Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The theme this month is philanthropy. At AWDF we think about this topic quite a
lot! Being an organisation that both raises funds and makes grants, we have a multitude
of relationships with private and public philanthropic organisations, with individual
philanthropists, with bi lateral and multi lateral donors, with national and international
civil society organisations.... The list goes on and on. Our role as a philanthropic
organisation that raises funds for giving has allowed us the privilege of viewing
the dynamics of giving and receiving from both sides of the equation - which is
sometimes inspiring and motivating and sometimes depressing and frustrating. One
of the lessons we have learned is how innovative funding partnerships can lead
to real change. However, we have also learned that if we want to continue to respond
to the needs and agendas of African women and African women's organisations in flexible
and timely ways, that we need to increase our own, unrestricted financial resources.
In a time of economic uncertainty across the globe, this means maintaining our traditional
relationships and partnerships, developing new funding partnerships (including with
the private sector), increasing our base of regular, individual donors, both within
and outside of Africa and generally becoming more entrepreneurial in our fund raising.

So this month's newsletter highlights the thoughts of a few people on the topic
of philanthropy in Africa. All three articles are by African women philanthropists.
They may not be high net worth individuals as defined in fundraising circles (in
other words, they are not multi millionaires!), but all three give of their time,
their money and their passion to causes they believe in. The first article is by
AWDF's Finance Manager, Gertrude Bibi Annoh-Quarshie, who writes about the importance
of financial planning for African women - including planning both for saving and
for giving. As a former auditor, her words on planning for giving should carry
weight. The second piece is by one of AWDF's regular individual donors, Yaa Nimako.
Regular (monthly, quarterly or annual) donations are key to the sustainability of
many civil society organisations. We often laud the role of individual donors, but
rarely highlight the individual giving by African women. Yaa is one of the many
African women who give of their time to specific causes, but also donate their
money. AWDF is truly grateful for such support, which becomes ever more important
to our ability to operate flexibly, effectively and independently. Yaa was interviewed
by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, AWDF's Communications Officer, and the person who is responsible
for ensuring that you receive regular updates on the work of AWDF, and the women's
rights organisations we fund. The final article this month is written by Sarah Mukasa,
AWDF's Director of Programmes. She writes about the importance of recognising both
traditional and new forms of philanthropy on the African continent. Sarah's significant
experiences in women's organisations and in the African women's movement have inspired
her drive to ensure that the impressive reality of differing forms of African philanthropy
are recognised and valued. That includes highlighting the current and potential
role of African women philanthropists.

Sarah, Nana and Gertrude are all part of AWDF's workplace giving scheme, as well
as taking part in philanthropic activities in their personal lives. Like Yaa Nimako,
they all 'walk their talk'!

I hope you enjoy reading this edition and we look forward to hearing from you.


Theo Sowa

Interim CEO

Finding the Money to Give

Gertrude Bibi Annoh-Quarshie is AWDF's Finance Manager, and a member of the Senior
Management Team. She is passionate about financial management and believes that
all women should make investing in their financial security a priority. In this
article she writes on the importance of giving and suggests practical ways in which
everyone can be a philanthropist.

As a professional accountant, I have participated in several workshops and seminars
on investments and managing personal finances and the focus of these seminars have
always been on savings with nothing said about giving. Every individual needs to
build personal wealth, but if we look beyond ourselves, we can see that there is
more to attaining personal financial security than just accumulating wealth and
hoarding it...

Continue to read, 'Finding the Money to Give' []

Interview with Yaa Nimako, Philanthropist

Yaa Nimako, Philanthropist

Yaa Nimako is a teacher at the Ghana International School based in Accra, Ghana
and teaches English as a Second Language in the Secondary Section. Amongst her interests
are sewing (she takes great pleasure in making her own clothes) and travel, where
she describes the Soviet Union as her most memorable travel destination. Nana Yaa
Nimako is one of AWDF's individual donors and was interviewed at AWDF House by Nana
Darkoa Sekyiamah, AWDF's Communications Officer.

N.S: How did you first come into contact with the African Women's Development Fund?

Y.N: I initially read about AWDF online. I discovered through the Internet, that
women from other parts of the world are spending their time, money and resources
to help underprivileged women in other parts of the world including Africa. This
touched me and I thought, if women elsewhere care about those in Africa, then I
could do the same for women in my country and that is when I decided to donate
cash on a monthly basis to AWDF...

Continue to read, 'Interview with Yaa Nimako, Philanthropist' []

The Importance of Funding Our Own Movements - African Women and Philanthropy

Sarah Mukasa is Director of Programmes at the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF).
Her interest in philanthropy has been informed by over two decades of work with
African women's rights organizations in Africa and the Diaspora.

Philanthropy in Africa has become an area of increasing interest in the past 10
or more years. A key focus for interrogation is the manifestation of philanthropy
in the African context - its areas of strength and weakness. Another is how to build
on the traditions of philanthropy in Africa to attain stronger institutional processes
that scale up localized forms of giving and ground these in principles of social
justice, equality, peace and sustainable development. Africans are challenging
the notion that Africa is purely a 'donor recipient' continent and instead are pointing
to the rich traditions of giving and philanthropic practice in Africa - which in
many instances have been the mainstay of entire communities.

Continue to read, 'African Women and Philanthropy' []


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