promoting increased & more effective funding in Africa
Foundations are a source of funding to support the work of a range of organizations making a difference in their communities. But often, they also help to strengthen a sector by connecting organizations to each other.
The recent AGAG segment of “Conversations With/Dialogues On” highlighted an example of this. The Global Fund for Children (GFC) organized a knowledge exchange workshop to bring together organizations working in english and french-speaking countries in West Africa focusing on children. If you missed it, I encourage you to listen to audio excerpts and read a summary on the AGAG website.
Networking is important and central to building and sharing knowledge. Unfortunately, it is often hard to trace specific results back to the connection of ideas and people made during these types of events. Yet, sharing our stories and what we have learned is at the center of our lives.
The McKnight Foundation Collaboration Crop Research Program is another example of making important connections. This competitive grants program connects researchers from many different countries working to increase food security for resource-poor people in developing countries. The collaborative research projects are grouped in “communities of practice” and includes a range of stakeholders including scientists and farmers. There are communities of practice in west, southern, east and the horn of Africa. The program links experts from countries across the globe.
In 2008, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation make a five year grant to the McKnight Foundation for $26.7 million dollars to support the project. The CCRP website is wealth of information about the projects including progress reports and impact. The leadership team pairs the McKnight International Program Director, Jane Maland Cady with the CCRP Scientific Director, Rebecca Nelson, who is employed by and based at Cornell University.
Two good examples of making connections and building knowledge useful in building strong communities in Africa. If you know of some other interesting examples, I invite you to share them with me. Send them to nmutima [at] agag.org.