We Need You! Contributing to Building a Strong Regional Philanthropy Network
CivSource has been a member of the East Africa Philanthropy Network (EAPN) for slightly over a year now. I can’t remember exactly when I was introduced to Evans Okinyi, the Executive Director of the network, but I’m certain that from the first time we spoke, ours and the network’s purpose and values were so aligned, joining the network was a no brainer.
Both of our organizations are deeply passionate about advancing and influencing philanthropy on our continent. We are also both aware that no single organization can carry this mantle alone. It can only be advanced as a joint effort, and thus, it made sense to be part of the network.
The network provides a learning and connecting space for its members. During the one year we’ve been members, we’ve had the opportunity to attend 3 learning sessions. Of chief concern has been the issue of accountability in the philanthropy sector and the call to maintain the highest levels of ethics in service of the public good.
We have also talked about how philanthropy in East Africa can be more inclusive of populations and peoples at the margins, especially persons that are differently abled. In fact it was quite heartening to see that in furtherance of this agenda, there were a number of persons with disability at the recently concluded East Africa philanthropy conference held in Arusha on 25th and 26th September. There was also a panel discussion dedicated to the role of philanthropy in addressing disability concerns, not from a standpoint of charity, but as equal partners in the fight for social justice.
At the Annual General Meeting of EAPN, held on the sidelines of the philanthropy conference, CivSource had the distinct honor of being voted onto the board of the network. We are currently the only Ugandan organization on the board of the network. Previous board members from Uganda have been the Independent Development Fund (IDF) and Human Rights Network (HURINET).
Speaking to some of the network members from Uganda, I got the distinct sense that they have a lot of hope in us to work with them to revive the country chapter of the EAPN. A regional network is only as good or as strong as its member countries’ chapters.
And so, even as we take on this task, our mandate is clear - we need to find and bring together philanthropists in Uganda. We need to cultivate relationships with both the high net worth individuals and companies that are giving in Uganda, as well as with community foundations and individuals working on a smaller scale, because we believe all givers are equally important. Every giver’s voice counts in philanthropy.
We also have a task to document and gather the data on giving and givers in Uganda, so that we can tell the right story of philanthropy in Uganda. CivSource is going to embark on a research of the philanthropy field in Uganda, but we are also collecting proverbs on giving from our local languages, as well as collecting as many stories of giving as we can. We want to develop a Giving Tracker, that enables both local and international audiences to properly ascertain the trends of giving in Uganda.
All this work is in aid of our role as a board member of the network. By contributing to telling the story of Uganda, we are contributing to strengthening the network. By bringing philanthropy actors together in Uganda, for collective voice, and action, we will be contributing to strengthening the EAPN.
We are excited to embark on this path. We will be knocking at your doors, asking for contacts, proverbs and stories of giving. This is a joint effort. We need you! Together we will shape the narrative of giving in Uganda - one story, one community, one giving effort at a time.
Chief Executive Officer