The AROCSA annual conference is a gathering of civil society scholars and practitioners from all across Africa and the diaspora for networking, learning, and skills-building purposes.
The GOALS of AROCSA conferences are to;
The first was held in Lagos in 2016, the second in Johannesburg in 2017, the third in Cairo in 2018, and a fourth in Nairobi in 2019. Regrettably, the 2020 conference has had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a year’s hiatus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying restrictions, the Annual AROCSA Conference returned in a virtual format for its 5th iteration on July 29th, 2021.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Towards a More Sustainable Civil Society in Africa: Inclusion, Governance, and Impact”.
The conference is designed to provide a space for interaction and engagement between and among civil society scholars, practitioners, policy experts, and members of the public. As such the conference format changed this year to accommodate robust discussions among African CSO practitioners, policy experts, and researchers investigating issues around sustainability, inclusion, governance, and impact both at the organizational and community levels with the goal of throwing up solutions and fostering collaborations that can lead to real meaningful impact at the grassroots level.
The conference ran nine panel sessions centered around research being undertaken by the newly inducted AROCSA Fellows who received research grants under our PhD Fellowship Program. The panelists consisted of the AROCSA Fellows, civil society practitioners, and policy experts from across the continent. The new format led to an experience that spoke directly to the spirit of AROCSA’s mission in creating a platform for meaningful exchange between civil society, academia, and practice.
AROCSA Board Chair, Dr. Bhekinkosi Moyo, delivered the welcome address where he discussed, among other things, the importance of technology in African civil society:
“There is no other way we can be thinking about building a sustainable civil society without thinking about the virtual shift that has taken place over the last couple of years, but more pronounced during this period of COVID.”
The keynote address was given by AROCSA’s founding board member Dr. Esi Ansah. She focused on the urgency of developing a sustainable civil society sector in Africa:
“The world is in flux and we are at the point where we need CSOs that can be resilient enough to provide a sense of stability and maintain the connections to multiple stakeholders in the policy arena and also in practice and academia.”
Click here to watch videos from this year’s conference.
Dr. Bhekinkosi Moyo is a writer, author, researcher, and thought leader with keen interest in questions of African resources, democracy, and governance. He has championed the African discourse on philanthropy, contributed to the growth of many African civil society formations and has taken part in most of the continental processes of development and governance. He has written extensively on African philanthropy, civil society, and governance. Equally, he has gained considerable experience in management, leadership, and strategic roles over a significant period.
Shani began his development sector career in 2011 leading rotating multicultural teams on face to face fundraising campaigns across the entire NorthEast of Scotland on behalf charities such as Oxfam, Marie Curie Cancer Care, and the Anthony Nolan Trust. Prior to that, he successfully managed the delivery of high-end residential and hospitality development projects valued at over $50M along the Lekki corridor.
He joined ActionAid in 2013 where he drew on fundraising experiences acquired in the UK to drive the launch and implementation of ActionAid’s structured individual regular giving fundraising program; a ‘first-of-its-kind’ by an international charity in Nigeria which sought to raise unrestricted funds locally. This in addition
In 2016, he joined the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG); Nigeria’s leading member based business policy advocacy organization as Donor Relations & Fundraising Manager where he initiated the development of the organizational strategy for 2016-2018, in addition to supporting the hosting of several events including its flagship annual Nigerian Economic Summit, and driving fundraising across its 9 active policy commissions covering economic sectors ranging from Agriculture and Food Security, to Science and Technology.
He has also provided fundraising consultancy services to indigenous NGO’s including recently working with an agricultural technology start up funded by Propcom Maikarfi to define its business and revenue models.
He holds an MSc in Corporate Communications & Public Affairs from the Aberdeen Business School in Scotland, and a BSc in Estate Management from the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-ife, Nigeria. He also holds a PRINCE2 Foundation certificate in Project Management and has benefitted from several in-house trainings in Rigorous Programme Management delivered by the Boston Consulting Group in Lagos, as well as several fundraising trainings covering individuals, corporates’ and institutions in Aberdeen, Bangkok and Johannesburg.
He is passionate about protecting people and the environment, and enjoys reading, listening to world music, playing chess, pool, and travelling.
Amina T. Banu is a media producer. She has worked across the media industry for almost a decade in the UAE and Nigeria in writing, editing, public relations, online content creation, and filmmaking. She began her professional life in the Marketing and Public Relations industry in 2013 in Dubai, UAE. Most notably, she worked for a boutique public relations firm – The PR Professionals – where she was tasked with communications, client relations, and talent and event management. Since then she has honed her skills in communication, media production, and event management across industries from fashion to IT.
She has also had experiences in the civil society sector in Nigeria. In 2015 in Abuja, Nigeria, Amina headed a social media team with the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) during Nigeria’s presidential and gubernatorial elections. In the run up to the election she worked as YIAGA’s online content creator and co-hosted voter education radio programs.
She has a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Communications Studies and an MA in Media Production.
Dr. Ijeoma Nwagwu earned her doctorate in Law (S.J.D) and Masters in Law (L.L.M) degrees from Harvard Law School and was awarded the Landon H. Gammon prize for academic excellence. After attending the Nigerian Law School, Ijeoma worked as legal counsel for the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), where she also produced documentaries on law, human rights, and development themes with Channels Television, Lagos and the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA). Ijeoma taught International Trade Law and Human Rights at St. Mary’s University College, London and was on the research team for the World Bank Assisted Science and Technology Education Post-Basic (STEP-B) project in Nigeria. She has also conducted research training for the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) in Senegal. Ijeoma is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Dr. Godwin Murunga is a historian and political analyst of Kenyan origin. He is the Executive Secretary of CODESRIA. He has lectured at the Institute of Development Studies of the University of Nairobi. He was the director of the Africa Leadership Centre in Nairobi. He was a member of the Executive Committee of CODESRIA for two consecutive terms (2005-2011). Dr. Murunga has many years of robust scholarship under his belt, evidenced by the incisive analysis that characterized his numerous scholarly publications. He also has valuable teaching and management experience and a deep knowledge of the higher education landscape in Africa.
Ms. Kareman Shoair has a Masters degree (MA) in Economics from the American University of Cairo in Egypt. She is an Adjunct Faculty in the American University of Cairo’s Economics Department and a Research Manager at the John D. Gerhart Centre for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement. She is also a board member for the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF).
Dr. Esi Ansah is a founding partner and the current CEO of Axis Human Capital Ltd. She is an Assistant Professor at Ashesi University College. Esi is active in her community and currently serves as the Executive Director of two non-profit organizations – the Paul A. V. Ansah (PAVA) Memorial Foundation and the Association of Ghana’s Elders (AGE), which she co-founded. She is a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Africa Leadership Initiative – West Africa (ALIWA) and was in July 2015 appointed as a member of the West Africa Board. She was honoured by the New York-based The Network Journal (TNJ) as one of the journal’s “Forty under Forty” African Achievers in 2010.
David Kode is the Advocacy and Campaigns Lead for CIVICUS, a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. In the past, he has worked with the organisation as a Policy and Research Officer. He has worked with UNICEF South Africa in the Office of the Deputy Representative. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from the University of Buea, Cameroon and a Masters Degree in International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
Dr. Pinkie Mekgwe is International IDEA’s Senior Regional Adviser for Africa and West Asia and her work focuses on strengthening programmatic and administrative coherence and performance. Before joining International IDEA in 2018, she was Executive Director of Internationalism at the University of Johannesburg for the past six years. She also previously served as Deputy Director at the Office of International Education and Partnerships of the University of Botswana and as Programme Officer for the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). Previously she was a lecturer at the University of Botswana, visiting researcher at the Witwatersrand Institute of Social and Economic Research, and a visiting lecturer at Malmö University in Sweden.