Halima Mahomed's blog

Whose Agenda? Power and Philanthropy in Africa?

By Halima Mahomed and Bhekinkosi Moyo

Courtesy of www.alliancemagazine.org

‘The dilemma of the poor is not about resources. It is about power. If the poor have power, they will leverage the resources needed.’ Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor, University of Witwatersrand

Adam Habib’s remark, made at the 2012 African Grantmakers Network Assembly on The Role of African Philanthropy in Shifting Power from North to South, is a stark reminder to us of the need to change the way we view the relationship between resources and power. In our philanthropy world, too often power is equated with money, and the one who holds the money dictates the agenda. For philanthropic agencies, the dilemma is how to ensure that their resources are not used as tools of power and control.

Click on the attachment to read the full article.

From Flammable Agents to Minesweepers: Accountability of Foundation Roles

We often talk about the roles of foundations: what we can and cannot do, what our boards and donors and other constituencies will react to us doing; what our internal systems and structures and budgets allow us to do… all very real parameters within which we work. We also often talk about the added advantage of foundations and how flexible and agile and innovative we are – in some cases much more so than we think; in others, much less than we would like to believe. But, do we talk enough about what those advantages (relative as they are) translate into in practical terms or, even more so, hold ourselves to account on whether we optimize the roles that these advantages allow us to play in society?

Developing a Collective Framework and Agenda to Advance Social Justice Philanthropy in Africa and the Arab Region

What does it mean to develop a collective framework and agenda for social justice philanthropy in Africa and the Arab region? Where do we even begin? What are the core issues we need to interrogate before we can do so? These and many other questions had been plaguing a number of us interested in this area of work for some time now and last year, the moment seemed to be just right to begin to take some initial steps on this; and so we did what we all do when starting from scratch... hosted a convening!

“Let us not become resolutionaries” warned Akwasi Aidoo of TrustAfrica as we began the discussions; and in trying to live up to this, the 33 participants – bringing in diverse perspectives from across the African continent and the Arab region – had the challenge of both critically examining what this area of work meant in our contexts, for our practice and in line with our own narratives as well as simultaneously identifying the core issues that we needed to collectively engage on at the level of theory, field building and; importantly, in relation to our organizations and our individual practices.

Shifting Currents in African Philanthropy

Reflecting on African philanthropy as a homogeneous topic is like trying to climb more than one mountain at the same time. Impossible. First, the formal philanthropy sector in Africa, though relatively small, is pretty diverse. It’s a landscape of private, corporate and family foundations, public trusts, corporate social investment units, community foundations and intermediary agencies.

Please see the attached article, Shifting Currents in African Philanthropy, care of Alliance Magazine (www.alliancemagazine.org).

Subscribers can now view the full contents of this issue at www.alliancemagazine.org/en/content/march-2013

Reframing African Philanthropy

In the wake of the African Grantmakers Network Assembly, Halima Mohamed, from Trust Africa, takes stock of the state of African philanthropy.

The recent African Grantmakers Network Assembly held in Johannesburg, South Africa, provided a defining opportunity, a space where African philanthropic institutions of many varieties and orientations and African activists, thinkers and leaders, came together to take a strong hard look at how to reframe the conversations around philanthropy and Africa’s development agenda.

You can find the rest of the article from YOUPHIL here.

Giving Charity A Bad Name

‘Oh, that’s not philanthropy… that’s just charity.’

Recently I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard this phrase, or something very similar. At first I was puzzled, then worried. Now, after several local and international meetings where something akin to this has been voiced (and in a manner of disdain), I find myself deeply disturbed. It seems that what was an encompassing (albeit far from perfect) term, used to describe a plethora of different types of giving, is suddenly something we look down upon. When did ‘charity’ become a bad word, I wonder.

Read the rest of this article in Alliance Magazine here.

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