African Development

Arguably, it is Africa and probably the world’s worst “to-do list”: stopping violent extremism, addressing Africa’s governance issues, human rights problems, its growing refugee crisis and migration of its young population to Europe, working to end Africa’s self-inflicted poverty, disease, hunger and corruption. The African Dream project looks for practical, pioneering ways for communities and individuals to get out of poverty and contribute in making 2063 a reality. Just like Anatole France, we are convinced “… that to accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” AU Watch has as one of its major goals, assisting vulnerable and excluded people and communities in Africa to achieve sustainable economic and social progress, strengthening their communities and civil society, promote democratic participation and inclusion, and prepare for and respond to climate change and other humanitarian crises, there by advancing the principles of the AU and its Nepad program. We are convinced that through our commitment to engaged excellence we shall work towards transformations that reduce inequalities, accelerate sustainability and build more inclusive and secure societies. We do this neither as an advocacy NGO, nor a think tank, but by combining elements of both in a unique mix that we articulate in our engaged excellence approach. Our focus is women, youths and through our grant, aid and technical assistance program assisting small and medium size businesses. We are convinced that to alleviate poverty we need to empower the poor. We are not afraid to be different or labeled ‘crazy.’

See Project No Child Left Behind. Working with the AU, AUMS, local and international partners, AU Watch has, for example, set itself the grand and ambitious objective and target of ensuring that every African child learn how to read and write, within the next twenty years. An illusion?Certainly not.A dream? Yes it is, for no dream is ever too small! “For those who dare to dream, there is a whole world to win.”

The project work to ensure that every African child is enrolled in school till the age of 16. That will also mean, getting every child in Africa off the street into schools. Working with the AU, Member States, other CSOs, communities and individuals, the organization aim to get every child, woman and man understand their rights; understand what the AU is doing and why.

At AU Watch our philosophy is simple. AU Watch arrives, does service delivery at scale and low cost, free of the donor baggage and expat culture of northern-based international NGOs. We shall operate social enterprises that are strategically connected to our development programs, and form crucial value chain linkages which increase the productivity of AU Watch’s and our members’ assets and labor, and reduce risks of their enterprises. These enterprises, ranging from agriculture to training institutes, also help to make us increasingly self-reliant.

By supporting schools, to helping farmers sell their crops for a fair price, to improving access to people with HIV/AIDS to healthcare – our long-term development projects are transforming lives. We work with the AU, Member States and communities to tackle the causes of poverty by a combination of hands on know-how, financial investment and education. Through our media, outreach and education programs, we give women and poor people a voice to speak out against the laws, actions and policies that keep them in poverty. We force the AU and its Member States to listen and take action!

AU Watch shall expand is work or cooperation into areas like trade, regional integration, energy, climate change, migration, mobility and employment, or science, information and communication technologies and even space applications. It shall facilitate and promote a broad-based and wide-ranging people-centered partnership by ensuring the effective participation of other CSOs and the private sector and by delivering direct benefits for African citizens.

As a practical organization, we respond to real challenges in Africa by assisting the most vulnerable people and communities by giving practical development assistance and supporting training in many areas of AU related programs like, education, human rights, climate change and Natural Resource, agriculture and development. As first responders we also assist in some of Africa’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people in difficult circumstances, especially those devastated by conflict and disaster. Our approach should not be seen as a return to neo-liberal development policies, but rather as an alternative development approach – pragmatic approach that works. We tackle the causes of poverty, hunger and hopelessness at the root. We aim to plant trees of hope.
Building and strengthening capacities are crucial to our work with individuals, communities, media professionals, the AU and its member states and other CSOs. By sharing skills and knowledge – whether with policy makers, journalists, businesses, students, our volunteers, youths and other local and international organizations – we empower people to understand and claim their rights, make informed choices and improve their outlook to life. We intend to make a practical difference in the lives of people. We give practical assistance to our most vulnerable members of our communities. Whether we are participating in constructing a library or a girls training institute or litigating for the protection of human rights in front of the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, or the Ecowas Court of Justice, our intention is to ensure that we make a difference to address regional challenges that demand AU attention and leadership. We provide practical help like grants, loans and technical assistance for projects benefiting the African youth, women and vulnerable communities. We assist the AU and its member states to achieve the goal of serving vulnerable communities through sustainable community development.
As an advocacy, campaigning and outreach organization, we are reaching out to Africa’s policy and state managers to improve the political and legislative terrain in which CSOs and media professionals’ work, as they are a crucial plank in developing people’s capacity to make informed choices and changing minds and attitudes. I can almost hear you say, but some organizations are doing that. That may be true – but we are different! How? Let me give a simple example. Considering for example the potential relationship between social justice and AU Watch’s outreach programs and the education sector, we will seek ways in which education systems can be used to engage children and youth in the work of the AU, as well as examine whether community or locally based outreach activities and informal educative initiatives can contribute to buttressing the capacities of the formal education system. We will distinguish between the different needs of children, at early childhood, primary, and secondary levels, and young people in tertiary education and youth networks, in relation to AU processes. Likewise we will try to identify different didactic methodologies that can be used in the creation ofoutreach educational activities and materials. We are now developing curricula for primary, secondary and tertiary levels on information and knowledge about the AU – courses / curricula which we believe should be taught at civics, history or politics classes in our schools and universities. Is there any justification why our schools are not offering courses on ‘AU Law and Institutions’, or ‘AU History’? Building and strengthening capacities for us means knowing how our own systems work as well!
This is how we create lasting change. Our programs are designed to:

Create Economic Opportunities
Promote Social Progress
Strengthen Communities and Civil Society
Promote Democracy and Governance
To learn more about the African Dream Project please Click Here. But get connected. Have your say. Interested in sharing an idea or volunteering for us? Get in touch at one of the addresses below.

Supporting African Development (4)

In their 50th Anniversary Summit of 26 May 2013, the AU Heads of State and Government while acknowledging past successes and challenges, rededicated themselves to the continent’s development and envisioned “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.” The Summit instructed the African Union Commission, working closely with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Coordinating Agency (NPCA) and supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to develop Agenda 2063. AU Watch is of the view that the realization of Agenda 2063 and the future of development in Africa partly rests on assisting small businesses. AU Watch’s Sustainable Development Directorate provides grants and loans to assist promising small businesses all over Africa. For more information about the program, please click here.

We also:

Lobby the AU and AUMS to provide the political, social, economic and environmental conditions that allows small businesses to thrive.
Undertake national, regional and international advocacy work and campaigns on behalf of small businesses in Africa;
Provide business trainings at the level of AU Watch Sections / Chapters. If you are interested in one of our training programs please contact your nearest AU Watch Section or Chapter.