ISTR 2017 ends with a call on Africans to cultivate philanthropic culture to solve its own problems

ISTR 2017 ends with a call on Africans to cultivate philanthropic culture to solve its own problems
As international aids and foreign donations for Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) shrink, threatening its sustainability, the need for Africans to take control of their own affairs by mobilizing the needed resources for its development is eminent now more than ever.

For the past three days, civil society actors and stakeholders convened in Accra, primarily to discuss how to promote African philanthropic culture, mobilizing African giving to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), giving in Africa and innovating sources of funding among others.

In his presentation, Dr Bhekinkosi Moyo, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Africa Trust cited import and tourism levies, international financial transaction levy(remittances) and fund raising as among innovative ways that Africans can adopt to mobilize funds to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

“Civil society organisations need to be proactive, we need to go to the corporates for funding,” Rikke Sig Hansen, Coordinator, CSO Platforms on SDGs, Ghana said, adding, “giving is not only about giving money, giving can also be in a form of reaching out to an artiste to produce a song for a project.”

Sharing a story on how members on her platform willingly contributes towards their programmes, she noted that, “for all of us to be able to achieve the SDGs, we need to all be willing to contribute, we need to change the mindset and civil society actors need to understand and see the value of reaching out to philanthropists, corporates or individuals.”

Ms Pearl Darko, the National Coordinator, SDG Philanthropy Platform, Ghana advocated for the government to create an enabling environment for a more systematic, structured giving/ philanthropy.

“The government has to understand what philanthropy is about. Philanthropy has to have its rightful place at the development table,” she averred.

Ms Darko further pointed out that whether it’s individual, foundation or corporate philanthropy, these are the actors that can help the government achieve its national priorities.

Civil society actors and researchers discussed these at the just ended 4th ISTR Africa Regional Network Conference.

The conference according to the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), was organized in partnership with the University of Ghana Business School and ISTR for the exchange of research findings and practical experiences between academic researchers, civil society activists and development practitioners.

The conference also includes a PHD workshop targeted at Doctoral students and civil society researchers.
The conference was under the theme, “Civil Society and Philanthropy in Africa; Contexts, Contradictions.”

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng