TrustAfrica Now
September 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.

Gathering Evidence about Business and Investment
Pan-African jury evaluates research proposals

Our pan-African jury met on August 23-24 in Dakar to evaluate 81 research proposals submitted to our Investment Climate & Business Environment (ICBE) Research Fund. The fund, which awarded US$2.8 million to 53 research teams in 16 African countries during its first phase, recently entered its second phase with approximately US$1.9 million in additional funding from the International Development Research Centre. As in the past, proposals were screened by peer reviewers before going to the jury. We are now conducting due diligence on each of the winning proposals before announcing them later this year.

Martin HallTogether with CODESRIA and the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning, we also co-hosted a lecture on innovation in Africa by one of the jury members, Prof. Martin Hall, who is vice chancellor of the University of Salford (UK) and former deputy vice chancellor at the University of Cape Town. Photos of the event and the full text of Dr. Hall's lecture is available online.

Building Partnerships for Haiti's Future
TrustAfrica joins delegation to visit Haiti civil society groups
Haiti 2010

TrustAfrica took part in a small delegation to Haiti to explore opportunities to support medium- and long-term reconstruction and development following the January 12 earthquake. As a lead partner of the Africa for Haiti campaign, we sent our New York-based fundraising consultant, Praveen Prasad, a specialist in conflict/post-conflict program management with field experience in 15 African countries. She traveled with Bernard Likalimba of African Monitor and Andries Louw of Global Relief from August 10-22. Together, they met with civil society groups like Emmaus Haiti and Tet Kole Ti Peyizan Ayisyen (Heads Together, Small Peasants of Haiti).

Strengthening African Advocacy on HIV/AIDS
Africa speaks up at Vienna conference
AIDS 2010 Vienna

TrustAfrica provided support for 10 African civil society leaders to attend the XVIII International AIDS Conference, held July 18-23 in Vienna, Austria. The biannual gathering draws tens of thousands of health experts, policy makers and activists, but African participation is often limited. TrustAfrica convened several meetings on HIV/AIDS to shape strategies and messages in advance of the conference. In Vienna, we teamed up with the World AIDS Campaign and the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS to sponsor a side meeting on the African agenda on the eve of the formal conference. Our team also conducted interviews, took photographs, uploaded videos and blogged about the official proceedings and ancillary events. Later this year we will convene a follow-up meeting to evaluate the Vienna conference and develop an action plan for the months and years ahead.

Giving Voice to African Researchers
Fourteen African scholars present at global forum in Turkey
ISTR program cover

More than 600 scholars from around the world met July 7-10 in Istanbul to share ideas and research findings on civil society—yet fewer than 20 were from Africa. The marginalization of African knowledge would have been far worse without our support, which enabled 14 African researchers to attend the conference. Working with the International Society for Third-Sector Research, which convened the biannual gathering, we also hosted a full-day workshop on democratic governance in Africa. A call for contributions drew more than 50 abstracts; 14 of them were accepted, refined and presented in Istanbul. The Journal on Civil Society is interested in publishing some of the papers, and VOLUNTAS is considering a special issue on Africa featuring others we supported.

Colleague Wins Sembene Ousmane Prize in Zanzibar
Documentary opens a window on life in Zimbabwe

"Shungu: The Resilience of a People" won the Sembene Ousmane Prize in July at the Zanzibar International Film Festival in Tanzania. The prize is awarded annually to a film that seeks to "inform, educate, entertain and importantly, to motivate and stimulate audiences to take action. Directed by Saki Mafundikwa, our design consultant, "Shungu" documents strategies that ordinary people use to survive in Zimbabwe today. TrustAfrica provided a grant to cover some of the production costs. 'Shungu' has also been shown in Greece, Iceland, Jamaica, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. Its next stop is the BFI London Film Festival in October.

Engaging European Foundations
A busy week in Brussels
European Foundation Centre logo

TrustAfrica's leadership traveled to Belgium in May for our semi-annual board meeting followed by Europe's first-ever "Foundation Week," a five-day gathering of 500 leading figures from philanthropic organizations, policy-making bodies, NGOs and other stakeholders. Held May 31-June 4 in Brussels, the event was organized by the European Foundation Centre and featured debates, exhibits and an interactive fair. Two members of our senior staff, Akwasi Aidoo and Bhekinkosi Moyo, blogged about the proceedings for Alliance Magazine.

Enhancing Women's Dignity
Training workshop held in Senegal
Saly convening

Civil society leaders from six African nations—Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Mali, Niger and Senegal—attended our recent workshop on communication and advocacy. Held May 31-June 2 in Saly, Senegal, the event was part of our MDG3 Project, which seeks to curb gender violence and increase women's political participation. The workshop helped identify tools, lessons and exercises for strengthening women's advocacy—all of which are being compiled into a training manual to help participants build their capacity and sharing their learning with others.

Recent grants awarded to 20 women's organizations

The MDG3 Project has awarded nearly $200,000 in grants this year to 20 organizations in seven Francophone countries. News about the project, as well as related information about women's rights and empowerment in Francophone Africa, can be found on our MDG3 blog (French only).

Online giving tool raises funds for Congolese women

This month we are sponsoring a fundraising project for one of our MDG3 grantees through GlobalGiving, an online fundraising platform. We nominated a project by HEAL Africa, which provides comprehensive care for survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Your gift of just $10 will enable one survivor to spend a month at one of HEAL Africa's 28 community houses, which provide food, shelter, counseling, economic assistance and cultural activities that help women begin to heal their bodies, minds and souls. A contribution of $100 will cover the costs for 10 women. Give today and help HEAL Africa win a $3,000 bonus through GlobalGiving's September Challenge.

Addressing the Council on Foundations
TrustAfrica tapped for major address
Council on Foundations logo

Akwasi Aidoo, TrustAfrica's executive director, delivered the prestigious Van Leer Lecture at the Council on Foundations' 2010 annual conference, which was held in late April in Denver, Colorado. The speech is given annually to highlight thoughtful international perspectives on philanthropy. Previous lecturers were Dr. Shimshon Zelniker of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute (2006); Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health (2007); Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran (2008); and Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch (2009). As this year's lecturer, Dr. Aidoo spoke about "Social Justice and Philanthropy in Africa: Transforming Power Relations and the Balance of Stories."

Transforming Higher Education in Africa
Policy dialogue series begins in September

The graduate and post-graduate reading room at University of IbadanOur series of policy dialogues on African higher education begins September 25-28 in Gaborone, Botswana, where participants from across the continent will review our recent scoping study and discuss ways to advocate for more appropriate models of university funding, access, research and governance. The event kicks off a three-year initiative to broaden the discourse about the role of higher education in Africa and identify the best ways to fulfill its potential. Initially, this work will focus on four countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. The initiative will look for ways to generate sustained dialogue, evidence-based policy proposals, innovative pilot projects, and concerted advocacy at the national and regional levels.

Developing a Shared Voice for African Philanthropy
African grantmakers to gather for Nairobi assembly
AGN logo

The first pan-African assembly of African grantmaking organizations will convene November 3-5 in Nairobi, drawing an estimated 250 participants from across the continent. Hosted by the African Grantmakers Network (AGN), the gathering aims to develop a consolidated voice for African philanthropy and present some of the products and services that AGN provides to help members and partners with institutional development and advocacy. The network, launched in July 2009, grew out of a series of conversations among the African Women's Development Fund, the Kenya Community Development Foundation, and TrustAfrica, which currently hosts the AGN Secretariat.

Investing in our Local Community
Purchase of nearby apartment will help us accommodate guests

In July we completed the purchase of a three-bedroom apartment in Dakar's Sacré Coeur 3 neighborhood, just a five-minute walk from our headquarters. The apartment will serve as an income-generating investment as well as a hospitality base for some of our numerous visitors. It was bought with a portion of the cash reserves that we have prudently built up over the years through various sources of unrestricted funding and income.

Our Team is Growing
Meet our newest staff members and consultants
Adwoa Agyeman

Adwoa Agyeman joined us on June 1 as a Grants Administrator. She previously spent three years at the Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids in Washington, DC, as the International Grants Administrator, and five years with the Moriah Fund, also in Washington. Ms. Agyeman holds a Bachelor's degree in government and international relations from Smith College and also studied at Mount Allison University (New Brunswick, Canada). An American citizen of Ghanaian parentage, she was raised in Papua New Guinea.

Akonefa A. AtiaseAkonefa A. Atiase joined us as an Administrative Assistant for our Operations team on June 7. She was previously an accountant/administrative assistant at the Swedish Embassy in Dakar. Ms. Atiase has a certificate in accounting from Suffolk University in Dakar, a diploma in computer science from the National Institute of Information Technology in Accra, and a Certificat d'aptitude Professionnel in accounting and secretarial studies from the Institut Supérieur d'Etudes Commerciales PIGIER in Dakar.

Kanio Bai GbalaKanio Bai Gbala, who began working with us as a consultant in February 2010, has joined our staff as a program impact assessment officer in Liberia. Mr. Gbala 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.



Abdul LyEl Haj Abdul Ly, a Senegalese student at Harvard, worked with us from June 1 to August 15 as an intern. He produced a database of African foundations for the African Grantmakers Network as well helped to organize the network's annual meeting, to be held November 3-5 in Nairobi. At Harvard, Mr. Ly serves as social chair of the Black Men's Forum and associate editor of the Harvard International Review.


Pinkie MekgwePinkie Mekgwe began working with us on May 15 as a program consultant for our policy dialogue series on equity and transformation of African higher education. Dr. Mekgwe, a senior lecturer at the University of Botswana, previously worked at CODESRIA and the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER). She will manage the dialogue series while we recruit a full-time program specialist.


Aïssatou SallAïssatou Sall joined us in July as blog manager for our MDG3 Project. Ms. Sall holds an MA in Modern Letters from Gaston Berger University in Saint-Louis, Senegal. She received further training at the Higher Institute of Information Sciences and Communication in Dakar, Maison des femmes de Rimouski in Quebec City (through a Canada World Youth program in journalism and human rights) and Radio Manooré FM in Dakar. Ms. Sall has served as communications officer for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as communication assistant for USAID's Support for Middle Schools Project, and is currently a communications specialist for USAID's Education Priority Quality project. She is active in women's movements in Senegal and volunteers for charities and philanthropies.

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.

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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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On a closing note, the Board of Trustees has generously granted me a three-month sabbatical leave from September 1 to November 30. This comes after four very exciting years of working closely with so many of you to establish TrustAfrica's operations in Senegal, secure the full complement of staff and senior managers, grow and refine our programs, build productive collaborations with like-minded institutions, and place TrustAfrica on a firm financial footing.

I will be using the sabbatical leave to complete some writing, reflect, and recharge my energies. In my absence, Dr. Bhekinkosi (Bheki) Moyo, our director of programs, will serve as the acting executive director. Bheki will work closely with our trustees, staff, grantees and other partners to ensure that TrustAfrica's good work and relationships continue unabated.

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