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.
Firstly, this was the first in-person meeting many of us had participated in since the onset of COVID-19, and it proved critical for these seven institutions to reconnect around the commitment to an issue which has such wide-reaching impact on continental development. The collaboration we discussed in our last issue only becomes tangible when we foster the relationships in the network and invest in trust-building processes. And this was a key part of the strategic retreat, holding authentic and vibrant discussions on where and how we’ve succeeded, where we have potential to grow and how we relate to the broader ecosystem. As our programs Director Briggs Bomba said, “After this meeting, I am ever more convinced now, that despite COVID-19 innovations around virtual engagements, we cannot replace in-person engagement or the level of relationship building that is possible ‘after we leave the zoom room’.”
Secondly, the strategic review retreat shed light on how the STB campaign has evolved from a campaign focused primarily on stemming illicit financial outflows from the continent to a broader agenda redressing the multi-faceted aspects associated with development financing in Africa. Critical issues including debt servicing and privatization; illicit financial flows, extractives, and the green economy; unjust trade relationships, tax evasion and avoidance, and feminist appreciation of development financing all showed up as clear markers of the campaign. The STB Campaign will be sharing more in the months to come about its trajectory in the next five years. As a learning manager, this was the clearest I have heard the issues articulated and felt privileged to hear such impassioned Pan-Africans grappling with the complexities facing the development financing agenda in Africa. And our vested interest and commitment as TrustAfrica to the Stop the Bleeding Campaign was clear and personally, I feel well equipped to link this campaign to all our programming and across all our networks as we continue to work towards the continent’s development.
Watch some of the delegates at the Strategic Review Retreat share their insights and passion for this campaign and for the continent here.