At TrustAfrica, we are aware of the fact that discrimination based on work and descent (DWD) is estimated to affect over 260 million people worldwide, in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and North America. In West African countries such as Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, this type of discrimination affects communities of ethnic minorities who are considered to be descendants of slaves. To address this issue TrustAfrica, in line with its strategic plan, in collaboration with other development organizations, met in Dakar in 2019 to address the issue of DWD and slavery and to create The African Network of Communities Discriminated Based on Work and Descent and against Slavery (ANDS). Since its creation, the Network has made significant progress in addressing discrimination in several African countries. The Network has also joined the Global Forum of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (GFDWD) to address the issue globally. “TrustAfrica hosts the Secretariat of the Network at its Headquarters in Dakar”. Organizations that are members of the Network thought it would be good to meet in Dakar to discuss about their strategies.
In line with its strategy to support diverse advocacy movements that are advancing systemic change, TrustAfrica is fully invested in improving the situation of Communities Discriminated Against Based on Work and Descent (DWD). We took the opportunity offered by the Alternative World Water Forum (FAME) held in Dakar from March 21 to March 26 2022 to convene a high-level panel on the theme: “Access to water and sanitation for DWD communities in Africa and beyond”. The event organized by TrustAfrica in collaboration with the African Network on Discrimination based on Work, Descent and Contemporary Slavery (ANDS), provided a moment to reflect on the difficulties of access to water for communities facing Discrimination based on Work and Descent and to share their experiences. The panel was one of the highlights of this Forum, with expert panelists coming from different parts of the world. Moderated by the Historian, and Human Rights advocate, Prof. Penda Mbow, the panel saw the participation of eminent personalities including Dr. Ebrima Sall, Executive Director of TrustAfrica, Ms. Rita Isak Ndiaye, former United Nations Rapporteur on Minorities, Paul Divakar the Director of The Inclusive Project, Ingo Ritz Director of the GCAP and Ms. Raichettou Wallet, Vice-President of the Temedt Association of Mali. Most of the speakers reiterated the difficulties faced by Communities Discriminated against on the Basis of Work and Descent. They emphasized the importance of ensuring that the needs of such communities are addressed urgently while putting in place mechanisms that promote access to water for all, that includes building and help organizing a vibrant movement around the issues faced by DWD communities.
As a side event, a global strategy development meeting was organized including TrustAfrica, the member organizations of the African Network Against Discrimination Based on Work, Descent and Contemporary Slavery (ANDS) and the Global Forum of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent ( GFOD). The goal was to strengthen the global movement by sharpening a new strategy with clear action plan.
TrustAfrica which will continue to host the secretariat of the Network and a steering committee was elected during this strategic meeting.