SOUTHERN AFRICA: New partnership for grassroots prioritizations sealed and ready to deliver

May 9, 2008

A three-day workshop has resulted in a new partnership to ensure that grassroots communities in Africa take center stage in development programs.

The May 6-8 workshop, held at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg, South Africa, was part of an initiative by African Monitor (AM) and Inter Faith Action for Peace in Africa (IFAPA) to build the capacity of the grassroots in the different communities in the African continent to monitor aid and development commitments at their level. More than 50 participants at the conference were drawn from various faith groups, including Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Bahai and the African traditional religion, as well as from civil society organizations from most African countries.

The partnership hopes to enlist faith-based communities "who have a wide contacts base and who are in touch with their constituencies on a much more regular basis than their counterparts in other sectors," a news release said.

The starting point in the capacity building endeavor is to create a network of civil society organizations and faith-based organizations aimed at engaging the grassroots communities in aid and development monitoring. The objective of the initiative is to enable grassroots communities to monitor and determine the level at which their development needs are being met and to empower communities to be able to advocate for better results.

Speaking at a media briefing after the workshop, former Archbishop of Cape Town Njongonkulu Ndungane, founder and president of African monitor, assured the media that the gathering had not just been a talk show and neither was it just one that will only exist in the books of history. He urged the media to follow up on the initiative and hold the partnership accountable for the principles and work plan that it had committed to during the workshop.