TrustAfrica Now
May 2010
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Greetings from Dakar!

In recent weeks, TrustAfrica and its partners have taken some exciting steps to strengthen democratic governance and equitable development throughout the continent. We share some of them with you in this issue of TrustAfrica Now.

Africa for Haiti
TrustAfrica and partners launch US$20 million campaign
Africa for Haiti logo

Inspired by Graça Machel, nearly a dozen civil society organizations have mounted a pan-African response to the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. The aim is to show solidarity with the Haitian people, mobilize financial resources from Africa and beyond, and advocate for long-term reconstruction and development. As a founding partner, TrustAfrica has helped set up a website (, begun receiving online donations, and worked to coordinate the campaign.

Strengthening Advocacy for Agricultural Development
Dakar workshop brings African researchers to the table
Tendai and Natasha

On February 15-16, we brought African researchers together with staff from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to discuss our efforts to build an effective advocacy movement for sustainable and equitable agricultural development in Africa. The researchers are conducting scoping studies in six nations (Ghana, Mali, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi) with a total population of about 160 million. We will then convene dialogues, award grants and provide technical assistance to help civil society groups monitor government commitments under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).

Enhancing Women's Dignity
Advocates from seven nations partner for greater impact
MDG3 convening photo

More than 40 women's rights advocates from seven African countries met March 1-3 in Senegal, to discuss ways to reduce violence against women and increase women's political participation in Africa. The workshop, convened by our "Enhancing Women's Dignity" project, provided an opportunity to review commissioned field studies, devise action plans for pioneering work, and increase impact through regional partnerships and collaboration.

Fostering Dialogue on Higher Education
Carnegie Corporation supports series of regional policy dialogues
Students at University of Legon, Ghana

Our newest line of work, starting this month, focuses on revitalizing the African university system and identifying needed reforms in African higher education. Through a series of regional policy dialogues, the project will seek to initiate a sustained discourse among key stakeholders as well as leverage resources for transforming higher education in Africa. These dialogues will strive to change the tenor of debate, inform opinions, and shape the approaches taken by policy makers, government officials and leaders of higher education institutions. We are seeking candidates for a project coordinator to lead this effort.

Making Markets Work for the Poor
ICBE Research Fund embarks on second phase

We've just launched the second phase of our Investment Climate & Business Environment (ICBE) Research Fund, which seeks to improve the conditions for private sector development in Africa. In the first phase (2006-2009), we provided support to 53 research teams in 16 African countries. The second phase will again fund dozens of research projects, this time zeroing in on how to make markets work for the poor. Why, for example, has equitable development been elusive in Africa? How can the poor become active participants in shaping policies on investment and business development? How can we bridge the gap between faster growth and reduced inequality?

Strengthening Civil Society in Liberia
Salala, Liberia, workshop

Since adding an impact assessment specialist to our team, we have begun working to appraise the performance of our grantees and provide technical assistance to strengthen their own capacity for monitoring and evaluation. We also made several new grants to civil society organizations working to strengthen citizen participation, government accountability, and professionalism in the media in Liberia. View recent photos of our grantees at work here.

Improving Economic Governance
Pretoria convening focuses on peer review of grant proposals

In collaboration with the Institute for Global Dialogue, we recently brought together 10 of our partner organizations for a convening on economic governance in Africa. Held in Pretoria, South Africa, on March 29-30, the gathering provided an opportunity for this community of experts to discuss a scoping study about the field and to strengthen the proposals they have submitted to TrustAfrica through informal peer review. Participants also identified ways to collaborate across thematic and regional areas and kept abreast of developments in other regions.

Staying Focused in a Turbulent Year
Annual report available for download
annual report

Our third annual report looks back over the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009, chronicling the gains we made in the face of a daunting economic climate. The report revisits the six fruitful workshops we convened on issues like HIV/AIDS and African philanthropy as well as the 47 grants, totaling US$1,758,686, that we made to strengthen democratic participation and equitable development on the continent. Our resolute focus on the concerns of African societies kept us on course in a time of widespread turbulence. As the fiscal year drew to a close, and as donors began to regain confidence in their own financial prospects, we were already in a position to grow.

Modeling transparency and accountability
Glass Pockets website showcases our best practices
Find us on Facebook

Earlier this year, the Foundation Center launched a new website—called Glass Pockets—to measure foundations' compliance with best practices for online transparency, accountability, and communications. The site identifies 29 criteria, and so far the best any funder has done is meet 25 of them. We are pleased to report that TrustAfrica is right up there with the industry leaders, scoring 23 out of 29. Not bad for a young foundation, but we won't be content until we achieve all 29.

We're Hiring
Project Coordinator for Policy Dialogue Series on Higher Education

TrustAfrica seeks a dynamic, experienced professional to coordinate our efforts to promote transformation of the higher education sector. This project aims to build an effective platform and network for revitalizing the African university system. It will use policy dialogues to shape opinions and approaches of policy makers, higher education leaders, and government officials.

Blog Manager

TrustAfrica seeks a French-speaking consultant to manage the blog for our MDG3 Project, which seeks to curb gender violence and expand women's political participation in seven Francophone African nations.

Our Team is Growing
Meet our newest trustee, staff and consultants

Aïcha Bah Diallo, a renowned champion of girls' and women's learning, joined our Board of Trustees in January. Ms. Bah Diallo hails from Guinea, where she served as Minister of Education from 1989 to 1996, implementing major reforms that strengthened access to primary education and doubled girls' enrollment. She went on to become a senior education leader and advisor at UNESCO, where she has worked to reduce barriers to education for girls in the world's least developed countries.

Tendai MurisaTendai Murisa joined TrustAfrica in December to lead our Agricultural Development Project. Dr. Murisa holds a B.Sc. in political science and administration from the University of Zimbabwe, a Master's in development studies from Leeds University, and a doctorate in sociology from Rhodes University in South Africa. He brings eight years of experience at the African Institute for Agrarian Studies in Harare, where he developed policy dialogues and training programs aimed at improving pro-poor land and agrarian policies in Africa, and two years at the Poverty Reduction Forum, also in Harare.

Harris Ayuk-TakorHarris Ayuk-Takor, who was named Program Associate in February, provides assistance to our program team and serves as interim grants administrator. Mr. Ayuk started working with TrustAfrica as an intern in July 2009, after completing a Bachelor's degree in international studies at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania (USA). As the son of an agricultural economist, he spent his childhood in Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Zimbabwe, and Senegal. He speaks English, French, and Bayangui.

Aloysius Ajab Amin began working with us in March 2010 to help manage the ICBE Research Fund until we hire a full-time project director. Professor Amin has taught economics at the University of Yaoundé II in Cameroon for many years and published widely on human development, poverty and development. Before joining us, he was the deputy director and chief of training at the UN's African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) in Dakar.

Kanio Bai Gbala joined us in February as an impact assessment consultant in Liberia, where he is tasked with evaluating the impact of our civil society initiative on citizen participation in governance and enhancing partners' capacity to assess their own programming. Mr. Gbala has worked on a range of pivotal issues in Liberia, including youth development, women's political participation, transitional justice, security sector reform and poverty reduction. He holds a Bachelor's degree in business administration from Don Bosco Polytechnic (now Stella Maris Polytechnic) in Monrovia and a post-graduate certificate in security sector reform from the University of Bradford (UK). A fellow of the International Journal of Transitional Justice, he is currently pursuing an LLB at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia.

Praveen Prasad, a specialist in conflict/post-conflict program management with field experience in 15 African countries, joined us in March 2010 as a development consultant. Now based in New York, she is working to build a broad constituency for TrustAfrica's individual giving program. Ms. Prasad previously served as the U.S. Director for Orphan Support Africa and, while based in Africa, directed programs in Sudan, Darfur, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Chad for Adventist Development and Relief Agency International and other international nonprofit organizations. She holds a Master's degree in international relations and political science from the University of Sydney, Australia, and speaks fluent English, Hindi, Nepalese, and Arabic.

We also bid farewell to two long-time colleagues. Adama Kouyaté, our Finance Manager since November 2006, left in February to complete an executive Ph.D. program at the International School of Management. Fatouma Konaté, our Logistics Officer since 2006, has moved on to pursue other opportunities. We wish them each great success in their new ventures.

Our Web Presence is Growing
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Picasa and YouTube

Social networking sites are a great way to stay in touch with TrustAfrica — and to exchange ideas with others who share an interest in democracy and development in Africa. On Twitter and Facebook, we post short, timely reflections about issues of the day. On Picasa, we showcase photos of our events and the work of our grantees. On YouTube, we present interviews and videos about our work and the challenges facing Africa.

Support our work

Guidestar Exchange Seal
We extend a heartfelt thanks to all who responded to our last appeal for support. Your crucial contributions sustain our work and reduce our reliance on institutional donors.

Contributions to TrustAfrica, a 501(c)(3) organization that has earned the GuideStar Exchange Seal, are tax deductible in the United States to the full extent allowable by law. Please consider making a donation today to qualify for a tax deduction this calendar year.


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TrustAfrica is dedicated to securing the conditions for democratic governance and equitable development in Africa, and we can't do it without people like you. We hope you'll visit our website and blog often, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, read about our workshops and grant making, and join our $100 per year campaign.


Akwasi Aidoo
Executive Director, TrustAfrica

phone: +221.33.869.46.86
fax: +221.33.824.15.67