FK Fellow Blog – Mandla Matuare no.2

Month number two at Idasa as an FK Fellow. So far so good. The timing couldn’t have been better. Having the opportunity to attend and be part of both the Bosberaad (Idasa’s annual strategic retreat) and Reflection Week has really given me an appreciation of the internal affairs of Idasa as an organisation and what the staff is doing in order to continue to strengthen the organisation’s position.

There are several projects that have been mentioned which are high on the Idasa to-do list and it has been good to get involved in whatever capacity I can. The National Dialogue which was held on the 25th and 26th of July in collaboration with IJR and the Club de Madrid is one of the projects I have been involved with. Director Ivor has gave me the opportunity to get involved with organising the event alongside colleague Dirkie and I managed logistics by myself on the day itself! It was a challenge but with my events management background I knew that an event is only hard during conceptualisation and planning. The event went rather well despite some high level cancellations at the last minute.

Also my recent trip to my home country (Zimbabwe) was interesting as part of the Afrobarometer training for field workers there prior to their deployment to various parts of the country to administer the questionnaire and obtain feedback on the views of the people regarding governance and democracy. It was good to see friends and family as well as see first-hand how people are interviewed and how respondents react to the various topics in the questionnaire itself.

It was sad to discover that so much effort is spent every year on the CRM system that is rarely used. I am very much into technology and efficient sharing of information and the fact that this system is not being used to its potential is disappointing. Fair and fine; not all the people who have access to the system are comfortable with it but, two ideas come to mind: Familiarisation with the system tutoroial by consulting the administrators and secondly by delegating some of the more complex uploading, posting, updating tasks to other project members who may be more comfortable with system.


FK Fellow Blog – Tsitsi Mhlanga, Zimbabwe

I’m not sure what I was expecting, I just know I feel I’ve been here forever. The environment and people at IDASA made it relatively easy to settle in and I feel right at home.

We were also lucky enough to get here just before the staff day at the park and I think this helped me feel more comfortable around everyone after interacting with them over some wors and cricket. I still believe that our team, “TEAM NASHLEY” was the winning team.

I was initially worried about being treated like an intern with no experience and thus being relegated to doing menial tasks. That should have been the least of my troubles. I initially decided to take up this fellowship, because my mind was feeling like it was no longer being stretched and challenged. So far in this first month I have been feeling challenged. I’ve been involved in some interesting work and loving it.

So a month down the line, I’m not missing my work at home at all and am feeling very much like part of the IDASA family.

FK Fellow Blog – Mandla Matuare, Zimbabwe

The good thing about my fellowship being in South Africa was that it is familar ground. I studied and lived in Cape Town for a combination in 6 years so even though i hadn’t been to Pretoria in a while, i had a good idea of what to expect when i got here.

It has been a busy month. From the 15th of May when i arrived up to now. It didnt take too long to get settled in and familiarise myself with the surroundings, transport routes etc. Getting to meet the staff at Idasa was assisted by the ‘Bosberaad’ (or strategic planning week) as well as ‘the day in the park’ that helped us get to know people much more quickly.

Getting introduced to project managers and other key members of staff is what then began the process of getting involved in work and seeing where best i could fit in and make worthwhile contributions. It has been good to get involved in different areas of the organisation and the learning never ends.

I look forward to the next few months and gaining positively from my fellowship.

Book Launch: The ANC and the Regeneration of Political Power

Special report: Millions face starvation across Africa as land rush intensifies

A report released recently by Oxfam says that poor people, particularly in Africa, are hardest hit by a new wave of land deals. In many African countries, local residents regularly lose their land to elites, domestic or foreign investors, because they lack the power to claim their rights effectively or to defend and advance their interests. According to the report, in developing countries, as many as 227 million hectares of land – an area the size of Western Europe – has been sold or leased since 2001, mostly to international investors. Thus, there is a general fear that this surge in large-scale acquisition of land for investment will do more harm than good if land grabbing is not stopped. Read more here.
The Citizen

Ties that bind: Building climate resilient smallholder agriculture networks in Africa

As governments and regional actors around the world gear up to engage in COP17 Durban, South Africa, it is essential for all stakeholders including farmers’ organisations to have structured engagement and interaction with the ongoing climate deliberations and outcomes. The public expenditure and smallholder agricultural project of Idasa hosted a roundtable discussion on how best to develop climate-resilient smallholder agriculture communities around Africa and how best to shape stakeholder interest in the way climate-based policies and finances are shaping future development and common outcomes in the sector. In this second seminar series, stakeholders discussed the impact of climate change in Africa and mechanisms in creating integrated climate resilient strategies. Panelists, including farmers and CSO leaders from Zambia and South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province, shared their experiences in building climate resilient communities. Read more here.

Africa expects deal on agriculture at COP 17

African negotiators at the upcoming COP 17 in Durban should push for a binding and responsible climate deal on agriculture. Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) CEO, Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, said African negotiators should make it their priority to secure a deal that will promote food security for climate change not to wreak havoc any further on the African continent. African political leadership should hold accountable those who will be negotiating on behalf of the continent. It is important for Africa to use COP 17 to push for a better global environment, improved agricultural productivity and land use. Read more here.
Nthambeleni Gabara