In last year’s editions of our newsletter, we introduced you to our three pillars of work around democracy and governance, equitable development, and African philanthropy. This year, we are looking forward to introducing you to the core strategies we use in delivering our work namely, grantmaking, African knowledge and research generation, capacity strengthening, and movement building.
Since its birth in 2006 TrustAfrica has prioritized movement building as one of its primary strategies. In a sense, you could even say that the story of TrustAfrica emanated from a movement building process. For those who are unfamiliar with our history, TrustAfrica was born out of a movement by eminent African leaders within the Ford Foundation system who invited Ford Foundation to trust Africans to identify the most pressing challenges facing our continent, and to provide significant resources which could be channeled to proximate change agents on the continent. Ford Foundation decided to provide an endowment towards the establishment of an African-led foundation rather than setting up more Ford offices on the continent. This movement of African leaders around the agency of Africans remains at the core of everything we do to promote responsible citizenship and accountable leadership in addressing Africa’s most pressing challenges
Why We Believe in Movement Building
The impact of social organizing is often limited due to groups working in isolation. We believe that lasting change happens when like-minded people come together and work collectively as part of a cohesive movement.
As a Pan-African organization, alive to the history of the solidarity movements that paved the way for liberation, development, and the dignity of the continent, we treasure the importance and privilege of facilitating collaborations that support civil society, social movements, policymakers and donors in working together to solve challenges. The lessons from the most vibrant eras of Pan-Africanism demonstrate how building progressive movements cascades impact and builds consensus far beyond what any one institution or community can achieve.
As our name suggests, we believe profoundly in trusting communities and the agency of communities and the resonance we find with this and movement building, is that it’s a process that vests power in people and communities and situates developmental and transformative processes in the communities seeking the change.
Finally, another facet of movement building that has become important with more complex challenges facing us globally, is the non-linearity of movement building. We see how this allows for emergence to take precedence in the pursuit of transformation, and this again places trust in processes and communities to respond dynamically to any challenge. It’s amazing to see how communities that have built movements around certain issues or processes are able to self-organize more regularly and efficiently to respond to almost anything. This can only strengthen the agency of the continent and support a more propositional posture in development processes by communities across the continent.
How Movement Building Has Advanced Some of the Most Important Priorities in Africa
It has been exciting to see how investing and nurturing this movement building approach has impacted actions and discourse around debilitating Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs). We shared with you in a previous newsletter about our collaborative approach to the Stop the Bleeding Campaign and how this bringing together of like-minded organizations cascaded into like-minded communities and artists across the continent asking multinationals and regional agencies like the AU to Stop the Bleeding from Africa and devise a development financing agenda based on equity and transparency.
There has been a noticeable trend in the resurgence of social movements across the globe. In Africa, where we have a bulging youth population met with inflexible and inadequate governance and economic systems, it’s no surprise that the young people are on the frontlines of driving social change and at the forefront of the rise of social movements. As we partner with and alongside various social movements on the continent, it is clear that facilitating platforms for sustained connections, using the same movement building approach, provides a way to go beyond territorial issues and provide solidarity across boundaries and beyond issues.
Movement building remains a key tenet of how we support citizen-led change that can work with governments and agencies for accountable leadership.
In this edition we profile some of our ongoing processes which are being driven by this movement building approach. Read more inside about the Building and People-Centered Movement against African Debt in which we’re partnering with the Stop the Bleeding Consortium and building off the work of the Jubilee Debt Cancellation campaign from the early 2000s; read about building an African philanthropy movement in West Africa, and finally about read about building a movement around Discrimination based on Work and Descent and Contemporary Slavery.