Nigeria recently began a fresh effort to ascertain its climate change obligations under the Paris Agreement – a global action plan to put the world on track by limiting global warming to below 2°C. However, for its programmes to succeed transparency is crucial.
This means the programmes must manage and publish information on actions and processes so that it’s accessible, timely and accurate. This in turn builds trust and ownership between those that control the finances and with the communities who are directly affected by climate change initiatives.
I did a study on community experiences in Nigeria’s Cross River State with an ongoing climate fund project called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). It supports national governments in sustainable land uses and better stewardship of forest resources among the people, particularly those who live on the forest edge. It’s one of many vehicles being used to distribute climate finance.
I found that by including everyone in the process, climate change projects were more likely to be effective and sustainable. If they didn’t, communities become suspicious and won’t engage with the conservation efforts.
Safeguarding forests and livelihoods
One important initiative of REDD+ is its social safeguard scheme which directly targets forest-edge communities.
It provides monetary compensation (carbon credits) for restrictions imposed on income they could’ve derived from the forest – this includes forgoing their rights to emit certain amounts of carbon dioxide (eg. from cutting down trees or burning wood for fuel) from their livelihood activities which depend heavily on forest resources.
This is where issues of transparency occur. REDD+ funds flow from the United Nations to the government. They are then held in a trust on behalf of the forest communities. Disbursement is usually done through a specialised local agency or ministry. In most countries, the local agency is usually the ministry or a special commission in charge of forest. The agency works with representatives of the forest communities known as the Forest Community Association.
Initial results suggest communities aren’t confident that the project will provide them with benefits – in terms of carbon credits or the provision of alternative livelihoods.
The source of apprehension was a lack of inclusion. They weren’t actively engaged with REDD+ officials and didn’t have access to information. This fuelled the rumour mill within forest communities and led to allegations of bad practices within the REDD+ focal office.
Experiences elsewhere show there may be reason to worry. In Kenya, 80% of respondents in an assessment done on the corruption risks in the project expressed concern that funds would be misused by the central government and others involved.
So, what can be done to improve transparency?
Firstly, communication around projects should include all those affected.
In Nigeria, for example, workshops organised by institutions that manage climate funds tend to invite those who are seen as educated. There’s the assumption that information would trickle down to the communities on the ground – such as forest communities. Unfortunately this isn’t the reality in most of the project sites.
The result is that the rest of the community feels alienated and less motivated to join in conservation efforts. Hence, people continue in their usual practice of illegal logging and other forest extraction activities.
Secondly, there’s a need for constant updates between authorities and communities.
For example, mistrust is compounded when authorities don’t explain the reasons for delays in distributing project benefits, which had always been the high point of the REDD+ sensitisation campaign among the people. In addition, it reflects a lack of consideration towards the communities. Most are living in conditions of poverty in rural areas and are being asked to abandon their forest livelihoods without fulfilling promises on the alternatives promised.
Without trusting the process or the alternative income that carbon credits provide, communities will continue to plunder forests, rendering the climate interventions ineffective.
Recipients of climate finance also have a responsibility to improve their communication. They should be proactive in producing detailed reports on how they are spending funds entrusted to them. This has not been done sufficiently yet. This too increases mistrust.
While initiatives like REDD+ have transparency guidelines, my experience in Nigeria was that it’s difficult to follow up on whether local agencies or country focal offices are following them. It was difficult to access information, which will be problematic for reporting on progress.
External evaluators could be of use in these instances. It could prompt caution among project officials knowing that their activities are being monitored and ensure they follow guidelines more carefully – particularly when dealing with communities.
ESSA: Women must have more leadership opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa to improve society for us all
ESSA CEO, Lucy Heady (Image: ESSA website)
ESSA- There is a lack of evidence about the role of universities and colleges in sub-Saharan Africa in equipping women with leadership opportunities.
Speaking during a press briefing to launch Education Sub Saharan Africa’s (ESSA) State of Women Leading Report, Dr Jennifer N. Udeh, Head of Programmes and Partnerships said through its Women Leading project, the organisation’s aim was to begin to fill this gap and to bring attention to the situation for women in sub-Saharan Africa by using data and evidence to improve practices within universities and colleges to support women. This includes both female academics seeking leadership roles in universities and colleges, and female students for whom leadership skills will be a critical factor in their success as they transition into work. As part of the Women Leading project, ESSA led a research phase which has included a desktop review, interviews with women, and a survey with over 400 female faculty, students and early career graduates.
ESSA initiated a women leading project following the recognition of a stark disparity between men and women in leadership positions in universities and colleges in sub-Saharan Africa. ESSA in partnership with Association of African Universities, Population Reference Bureau and Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, formally National Council for Tertiary Education had conducted a study of the demographics of faculty in Ghana and reveal that only 8% of professors at public universities were women.
Women she said, must have more leadership opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa to improve society for us all. Whilst this is not unique to education, ESSA believes that academia can set the bar.
“Women still face barriers to leadership, including socio-cultural expectations, limited access to mentorship and networking opportunities, unhelpful working environments and policies and barriers relating to mindset. The Covid-19 pandemic is also particularly impacting women.” She added.
The State of Women Leading Report captures insights from existing research and the current perspective of women who are at different stages in their leadership journey. She emphasized that the specific objectives of the report are to unlock the potential of female leaders in education, by contributing to the understanding of the current state of women’s leadership, including current barriers preventing women transitioning into leadership, existing solutions aimed at supporting and increasing women’s participation in leadership and possible solutions going forward Additionally she stressed that women are underrepresented in leadership in sub-Saharan Africa in all sectors including tertiary education and more can be done to ensure gender parity.
“Our research has highlighted conceptual skills as the most important skillset for leadership development of women in all sectors e.g., critical thinking/decision-making/problem solving/analytical abilities, logical reasoning. This is followed by skills relating to Leadership ethics and values, e.g., integrity/trust/empathy/emotional intelligence/self-awareness/self-confidence. It also points to four key types of further support that will have a high impact on leadership development for women. These are: scholarships, leadership training and development programmes, gender sensitive organizational/structural policies and networking programs and opportunities.” She said.
In her closing remarks, she extended a word of thanks to the project sponsor Dubai Cares, individuals and partners organisation who took part in the research
“Your engagement and support have been invaluable in bringing this research to completion. ESSA’s contribution to unlocking the potential of female leaders is in supporting and working with universities, colleges and organisations, to understand the evidence and co-create solutions. Just as we have done through this research and the subsequent stakeholder workshop that we hosted in June 2021. Our ambition is to continue to identify issues and bring together evidence of what works and what is needed to drive change. We will do this through continued partnerships, stakeholder consultations and engagement. We look forward to continuing this work with you all and building on what we have started… we hope the state of women leading report is useful to all organisations and policy makers seeking to engage and contribute to research and the improvement of practices, to increase women’s participation in leadership“
ESSA is a charity improving education in sub-Saharan Africa so that young people achieve their ambitions and strengthen society. We support university and college leaders, employers, policymakers, and young people to turn evidence into practical solutions and maximise resources. By working together, we can improve education policies and delivery.
Click here to access the event recording https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/NXaTsLroo2YPpi3DcoSdJ9mGzCHJjA0ERe2ZRKTU2s9pg8WR8J5OhB2aTmgc5WKmpiNFBcgOSmCy_K2-.M43EzZ_TPe8d8RtK
Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) to Kick Off Its 10th Anniversary with 2021 Global Summit Series
Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) is set to mark its 10th anniversary with the BPM 2021 Global Summit Series, which kicks off August 3, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm EDT, in the U.S. with virtual events continuing in Africa, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, and worldwide. The series will culminate on August 31st with Reunity, an international Black women funders power and wellness summit in collaboration with the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University.
Featured speakers include Ford Foundation president Darren Walker; CNN political analyst and former member of South Carolina House of Representatives, Bakari Sellers; ABC News senior legal correspondent and co-host of The View, Sunny Hostin; Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of Gbowee Peace Foundation, the Honorable Leymah Gbowee; and faith leader and activist Reverend Naomi Tutu.
Registration is open. Sign up and see the global keynote speaker line-up at bit.ly/FundBlackSummit2021.
Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland, founder of BPM, Reunity, and Women Invested to Save Earth (WISE) Fund says, “Our 10th anniversary is a testament to the tenacity of Black people worldwide. Our resolve is strong to advance our culture of giving and promote fair access to private capital, including philanthropy and venture investment. Economic justice is the last frontier in the Civil and Human Rights Movement. We hope the U.S. and the entire world will join the celebration in August and press on to make equity real, starting by signing the Black Philanthropy Month Global Black Funding Equity Pledge.”
With recognition at the outset from the United Nations as part of its Global Decade for People of African Descent and with proclamations from 30 governmental bodies, BPM has built momentum, having been celebrated by 18 million worldwide across 60 countries since 2011. Valaida Fullwood, creator of The Soul of Philanthropy and a BPM co-architect notes, “BPM has used the power of social media to celebrate the community giving that binds Black culture everywhere, while also calling on the ‘powers that be’ to institute principles and practices that accelerate funding equity.”
The BPM 10th anniversary continues its tradition of using high-impact technology to convene influential Black civic, business, and funding leaders with people from all walks of life to build community and practical action plans for funding equity and impact. BPM co-architect, Tracey Webb, founder of the pioneering giving circle Black Benefactors, emphasizes that “BPM brings together Black and allied leaders of all backgrounds to remind the world that we too are philanthropists and that our giving traditions matter. We need funders from foundations and corporations to see and fund us too.”
BPM stands out for the diversity of Black people, worldwide, integral to its leadership and summit series. BPM Africa Chair Thelma Ekiyor, founder and chair of Afrigrants Foundation states, “Even though they manifest differently in the Motherland than in our Diaspora, anti-Black racism and neocolonialism on the continent still pose barriers to funding for effective recovery and development in our communities. We are proud to join with our brothers, sisters, and allies worldwide to celebrate our collective potential and call for Black funding equity. We are fortunate that the Nobel Peace Laureate, the Honorable Leymah Gbowee, is our BPM Africa keynote speaker to inspire a new vision for 21st century Black funding equity.”
Reunity – the only global Black women’s funders network that inspired BPM and organized its first summit—has played a critical role in advancing the global Black philanthropy movement. Although not always acknowledged or written into the funding field’s history, Black women have been at the forefront of Black philanthropy as well as leading calls for racial and gender equity and intersectional funding. Mojubaolu Okome, City University of New York professor and African diaspora giving scholar, asserts “From esusus to the new Black-led venture funds, people of African descent throughout the U.S. and world continue a rich tradition of finance innovation that benefits all of society.” Okome, an original Reunity leader, adds, “As Reunity marks its 20th year of Black women’s innovation for all, we hope the world will join us as we work to build better from the continuing devastation of the COVID era.”
The Reverend Naomi Tutu, faith leader and activist, has long participated in the summits and will return in 2021 with a session on spiritual wellness for women leaders. “When a crisis hits, women are often hit first and hardest, as we give everything we have to care for our families, communities, and the world. Reunity is a time for us to be well, while doing good and to strengthen the global sisterhood as we work to advance humanity in this time of struggle and hope.”
Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) is supported by a growing list of sponsors and partners, including our Signature Charity Partner, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; event talent partner, The b’elle group; Indiana University’s Women’s Philanthropy Institute at The Lilly School of Philanthropy; and global regional chairs, Foundation for Black Communities (Canada); Afrigrants Foundation (Africa); The Puerto Rico Community Foundation (Caribbean); and The Bãobá Fund (Brazil). The full sponsor and partner roster list will be released in early July. Registration for the BPM 2021 Global Summit Series opens today!
Nissan South Africa rolls out COVID-19 vaccines to its employees and service providers
Nissan South Africa employee (Image & release: Nissan South Africa)
Nissan South Africa (NSA), in its bid to help curb the spread of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in parts of the country, the automotive manufacturer will vaccinate its employees and service providers at its Rosslyn-based plant.
The free vaccination rollout plan is line with the South African Department of Health’s national programme, which aims to achieve population immunity by the end of 2021.
Nissan South Africa’s Country Director Kabelo Rabotho said the automotive manufacturer has always placed people first and continues to be committed to keeping their employees and families safer from the impact of the virus.
“I am pleased that our Nissan South Africa medical station has been registered as a COVID-19 vaccination site, allowing us to vaccinate employees and service providers on-site. Vaccination on-site will follow the same phases as the national government in terms of the age groups permitted to register and be vaccinated over a specific time period,” he said.
To ensure proper storage, handling and administration of approximately 5 000 COVID-19 vaccines, NSA has partnered with Dis-Chem through OHS Care to secure and store the vaccines for us and deliver the required quantities to our plant,” explains Shafick Solomons, NSA Plant Director and COVID-19 Task Team Chairperson.
In complying with the South African national vaccination rollout plan, NSA has also applied for access to register interested employees on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) for their convenience. This move will allow NSA to register as many employees as possible.
“Our medical team has been trained on how to use and administer the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to the vaccination rollout, Nissan will continue to support employees with COVID-19 information awareness, providing basic hygiene tools such as face masks and personal hand sanitiser,” confirms Shafick.
“To date, all our COVID-19 countermeasures have been grounded on information from credible resources and partners. To this end, we stand with the Health Ministry in encouraging everyone to get vaccinated when the opportunity arises. Mass vaccination will ensure that we better manage the spread of the virus in our community and country,” concluded Kabelo.
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