TrustAfrica was launched in June with a $30 million commitment from the Ford Foundation. Its mission: to seek African solutions to African development challenges. Half of this commitment is earmarked for an endowment and TrustAfrica has already begun diversifying its resources with a $1 million grant from the International Development Research Center.
Two hundred individual donors, many of them Africans living on the continent or among the African diaspora, have made contributions, reflecting a genuine sense of ownership of an institution that is run by and for Africans. The new fund will convene innovative African leaders from a number of disciplines to identify new approaches to the violence, discrimination and economic isolation that affect many African nations. Planning is under way for three workshops and a new round of funding. The first workshop, in September, will look at ways to build sustainable peace. The second, near the end of the year, will explore issues of religious pluralism. The third, in January, will focus on opportunities to advance regional integration.
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African Women’s Development Fund receives another US$1 million
The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), an Africa-wide grantmaking organization for women based in Accra, Ghana, has just received a grant of U$1 million from the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF). Based in Harare, Zimbabwe, ACBF is an independent development funding institution which was established in 1991 through the collaborative efforts of multilateral institutions, African governments, UNDP, and bilateral donors. Its principal objective is to build and strengthen sustainable indigenous capacity in Africa, through funding partnerships with the public sector and civil society.
The grant to AWDF will be used to scale up their Capacity Building Unit, which was created to support the work of AWDF’s grantee partners across Africa. It will go towards organizing capacity-building workshops, convening grantees for peer learning, documenting learning, and strengthening regional advocacy and networking. AWDF’s Capacity Building Unit was set up in 2003 with a grant from the US-based Mertz Gilmore Fund. AWDF recently received US$1 million from the Nelson Mandela Foundation for their HIV/AIDS Fund for African women. AWDF was established in 2001 and has supported up to 311 women’s groups in 34 African countries.
SSAFN explores closer cooperation between European, US and African funders
For the first time, almost half of the 40 or so participants at the annual meeting (the sixth) of the Sub-Saharan Africa Funders’ Network (SSAFN), which took place in Brussels in May, were from African grantmaking organizations. Appropriately, then, one of the two themes that ran through the day was the emergence of such organizations; the other was the apparently increasing willingness of European and US foundations to explore how to increase support to Africa and to work with African institutions. The meeting produced some important recommendations: that European/North American and African funders should invest in building trust and developing new and imaginative ways to work together; that links between funder networks in North America, Europe and Africa should be strengthened and areas of common interest identified; that the growing knowledge about funding in Africa should be effectively disseminated; and that greater attention and resources should be allocated to empowering and engaging civil society in Africa at all levels, and to building strong, sustainable and accountable African institutions.
The decision was also taken to create a more formal network for Europe and a sister network in Africa to begin to implement some of these recommendations.
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