By Tendisai Chigwedere
Being a learning manager at TrustAfrica, I basically get involved in everything we do. One of my latest assignments was to participate in the Stop the Bleeding Campaign Strategic Retreat earlier this month. Six years after launching the STB Consortium members met to take stock of impact, lessons learned and the direction of the campaign going forward. What an exciting process. In our last newsletter we shared about our approach of collaboration for collective impact and cited the STB campaign as a flagship experience of this. In various settings where I represent TrustAfrica I’ve heard the STB campaign referenced as a solid example of collective impact where African-led institutions take the lead on an issue before any funding comes in to shape the narrative from a Pan-African perspective because of an inherent belief in its critical importance to the continent. For us at TrustAfrica, this strategic review retreat was important on multiple levels.
TrustAfrica and their partner Solidaridad West Africa launched the "Reclaim Sustainability! Programme" project on the 30th of July 2021 in Accra, Ghana, to promote inclusive and sustainable supply chains. The theme of the launch was promoting inclusive and sustainable supply chains in Ghana. The launch was a successful event widely reported by various media platforms, including newspapers , television stations, and radio, and was live-streamed on our social media platforms.
While COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the globe, it’s also illuminated some fundamental truths that our societies need to: learn from - embrace - and amplify. The aid narrative around communities on our continent has underestimated and even undermined the inherent capacities of these very same to develop the solutions to the challenges they face. This challenging season we find ourselves in has highlighted the stories of community solutions that have existed for years and often gone unacknowledged.
At TrustAfrica we are privileged to focus on supporting, promoting, and advancing African agency through African actors to respond to the most pressing challenges facing our communities. And for us this has meant solidarity with the communities most affected by these challenges and learning from their paths in responding to these to inform how best we can accompany processes underway. In this sense, we’ve always considered ourselves catalytic partners – from thinking through the big questions with civil society leaders, community leaders, activists, academics, and progressive public sector actors; to channeling catalytic resources to solutions developed by communities affected by issues ranging from illicit financial flows, mining affected communities, participation of smallholder farmers in agricultural policy, pro-democracy social movements and more.
And in all these processes, our definition of catalytic goes beyond simply giving of resources and voice to communities.
Because voice is not something that can be given – it needs space to be heard, and agency needs space to be demonstrated.
Discrimination based on Work, Descent and Slavery has just been reviewed by experts from different countries, at the invitation of TrustAfrica, initiator of a study involving Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. The review on webinar, which took place over a period of two days from 13 to 14 September 2021, was coordinated from TrustAfrica’s headquarters in Dakar. The results of the surveys revealed the persistent presence of slavery-like practices as well as the worst forms of inhuman treatment in all the target countries. From Mauritania to Mali and from Niger to Burkina Faso, communities have been formed for generations on considerations which are discriminatory or dominant relationships based on ancestry.
As a member of TrustAfrica’s Board of Directors, we are pleased to congratulate Dr. Tawanda Mutasah on as his appointment as the new Vice President of Oxfam America’s for Global Partnership and Impact from September 2021. All the team, board and partners of TrustAfrica wish Dr. Mutasah the best of luck in continuing the good work!
If you don’t already know Dr. Mutasah let us share a bit about him and why he has been a vital member of the TrustAfrica board. Tawanda is a lawyer and human rights advocate with over 25 years of experience in international non-profit sector. He was Senior Director for Law and Policy at the Amnesty International Secretariat where he led the organization’s work on climate justice, gender justice, and disability rights. He was also formerly Chair of their Africa Advisory Board, and Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa before taking up the position of Global Director of Programs. He also established the Southern Africa Resource Watch, which researches and advocates on fair economies and protection of human rights in the extractive industries sector.
If you have been in the philanthropy sector for any period of time, then Halima is not a new name. Even for us at TrustAfrica, we are welcoming her back, this time in a new capacity as a senior fellow. Halima Mahomed is a well-known independent researcher and consultant focusing on knowledge building, advocacy and support to strengthen the narratives, practice and impact of philanthropy in Africa. She is an Associate Researcher at CAPSI and serves as a member of the PSJP management team, Alliance Magazine Editorial Board, and ICNL Advisory Council. Halima has worked for and with a range of African and international philanthropic and philanthropy support organizations and written extensively on philanthropy, with a strong focus on linking philanthropy to local agency and power. We’ve worked closely in the past with Halima on some of our work with social movements, which is another critical area of inquiry for Ms. Mahomed. Halima holds a Masters in Development Studies from the University of Witwatersrand. We are delighted to welcome Halima back to the TrustAfrica family!