Concept Note

Project Title: Reshaping Narratives on African Giving: Writing Workshops for African Writers

 

Introduction

Storytelling has and is still an important part of African culture. So much essential knowledge on our histories, safety, novel ideas has been passed from one African generation to another through stories. An integral part of our work on reclaiming and (re)shaping what African philanthropy means on a global scale involves re-telling the stories that have been told on African giving. Outdated narratives that shape giving as a vertical, master-servant enterprise need to be replaced with indigenous examples of giving as always being a core part of who we are.

 

Context

APN has identified different forms of knowledge production as an essential part of the work we do. One of these forms has manifested into Simulizi Blog, an internally run publication that features articles on African Philanthropy as it shows up in various forms, in various African communities. This blog was kickstarted alongside a virtual women’s writing workshop that would allow for up and coming as well as seasoned writers to gain the skills to tell these stories that would contribute to reshaping the narratives of African giving.

 

The workshop was free and open to English-speaking adult women from all corners of the continent. It is widely known that women are disproportionally affected by socio-economic hardships that make financially opportunities less accessible. It was also quickly identified that these hardships were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This writing workshop, followed by the chance to submit articles to the Simulizi blog (at a commission) was one of the ways APN responded to the pandemic.

 

Since then, APN has also held an Essay and Storytelling Competition that invited both men and women to submit their work for a chance at a prize. Both the workshops, the competition have cultivated and given the chance for budding writers to express their ideas, and for some the chance to be paid for it too.

 

It has also resulted in rich and interesting knowledge production in the forms of interviews, essays, fiction stories, etc. All of which contributes to the underpinning goal to reshape the dominant narratives of African giving, and replace them with what we know of African giving to be.

 

This edition of the women’s writing workshop serves to continue to do the work we have begun; to equip and/or strengthen writers’ skills, in order to allow for enriching storytelling on African giving.

 

 

Project goals and objectives

As mentioned above, the main purpose of this project is to contribute to reshaping the narrative through the production of creative non-fiction and fiction. The objectives are as follows:

  • Capacity building: Equip and/or strengthen writers with necessary skills needed to write compelling, engaging and informative stories (in all forms) about African giving. Sharpening their skills will give them ample opportunities to tell their stories and bring their ideas of African giving to life.
  • Knowledge production: If we are to reclaim the power and narratives of African giving, there is a need for constant and consistent telling of stories in all forms. Good writers write good stories, and the more of these that exist on the philanthropic sphere, the more likely we are to return knowledge of African philanthropy to its indigenous form.

 

Project strategies (list of activities)

To achieve our objectives, the following activities will take place:


Objective1: Capacity Building

  • Put out a call for participants in the content. English speaking adult women with an avid interest in writing and with previous experience (to ensure that everyone is on a level that would allow them to present quality work by the end of the workshop).
  • Develop and deliver 4 week-long workshops structured to include important storytelling elements from ideation to pitching.

 

Objective2: Knowledge Production

  • Participants will have the chance to pitch an article to the Simulizi Blog and the best pitches will be developed and published
  • Participants will get a curated list of publications that publish pieces on African Philanthropy so that their stories are able to exist in a variety of spaces. We found that the mystification of writing spaces often hinders writers from getting their work to the public. This access will mitigate that.

 

Implementation Arrangements

APN will operate mainly virtually to implement this project. The Secretariat will complete all of the activities to meet the objectives.

 

Contact Information

The Gender and Media Consultant, Karen Chalamilla, will remain at your disposal should any further information be required. She can be reached through: kchalamilla@africaphilanthropynetwork.org, and Cc: info@africaphilanthropynetwork.org