Reality of Aid Africa Network Meeting

Selection of participants was based on the level of engagement as well as the level of engagement with the Reality of Aid “project” (as managed by AFRODAD) since its inception in Africa:

Malawi Andrew Kumbatira, Malawi Economic Justice Network Tanzania Chamba Kajege Tanzania Coalition on Debt Development Nigeria Leo Atakpu African Network for Environment and Economic Justice Benin Aurélien Atidegla Groupe de Recherche et d’Action pour la Promotion de l’Agriculture et du Développement Uganda Edward Ssenyange Uganda Debt Network Zimbabwe Jennifer Chiriga African Forum and Network on Debt and Development Senegal Malick Sy Forum for African Alternatives South Africa Mandla Mbongeni Hadebe Economic Justice Network of FOCCISA Uganda Patrick Tumwebaze Uganda Debt Network Kenya-based CSOs Wahu Kaara KENDREN Rose Wanjiru Center for Economic Governance and Aids in Africa  (CEGAF) Facilitators: Vitalice Meja Kiama Kaara (Documentor) Observers: Antonio Tujan (Speaker) Reality of Aid Global Chair Josephine Dongail Reality of Aid Global Secretariat Estelita Geronimo Ibon International
The following are the main highlights of the two-day meeting:
  1. Participants discussed the changing global trends and the challenges being presented to the current Reality of Aid-African region. Africa has the most countries with people living in poverty, and therefore its geographical coverage is attracting considerable attention from the rest of the developed world. With the global financial crisis and dwindling aid and increasing debt levels, Africa has its work cut out in terms of addressing these problems.  These trends, the participants agreed, created a demand for a greater participation of civil society organisations to engage in the new phase of development cooperation, and then agreed on the need for a structured engagement with this process for purposes of enhancing their voices in both the regional and the international processes.
  2. The meeting heard the status of the current operations of Reality of Aid in the African region, which indicated that the Reality of Aid African region was treated as a “project” by AFRODAD, and most of the activities were planned and operationalised through internal AFRODAD processes/staff.  The meeting was also informed that AFRODAD had undergone staff changes and was ready to bolster its activities for the “RoA project”.  KENDREN in its contribution to the debate, proposed for the creation of a new and independent secretariat which would enhance and continue AFRODAD’s work and that it was ready to host the new secretariat.
  3. In considering both issues brought to the plenary, the participants were requested to make a decision on which direction the RoA in the Africa region should proceed. AFRODAD informed the meeting that in principle it was not opposed to the creation of a new structure, but that this be done in a gradual process that would include an evaluation of how AFRODAD had conducted RoA’s activities in Africa  for the past 10 years.
  4. In making its decision, the plenary considered AFRODAD’s request for a gradual process as well as the need to move quickly to institute a structure to lead African CSO processes on aid and development cooperation.  The plenary noted that AFRODAD was free to institute its evaluation on how it managed the RoA in Africa, and that its report could feed into the operations of the next structure.  It was therefore decided that  Reality of Aid in Africa be considered an independent Network, instead of being a “Project” in AFRODAD’s processes, and to serve the purpose as those stipulated in RoA’s  goal and objectives.
  5. After the agreement on the creation of a network, participants heard presentations on different forms of structure and proposals/guiding frameworks for the new structure. From the presentations, the following actions were taken:
    • The RoA-Africa network will have its own assembly, a steering committee, and a secretariat.
    • It was agreed that the present participants will become part of the general assembly and this general assembly shall be the ultimate decision-making body.  The present participants to this meeting will be considered the original founders of  the RoA-Africa Network. They include:African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) African Network of Economic and Environment Network (ANEEJ) Economic Justice Network (EJN) Groupe de Recherche et d’Action pour la Promotion de l’Agriculture et du Développement (GRAPAD) Kenya Debt Relief Network  (KENDREN) Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) Forum for African Alternative  (FAA) Center for Economic Governance and Aids in Africa  (CEGAF) Social Development Network (SODNET) Uganda Debt Network (UDN) IBON Africa Tanzania Coalition on Debt and Development (TCDD) IBON International Reality of Aid Global Secretariat
    • The selection of steering committee members will be based on regional representation. For continuity, AFRODAD is elected as chair.  Due to its hosting the RoA-Africa network secretariat, KENDREN is a member of the steering committee.  Other steering committee members are allocated on a regional basis.  Unable to participate in the meeting, Central Africa will have its slot given to African Network on Economic and Environmental Justice (ANEEJ) for an interim period until Central African  membership is identified. Other members of the steering committee include: Economic Justice Network (EJN) for Southern African, GRAPAD for West Africa, and Tanzania Coalition on Debt and Development (TCDD) for East Africa.
    • The steering committee is interim and will run for two years while preparations are underway to formally register and institutionalise the RoA-Africa network.
    • Vitalice Meja is appointed the coordinator of the RoA-Africa network for the interim period to assist with setting up the secretariat and the programmes.
  6. The assembly tasked the steering committee to: a) deliberate and produce the memorandum of understanding with KENDREN, b) produce a draft constitution, and c) to decide on the mode of registration for the network.  The assembly also asked the steering committee and the secretariat to develop a comprehensive work plan and fundraising modalities. There was also a decision that two listserves be created for the steering committee and for all the assembly members for the purpose of communications and for circulation of materials on RoA.A recommendation was made that Central Africa participants to the steering committee should attend the next meeting.  At the same time, it was proposed that the North Africa region be approached for purposes of collaboration and future engagement.
  7. The All-Africa meeting was adjourned at 1PM on the 17th of November, and the newly-formed steering committee held its first meeting right after.Steering Committee Meeting Highlights
  8. The workplan and funding proposal will be prepared by Vitalice and sent to the Steering Committee for review by end of November 2009.
  9. The next steps are:  draft the MOU between KENDREN and the RoA-Africa secretariat, develop its own logo and website for RoA-Africa, AFRODAD to take the lead in drafting a constitution for RoA-Africa,  use listserve to communicate with each other.
  10. Steering Committee meetings will be scheduled twice a year, and this is aside from digital consultations (teleconferences, etc.) with each other.

Summarised  from reports by Meja Vitalice, coordinator, ROA-Africa Network Secretariat

Name Organisation
Jennifer Chiriga AFRODAD
Andrew Kumbatira Malawi Economic justice Network
Edward Ssenyonge Uganda Debt Network
Tumwebaze Patrick Uganda Debt Network
Kiama Kaara IBON Africa
Mandla Hadebe Economic Justice Network
Chamba Kajege TCDD
Antonio Tujan IBON Foundation
Malick Sy Forum for African Alternatives
Wahu Kaara KENDREN
Ayoma Matunga SODNET
Rose Wanjiru CEGAA
Leo Atakpu ANEEJ, Nigeria
Vitalice Meja  
Jo Dongail ROA secretariat

Summarised from reports by Meja Vitalice, coordinator, ROA-Africa Network Secretariat