I4C- Africa Hub pop-up Everywhere in Africa
All around Africa, from East to West and from North to South, the Africa Hub of the Innovation for Change Network (I4C Network) is becoming known across the continent.
But what is Innovation for Change (I4C)?
« Innovation for Change (I4C) is a global network of people and organisations who want to connect, partner and learn together to defend and strengthen civic space and overcome restrictions to our basic freedoms of assembly, association and speech. We are a community-led network inspired by ideas, methods, and technologies from across different sectors. We work together on advocacy, research, network building, education and training, fundraising, digital literacy and technology development. Our six connected regional hubs are growing in both physical and online spaces across Africa, Central Asia, East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa and South Asia. Here, people exchange ideas and share their successes, challenges and opportunities in incubating social change and building sustainable solutions.’’
To spread the wings of support of Hub Afrique to CSOs, activists and grassroots’ organizations, we began hosting pop-up events all around the continent. The first was in Nigeria.
HUB AFRIQUE POP-UP IN NIGERIA
The first pop-up event took place in Nigeria, Abuja earlier this year. The Nigerian Hub members, hundreds of CSOs and activists, came together to organize and launch activities in the country.
But what happened at the Nigeria pop-up exactly ?
On the 1st of August 2018, the National Conference of the Sustainable Development Goals was hosted in the city of Abuja. As part of this conference, the board member of Innovation for Change’s Africa Hub, Amb Caroline Usikpedo, , presented the background of Innovation for Change and talked about the need to establish a national chapter in Nigeria. Following this presentation there was a capacity building workshop focused on strengthening social accountability and human rights in Nigeria. The following recommendations were made at the workshop:
Innovation for Change- Africa Hub :
- Should expand its activities to rural areas so as to ensure inclusive participation
- Should focus on capacity building, engage with CSOs, trade unions, religious groups and other relevant bodies
- Should engage in building of a broader platform for performance and achievement for civil society
This pop-up event resulted in the creation of a WhatsApp group more than 90 activists and CSOs. This WhatsApp group, mainly composed of CSOs and activists who have difficulty accessing the Internet, enables members of the Africa Hub to strengthen its offline membership. This means that even offline CSOs can fully participate in strengthening freedom of expression and the respect of human rights in Africa.
Following Nigeria, the Africa Hub (Hub Afrique in French) hosted an event in Uganda.
Hub Afrique pop-up in Uganda
Created by a working group of Ugandan CSOs and activists, the Transparency and Accountability Forum is a monthly meeting aimed at building a strategic space for CSOs and activists to build synergy, peer to peer learning and plan actions for an effective response of CSOs on accountability and transparency issues. Hub Afrique took advantage of the existence of such a forum in Uganda to host a pop-up event there. This event, hosted the 17th October 2018, was an opportunity to introduce Hub Afrique to CSOs in Uganda. This pop up was held around the theme of Transparency and Accountability. The following questions were at the core of the discussion:
- How has civic space changed in the past 5 years in Uganda, especially related to accountability ?
- What can CSOs do to counter the closing civic space?
- What new innovations in accountability can lead to the biggest impact within the countries’ current civic space ?
In order to answer these questions and more, the participants focused on the following :
- Mapping activities and writing joint proposals to protect and promote civic space
- Advocating to make information more accessible ; i.e : new way of presenting information, in an inviting format, making information engaging and exciting
- Enhancing capacity of working group to do transparency work
- Holding meetings in an open space, such as a community centre or a school
- Participants need to send in a 500-word impact story for the first accountability newsletter
Led by Jennifer Aciko, board member of Hub Afrique, this event was an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between Hub Afrique and CSOs in Uganda.
Hub Afrique pop-up in Gambia
From the 20th to the 22nd October, the African Union Commission on Human and People’s Rights hosted its 63rd Ordinary Session in Banjul, Gambia. During this summit, participants included several CSOs and human rights activists.
The Africa Hub took advantage of this event to introduce the Innovation for Change to a larger audience. The Team shared flyers containing Hub achievements and contacts with the hundreds of participants who attended the summit. In addition to that, the Hub organized a side event, a panel which discussed the effects of corruption on civic space.
Telda Mawarire who presented on the shrinking of civic space in Africa.
Djeinaba Toure who spoke to restrictions to civic space due to corruption in his native Mauritania.
Justin Nkumbhari began his remarks by discussing how corruption is affecting civic initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He then discussed how his organization and Hub Afrique partnered together to launch the, “Jeunes Nous Pouvons’’ initiative. This initiative led by his organization, is working to combat corruption and strengthen civil society in the DRC.
Jennifer Aciko, the fourth and final panel, emphasized the achievements of Hub Afrique, by detailing the different initiatives the Hub is carrying out to help African CSOs to tackle corruption.
Hub Afrique pop-up in Morocco
The final Hub Afrique pop up event was the 2018 PanAfrican Humanitarian Summit and Awards held in Morocco from the 16th to the 17th November 2018. The event that brought together national authorities, CSOs and activists and the private sector.
This great event was organized by the Regional Connector of Hub Afrique in North Africa. Therefore, the Hub took advantage of this opportunity by officially launching in North Africa and getting known by the participants of the Summit. The Hub was represented by Mouna Ben Garga who detailed the activities the Hub is carrying out to strengthen civic space and press for progress through innovation and creativity.
We notice through all these pop-up events that the Hub is striving to cover the whole African continent and get CSOs in every part of the continent involved in the fight for the respect of human rights, freedom of speech and the social development. Beyond the pop-up events which are aimed at raising visibility , the Hub has adopted a governance strategy to be more present in each African region by supporting local CSOs in their endeavours. If you would like to know this strategy, then check our Articles about the Regional Connectors (RCs)