TrustAfrica, a new foundation promising African solutions to African problems, is getting ready for launch. It has recently developed a bilingual website, begun recruiting staff, and leased office space for its headquarters in Dakar, Senegal. An official launch on 6 June will be followed by workshops on sustainable peace and religious pluralism this autumn.
‘TrustAfrica marks a new approach to philanthropy and development in Africa,’ said executive director Akwasi Aidoo. ‘Rather than take our cues from Western donors, we help African institutions work together to set our own priorities and chart our own course for the future.’
Governed solely by Africans, TrustAfrica helps organizations throughout the continent team up to create lasting solutions to the challenges of violence, discrimination and economic isolation. With an annual budget of $4 million, it hosts agenda-setting workshops, makes grants for collaborative projects, and provides technical assistance to strengthen African institutions.
TrustAfrica began in 2001 at the Ford Foundation. Its premise was that Africans need a greater voice among international donors as well as philanthropic resources that they control. During its pilot phase, TrustAfrica held a series of workshops that drew 160 leading figures from across the continent to set priorities and map out strategies for funding. It also made $7 million worth of grants for 24 projects that advanced these aims, including a $200,000 grant to Urgent Action Fund – Africa for its efforts to safeguard human rights.
It has pledged to hold its grantees – and itself – to the highest ethical standards. It promotes sound management, transparent governance, effective communication and sustainable results by making small grants for technical assistance. With the opening of its headquarters in Dakar, it has become a fully independent, and truly African, foundation.