“As Africans, our giving is not transactional, it’s transformational,” Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) said on Thursday May 11, 2022. This, she said at a roundtable session held on the topic “Engaging Africa’s Philanthropists in Africa’s Development”, one of the high-level panel discussions at the Catalysing Change Week 2022 (CCW2022).
She explained that our African philanthropical belief must be built on our communal ‘Ubuntu spirit’ philosophy where high networth individuals give generously to support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) whose primary focus is to catalyse development.
The session forms part of the programmes outlined to mark the CCW2022. The 5-day event which began on May 9, 2022, is the world’s largest event led by social innovators and entrepreneurs to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and accelerate collaborative systems change to propel development.
Highlighting the key challenges that frustrate the progress of African philanthropic efforts, Afadzinu mentioned that within the current context in African countries, where government is the biggest employer, many high networth individuals that run local businesses often have business dealings with government. They thus do not want to associate themselves with any activities that may turn out to be confrontational to the government of the day as that could pose a risk to their business relationships. They consequently find investing in social welfare issues like education and health much safer, and shy away from matters related to social justice.
She indicated that there were many ways by which this challenge can be tackled. “For example, instead of giving funding to an organisation working on corruption to deal with the corruption project, could they support the institution, strengthen the institution that does this kind of work? … Could we have them do an untied non-earmarked funding?” She quizzed.
Another option is to fund the service charges incurred by these institutions in their work, such as audit charges, legal charges, among others. She explained that: “some of these services are expensive in this space. High networth individuals can support by paying for these directly.”
She further implored NGOs and all civil society organisations (CSOs) to embrace innovation and leverage technology to make funding processes easier.
Other key speakers in the session included Eme Iniekung, Programme Cordinator – Philantropy Circuit, Gima Forje, Chief Executive Officer – TY Danjuma Foundation, Grace Maingi, Executive Director – Kenya Community Development Foundation, Ndifreke Okwuegbunam, Director Programmes and Grants -ACT Foundation.
The session had speakers from philanthropic networks, organisations and individuals shared ideas on how Africans can support the indigenous CSOs and NGOs ecosystem within a robust indigenous framework that allows them to execute their mandates towards socio-economic and political development.