Ebrima Sall, executive director of TrustAfrica, which was instrumental in setting up the African Social Movements Fund, tells Alliance about the background to the fund and its aims
Alliance: How did the fund come about and when did it start?
Ebrima Sall: Discussions began in Harare during the Social Movements Baraza in February 2018 that TrustAfrica convened with Wallace Global Fund and Omidyar Network (now Luminate). The Baraza brought leading social movements from several African countries including South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, DRC, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe. The need to support emerging citizens’ movements, particularly those formed and led by youth, was identified and some of the participants and donors present agreed to set up a joint fund. In May 2019, representatives of three funding organisations (Wallace Global Fund, American Jewish World Service, Open Society Initiative for West Africa), two continental social movements platforms (the Afrikki Platform and Africans Rising) and TrustAfrica held a planning meeting in Dakar.
Over the years, the shrinking of civic space in many countries has made the consolidation and growth of citizens’ movements very difficult.