Africans home & abroad are in a pivotal position to use their cultural heritage and traditional intelligence to package and deliver philanthropy that’s much more effective and efficient for Africa. Luckily, there are different ways to give financial contributions and support within the African culture and tradition, such as Harambees, Tontines, Idir and Susu. As the saying goes, ‘charity starts at home.’
In Kenya, Harambee is community fundraising done through individuals (family & friends) who come together to contribute and raise money to cover daily financial needs for education, health, and so forth. Its modern day version is M-Changa, an online fundraising platform based in Kenya for individuals, organizations, and businesses.
From Mali to Senegal, Tontine is person-person savings circles done through individuals who come together to contribute a fixed amount towards a common goal. Each person involved takes his/her turn collecting the money for an agreed upon time period, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
In Nigeria, Tontine is used to fund business ventures or big projects. The system helps participants overcome difficulties with accessing bank credit as well as helps to avoid paying very high interest rates. Its modern day version is MaTontine, a digital financial platform based in Senegal for clubs, communities, and groups.
In Ethiopia, Idir is group life insurance (for special emergencies) done through relatives and neighbors who come together to contribute funds towards elderly care or funeral expenses.
In Ghana, Susu is communal lending and saving of money done through partners or clubs who come together to contribute cash towards personal expenses or organizational projects. Each person involved collects their fixed portion of money for an agreed upon time period, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Its modern day version is Esusu, a mobile application based in USA for people to create and manage savings clubs between friends and family.
Harambees, Tontines, Idir, Susu, or other forms of group economics have ability to bring positive changes, to empower natives, and to develop long-term solutions for Africa, especially when it comes to African philanthropy. These kinds of financial contributions have a long and strong history of supporting families, relatives, friends, communities, tribes, and organizations in Africa. This same support has yielded positive benefits for individuals, groups, and indigenous institutions for centuries.
There are several ways to do philanthropic charity using African culture and tradition as a proven concept. Moreover, with an affluent population of Africans home & abroad, national and international philanthropy for Africa and by Africa equals more prosperity for this continent. To be continued…
Tony K Ansah, Jr. is a self-published author, a public administrator by profession, and a social entrepreneur based in Rhode Island, U.S.A. He is also the founder and owner of Ansah Africa, a consulting and marketing startup established in 2017.