The Harambee~Ubuntu Initiative’s Collaborative Journey Towards Equity and Liberation

July 8, 2024

TrustAfrica and Urgent Action Fund Africa entered into a partnership to advance the following vision: “The creation of an ecosystem of philanthropies grounded in pan-African and feminist values, narratives and principles, with a shared infrastructure and mechanisms that connect and strengthen social movements, activists, and communities by moving money and other resources in service of their efforts to advance justice and equity.”

TrustAfrica being a pan-African foundation committed to strengthening African agency in addressing the continent’s most pressing challenges, and philanthropy organization and UAF-Africa is a feminist Pan-African rapid response Fund committed to transforming power relations through resourcing African feminists and womn’s human rights defenders and their formations. Harambee~Ubuntu is an initiative that connects feminist, womn’s rights, and gender funding with the broader social justice movements.  We see a clear need and demand for an initiative which aims to co-create, deepen and advance inclusive and intersectional philanthropic approaches, systems, and practices in support of African-led efforts advancing justice and liberation of all people of African descent.  There exist contradictions in advancing resource justice within the current resourcing of the institutionalized philanthropic system and acknowledging our limitations in advancing system change from within. 

To achieve the goals, we have created three pillars of work: 1) narratives and principles where we seek to affirm pan-African and feminist ways of being and giving, while also engaging in reparatory justice and moving resources back to Africa, 2) building of an ecosystem and infrastructure including a $25 million endowment to invest and move money differently to social justice and feminist movements and 3) deepen our advocacy and influencing to identify new sources of funding, influencing and resourcing. At a number of convenings we, as African activists and representatives of pan-African and feminist philanthropies, affirmed the importance of defining our philanthropic narratives, i.e. the related stories and worldviews that crystallize our understanding of the diversity and depth of African philanthropies, the roles these play in advancing a more just society, and the systemic transformations required by institutionalized philanthropy in order to achieve a just, people-led transformation agenda. The birthing of the initiative is in response to shifts In the Global Philanthropic sector and is in response to the political moment of a world that is in crisis, and solutions are needed. We believe that it is Important to consider how to resource movements in better and bolder ways in the next ten years. With the mandates of the two institutions we focus on the challenges that face the continent to drive solutions that are developed from our constituencies. 

While TrustAfrica and Urgent Action Fund-Africa are holding and leading this work, it is built on prior efforts in both institutions as well as on the efforts of feminist, community-based, academic, pan-African and movement-based activists and institutions in philanthropy and the broader civic space in Africa. This initiative was borne out of a set of consultative processes and will continue to be developed and advanced through collective discussions and actions. This is a core value of the partnership – The change being demanded can only be advanced through collective action. In Naivasha, the collective seeded the Endowment with a total of US$530,000. Not only did individuals and organisations pledge their support in monetary terms, but also committed their time, talent and treasure to the furtherance of this initiative. We are developing essential tools philanthropic entities can use to shift their policies and practices and hold themselves accountable for change. Building Narrative Power & Principles by undertaking academic and practice based perspectives. Strengthening and Expanding Philanthropic infrastructure and Ecosystems. Advancing Philanthropic Advocacy Rooted in Progressive Constituency-Led Agendas. Socialization of the initiative has led to Champions profiling the solutions we espouse. gender co lab on H~U PAFP. Other equally important activities have been undertaken in the following areas: community-outreach,  narrative building, communication outreach, creating an advocacy agenda beginning with a research component to build our Case for this initiative which is evidence based. To date we have been connecting with like-minded global partners who have described Harambee~Ubuntu as an irresistible proposition.   

Based on ongoing consultations, we have developed a working agenda that will strengthen and shift narratives, policies and practices in crucial funding and influencing spaces to centre pan-African and Feminist philanthropies. A key goal is to seed, co-create, and mobilise resources for a pan-African and feminist endowment fund to support and sustain important African institutions, organisations, and movements. We have Big Ambitions! Our ultimate goal is to raise more than $25,000,000 of new financial resources to be used by and for pan-African feminist and social justice movements.  

What lies behind our brand:  ‘Harambee~Ubuntu Pan African and Feminist  Philanthropies’ was chosen as a befitting name that carries the historical, cultural, and political memory and remembrance of Africa’s struggle for liberation and PAPF’s principles of mutuality, generosity, and solidarity, amongst others. Our brand signifies “Harambee” signifies pulling together, collaborating, and collectively working towards a common goal, while “Ubuntu” represents the philosophy of interconnectedness, unity, and shared humanity. This name change affirms the rich history of African giving, which is rooted in solidarity, mutuality, and collective humanity. We believe that we will make a difference because our entire approach – from our governance structure to our grantmaking, to our investments – will be grounded in intersectional pan-African and feminist narratives and principles. We commit to striving to work in ALL African countries and occupied territories, to centering those who are most in need of, but lack access to, resources, to working in multiple languages, and ensuring that our practices center disability inclusion, accessibility, and justice.  We also commit to a distributive approach that will move money quickly and seamlessly in accountable and transparent ways.  

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