Black Giving Matters: A conversation on African Diaspora Giving


Zibran Choudhury


What is Diaspora giving? Does it mean different things to different people? What does Black giving mean? What are the forms of Black giving?

Athena Advisors hosted co-hosted event with CivSource-Africa to explore these pressing questions among others with leaders in their field. As a media partner for the event, Alliance magazine captured key insights for our readers.

A few highlights from the event:

Emma Orefuwa
Pan-African Mosquito Control Association Co-Founder and Lead – African Gene Drive for Vector Control Network and Senior Consultant at The Athena Advisors

  • It’s helpful to breakdown the two terms Diaspora and giving. So Diaspora simply means people who are located away from their established or ancestral homeland, and the giving to me is really looking at how Diaspora views their time, talent and treasure to further social causes and well-being of others
  • The Diaspora are often overlooked within philanthropy and they have a lot to give. There are various forms of capital that the Diaspora has but we often focus on remittances, which are really important. But there is financial capital, intellectual capability, there’s political capital cultural and social capital too
  • It’s time to really shine a light on the different ways in which we can engage Diaspora and certainly within the NGOs. There are many opportunities to understand but the Diaspora h ave various forms of giving to share and these need to be capitalised
  • There is a paradigm shift within philanthropy and Diaspora engagement is really evolving and there are trends and patterns I think that organisations that work in the Global south can be to have more impactful change in their countries of operation

Dilys Winkertorn
Philanthropy Advisor & PhD Researcher in African/African Diaspora Philanthropy

  • Remittances last year were at 53 billion and that’s an increase of 5 per cent on the previous year despite a global economic crisis. What that shows is that we are giving, and we are giving in huge numbers. There’s a strong indicator that much more needs to be done to understand that. If we look at African philanthropy itself and difference between the giving of remittances and philanthropic giving – it’s at 7 billion and that we don’t understand
  • There’s a need to do more of it, we need to better understand it, we need to research it. Not evidence it but to research it to see how we can better utilise it and also build a better ecosystem to flourish

Halima Mahomed
Independent Researcher & Consultant – Philanthropy in Africa

  • I think when talk about Black giving and Black Diaspora giving, we have to start with whose narrative of giving decides what it is and isn’t. You’ve been conditioned by a western narrative that has been narrow and exclusionary. It’s really important that we start to assert our own narrative of what Black Giving and Black Diaspora Giving looks like
  • It’s important to recognise there can be multiple narratives, so the organic everyday giving can live side by side, and often does with the structured. The one-to-one giving can coexist with institutional and it’s important to recognise that there needs to be diversity and interwovenness in how we understand African giving and how it’s expressed
  • There are multiple ways to understand Diaspora giving. It’s not just the financial but it’s also everyday acts imbedded in our cultures in our traditions which we don’t think about as philanthropy. When you start to look at the giving behaviour and you start to analyse them from a different perspective, where people are volunteering their time, their effort and multiple other resources for public good, and it’s never called that

Jacqueline Asiimwe
Chief Executive Officer at CivSource Africa

  • Black Giving counts. Often in the world in globalised world that we live, and in the hierarchical world that we live in – Blackness, Black giving, Black anything -really is usually at the bottom of the run, so asking Black giving matters or Black giving counts means that it is something. We’re not comparing how much it is comparing whose is more, every giving counts
  • We need to tell the myriad of stories because I don’t think they’re told enough. It’s not researched enough and so for me this conversation is important to recount those countless stories of Black giving through the ages and generations
  • We need to ask about the structures and the forms where accountability can be done. Yes, there’s the 53 billion but how do we account for the time? The intellect? How do we begin to put value those kinds of giving because they count. How do we account for that energy and effort that is embedded when Black people give both from outside the continent but also within the continent

Watch a recording of the event below:

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