Enthusiastic kick-off for #Africans Rising movement @MS TCDC
A conference that expects to chart a new path for civil society on the continent got underway today at the Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MS TCDC), in Arusha, Tanzania.
More than 250 delegates from at least 44 countries representing a wide cross section of civil society – including religious leaders and the International Trade Union Confederation - will debate how to build a new network that will work towards greater justice, peace and sustainable development on the continent.
Opening the gathering dubbed #Africans Rising, Irungu Houghton, a Kenyan public interest campaigner and facilitator of the meeting, described it as a celebration of Africa’s diversity, its voices and aspirations.
Launch director of the African civil society initiative Kumi Naidoo said it was time that Africans stopped tolerating the status quo.
“We must not accept the present inequalities in Africa. It is about time we rose against the ills that deprive us of basic human dignity and economic opportunities.”
African leaders were curtailing people’s right to assembly, association and expression and that needed to be challenged, he said.
He called for the new movement to be launched on 25 May next year to coincide with Africa Day commemorations.
It should be done in a decentralised manner, he suggested, with civil society organisations in each country staging events to give birth to the new organisation.
#AfricansRising arose out of concern that even though the world is the most connected it has ever been, people on the continent are not benefiting from the massive advances in technology or the natural resources boom.
The new network will broadly ocus on protecting democratic institutions; tackling gender and other inequalities; exposing corruption; addressing the effects of climate change; and working towards the eradication of poverty.
Delegates will also debate the type of organisation that needs to be set up.