Vibrant Discussion on African Philanthropy by APN 2022 Essay Competition Winners
The APN 2022 Essay Contest’s top four winners participated in a recent webinar that focused on youth narratives of African Philanthropy practices. Featuring in the webinar was Teboho Polanka from Lesotho who was the top winner of the contest, Keyame Gofamang of Botswana who emerged second, Philip Hope Ifeoluwa of Nigeria who scooped the third position and Mercy Wangari of Kenya who took the fourth position. The winners were thrilled to share their perspectives on the significance of African Philanthropy in their different communities.
“Philanthropy should go beyond feeding children and helping our neighbors. It should not be about throwing money in the face of problems. African Philanthropy should be about teaching people to fish instead of giving them the fish,” cautioned Philip of Nigeria as he stressed the need for sustainable philanthropy. He went on to quote the Bayaka Proverb which says, “An abundance of food at your neighbors will not satisfy your hunger” as he castigated Africa’s over-reliance on external aid. “Foreign aid grants have not eradicated African problems. We need to start taking deliberate efforts to make sure that not only does African philanthropy feed its citizens but make them realize the changes they need to make in their communities.”
Another participant, Keyame from Botswana spoke about how philanthropy was an old tradition that is rooted in most African communities. “Africans naturally give, thus the concept of philanthropy is not new. I have just come to understand that philanthropy reminds me that I am not an island but I am part of the huge community”. In agreement with Keyame’s sentiments, Teboho of Lesotho pointed to the fact that African Philanthropy was undervalued and not appreciated. “African Philanthropy needs to be more visible, it should be recognized and appreciated at all levels.” The two speakers highlighted how African Philanthropy is a powerful way of expressing African Humanism.
Also contributing to the discussion, Mercy from Kenya placed emphasis on the importance of storytelling and data collection to promote African narratives. “Having stories and data coming out of Africa is key in promoting African Philanthropy. We need to be proud of who we are as Africans.”
Ultimately, the four participants acknowledged African Philanthropy as a foundation for any development efforts and called on development actors to;
- Co-create solutions with communities not for communities
- To appreciate other resources like ideas, time, knowledge, and data instead of just focusing on money.
- Promote the documentation of philanthropic practices taking place in local communities
- Focus on capacity strengthening to enable people to have a clear understanding of what philanthropy means.
- Leverage technology to promote African Philanthropy