publications.
We have also produced research on philanthropic trends, for example, Africa’s Wealthy Give Back, a report published in concert with UBS on giving by high-net-worth Africans.
The book, Claiming Agency: Reflecting on TrustAfrica’s first decade, independent authors examine the work of TrustAfrica and its partners in an effort to better understand the kind of philanthropy that is not only based in Africa but that prioritises African agency.
TrustAfrica helped establish the African Philanthropy Network (APN) and continues to play a key role as an active member and supporter.
By 2015, lagging economic growth and the collapse of Africa’s major currencies had begun to undermine the ‘Africa rising’ narrative. Add to that the vast toll of the Ebola virus and resurgence of conflict in places like Mali, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Northern Cameroon and Burundi.
But 2015 brought positive news as well. While international experts forecast a renewal of election-related violence in Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria, both presidential elections were conducted in a peaceful manner. And in neighboring Burkina Faso, citizen mobilization brought down strongman Blaise Compaore, ushering in a new era of democratic governance and popular participation.T
On 31 May 2015, TrustAfrica hosted a meeting on the margins of the Dakar Conference on “the Habré trial, Complementarity and Universal Jurisdiction”. Various key civil society actors working in the field of international criminal justice were convened to provide updates on Africa state interactions with the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as to strategize around the African Union (AU)-ICC relationship.