The Pan African Fellowship Programme provides an opportunity for African grassroots activists to deepen their theoretical and practical understanding and experience of strategies for effective organising and creating meaningful change.
PROJECT OBJECTIVE AND SCOPE
The objectives of the Pan African Fellowship programme are as follows:
To inspire grassroots organisers to derive theories that explain their struggles and organising;
To meet the demand for commonly produced knowledge, experience and skills among African activists that initiates sustained processes of reflection, action and analyses on local and continental struggles;
To build a cadre of politically conscious and organic intellectual-activists who are able to alter power relations around their struggles for sustainable change.
Established in 2011 as a pilot initiative, the program has focused on communities within East Africa and specifically Kenya but soon replicating its activities to other regions.
PROJECT CONSTITUENCY AND PARTNERS:
Every year the program identifies not more than ten community based activists from community based organisations or social movements in East Africa to engage in practical study dialogues that cover areas such as theories of change, practical organising skills, movement building and participatory action research based on the learning they acquire and the mentorship they experience during the year.
Activists organising on diverse issues in social justice are selected. These include minority rights, gender justice, environmental justice, youth and democratisation, public engagement in governance, agrarian justice, workers’ rights, protection and promotion of indigenous peoples’ rights and reproductive rights among others.
Social movements and organisations that have referred fellows to the programme include Bunge La Mwananchi, Artists for Recognition, Disability Focus Africa, Mstari wa Nne, Shabaa Youth Group, Nubian Rights Forum, Release Political Prisoners, Muungano wa Wanavijiji, Migori Empowerment Program, Karare Youth Voices, Mount Elgon Residents Association, Bunge La Wamama, Save Lamu Coalition, Nunduni Community Group, Labour Rights Centre, Shibuye Health Workers and Mwea Foundation.
The programme has partnered with scholar-activists in facilitating learning sessions including Ester Mwaura, Salome Nduta, Kiama Kaara, Dr. Steve Ouma, Eva Oyiera Maina and Dr. Mshai Mwangola. The programme has also worked with renowned social justice leaders in the civil society as mentors of the fellows including Anne Njogu, Awino Okech, Beatrice Kamau, Njoki Wamai, Onyango Oloo, Paddy Onyango, Rene Kokonya, Suba Churchill, Wahu Kaara, Wambua Katto, Dr. Willy Mutunga, Zawadi Nyong’o, Nduta Kweheria, Dr. Julius Muchemi, Ruth Nyambura and Elijah Kamau.
Various host organisations who have provided experience to fellows during their learning placement include Awaaz, Akiba Uhaki Foundation, Centre for Multi-party Democracy, Centre for Minority Rights, Kituo Cha Sheria, Legal Resources Foundation, United African Alliance Community Centre, Young Women Leadership Program, Pamoja Trust, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Inuka Trust, Youth Agenda, Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya, Abhalali Base Mjodolo movement, Concerned Children and Youth Association, Community Development and Sustainability Organisation, Horn of Africa Development initiative, Haki Jamii, Coalition on Violence Against Women, Mainyoito Pastoralist Integrated Development Organisation, Migori Civic Local Affairs Network, Pastoralists Indigenous Non Governmental Organisation, Tanzania Gender Network Program and Ishyo Arts Centre.
The program has been able to continuously create a cadre of politically conscious activists at the national level and with a Pan-African outlook in organising to resist oppressive systems and processes.
An analytical space for exchange and learning on theories of change and practical organising skills has been established. This has developed new knowledge and skills among fellows on social justice leadership and transformative advocacy processes.
As the program is grounded in community building, we have witnessed a growing number of strengthened community based organisations and social movements that are able to connect their micro issues to macro struggles in Africa.
An expanded network of community based organisers, activists and a supportive civil society equipped with skills and knowledge to enhance their organising within an African context has been created.
The programme has encouraged and enhanced collaboration between fellows, alumni of the program and the faculty members for cross learning.
A cross-exchange of strategies between grassroots organisers and civil society organisations has been established during fellows’ internship and placement programmes in Kenya and beyond.
From the local to the continental, the Fahamu Pan-African Fellowship (FPAF) programme nurtures and supports grassroots African activism – generating contemporary, energetic, visionary and innovative thought and activism.