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From December 2019, the COVID-19 Pandemic caused significant disruption across the globe, accelerating change and complexity, which affected all areas of life. A widespread perception in the past six months from CSOs indicates that Donor support has become fleeting; affecting the implementation of programs in the development sector. In Africa, there are no countries prioritising emergency packages for civil society, let alone advocacy initiatives.
Several broad-based studies have explored the impact of the Pandemic on funding with similar findings. In June 2020, evidence from a global survey conducted by CIVICUS in 50 countries revealed that 89% of respondents funding was impacted negatively by the Pandemic. Of these, 40% expected to close down or stop activities. Epic Africa’s Survey to 1,015 CSO’s in Africa conducted between April and May 2020 echo’s these findings revealing that 55.69% had already experienced a loss of funding, while 66.46% expected to lose funding in the next 3-6 months. 49% of the respondents had introduced measures to reduce costs because of the loss of funding, or the uncertainty about future funding. Both studies also spoke to the reduction of flexible financing and the need to support grassroots organisations. These studies provide a sense check of the overall situation.
As a contribution to this critical area of study, the Advocacy Accelerator (AA) reached out to advocacy stakeholders consisting of Advocates, Technical Assistance Providers and Donors (ATADs) in 29 Anglophone and Francophone African countries and inquired on the impact of COVID 19 on the practice of Advocacy. 85.6% of the respondents shared that funding had reduced significantly, and 69.5% reported a redirection of funding to support COVID-19 activities. In contrast, 4.5% experienced an increase in advocacy funding to support advocacy issues related to COVID-19. This being the first research done within the sector begs for more conversation on what it means for the future of Advocacy in Africa.
In light of the crisis facing the advocacy sector, we are organising a Webinar Series coined “Advocacy Conversations in Africa“. Our first segment is on “Funding and Advocacy” In which a three-part series will explore different aspects of Financing and Advocacy in the continent. Our first conversation titled “COVID 19 and Funding for Advocacy in Africa: Realities, Challenges, Innovations and Opportunities” revealed stark realities, including the projected closure of organizations practicing Advocacy. We want to continue the conversation in our second webinar in the series titled ‘Building Resilience in Advocacy: Exploring Philanthropy in Africa as an alternative Funding Base.‘ The aim is to gain further insights into:
- The future trends of the financing for Advocacy in Africa in a world with COVID 19.
- Sustainable Afrocentric funding options for the continued practice of Advocacy.
- Philanthropy in Africa and its dynamics within the Advocacy space.
Prof Bhekinkosi Moyo is a writer, researcher and thought-leader who has championed the African discourse on philanthropy, contributed to the growth of many African civil society formations and has taken part in most of the continental processes of development and governance. He has gained considerable experience in management, leadership and strategic roles over a significant period.
Ndifreke Okwuegbunam is the Director of Programs and Grants at Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation. She is a seasoned development expert with over 15 years’ experience in the social sector with strengths in Entrepreneurship and Leadership development as well as in Health interventions.
Ndifreke is an Acumen fellow and a member of the Institute of Management Consultants and a certified consultant providing support to non-profits organisations on organisational development, non-profit Leadership, operational effectiveness of non-profits, governance and succession planning. She is also an associate member of WIMBIZ. She has undergone executive education on non- profit leadership and organisational effectiveness training from Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) Chicago.
Ndifreke is passionate about the sustainability of NGOs, which has driven her to provide support to start-up NGOs and social enterprises to build a strong business model that will ensure the long term sustainability of these organisation as well as long term impact for the community.
Janet Mawiyoo is the Executive Director of the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF), the first community foundation in East and Central Africa. She has over 30-yrs experience in the global non-profit sector. She is an expert in building development and philanthropic institutions, and is specialised in programmes that focus on governance, organisational development, resource mobilisation and asset development. She has been involved in many diverse programmes targeting marginalised communities in Africa, and also invests significant time working with high-net-worth families, corporates and other development actors, on impactful philanthropic giving.
At KCDF, Janet has she has provided outstanding leadership in growing a recognised indigenous foundation that promotes community driven development also been instrumental in spearheading the process of structuring relevant sustainability vehicles for the growth of assets for the long term funding of the foundations work, hence offering a great example for many development organisations in the south to emulate.
She holds a Masters’ Degree in Development Administration and Management from the University of Manchester, and a Diploma in Organisation Development Consultancy from the Swiss Association of Applied Psychology. She has served in various boards of philanthropic organisations in Kenya and internationally, and has received various awards for her leadership in the philanthropic development sector.
Briggs Bomba is the Programs Director for TrustAfrica, a pan-African foundation that works across Africa to promote democratic governance and equitable development.
As part of the senior management team for TrustAfrica, Briggs provides strategic leadership to the programs team and oversees a diverse portfolio of programs and initiatives spanning several African countries that deal with a wide array of themes encompassing – Natural Resource Governance and Economic Transformation; Taxation and Illicit Financial Flows; Climate Justice and Food Sovereignty; Citizenship, Rights and Civic Engagement; Gender and Women’s Rights; Youth, Education and the Future of Work; as well as African Philanthropy.
Briggs Bomba holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Applied and Social Economics from Wright State University (Ohio, USA). His analysis and commentary has appeared on CNN, BBC, WorldFocus, AllAfrica, Alliance Magazine, Foreign Policy in Focus, Pambazuka News, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Al-Jazeera as well as Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Keeping Hope Alive show among other platforms.