The practical insights of African voices paving the way forward
We often hear people say ‘we are helping others to find their voices”, but whilst we all have voices and perspectives to share, not all have the same access to platforms and not all are given the same space. The outbreak of Covid-19 provided an opportunity for many of us to reflect on our experiences, on issues affecting the world and to deliberate on what individual or collective actions need to be taken moving forward.
Collateral Benefits started as a way to showcase these reflections, with a focus on critical perspectives by African and Afro-descendant people. It began as a discussion amongst people who share a passion for the future of Africa and the leadership needed to tackle its challenges. Unexpected things can emerge from anywhere – in this case, a lively conversation of diverse voices and opinions on WhatsApp became the first Collateral Benefits perspective paper, in collaboration with Africa 2.0, a pan-African civil society group made up of emerging and established leaders who have a shared vision for the transformation of the continent. This first paper, published in May 2020, included 27 perspectives by 17 thinkers and doers from the Africa 2.0 community, focused on both the challenges and opportunities for Africa, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It explored topics such as gender relations, agriculture, media and culture, youth, health and education, leadership, entrepreneurship and diaspora.
Collateral Benefits is founded on the knowledge that African people everywhere have a valuable, thoughtful and necessary contribution to make and that there is a need for African perspectives to be lifted up, documented and shared much more widely. Lead editors of the paper, Susana Edjang and Sarah J Owusu explain: ‘we wanted to create a rich resource, that lifts up the human perspective and encourages African people everywhere to start imagining what may be possible beyond the immediate disruption caused by the spread of the virus.’ We’ll be sharing more details about this series, but just in case you missed out on the first one, here is the link to read more on Collateral Benefit issue one.
Seeing what was possible with paper one, Edjang and Owusu now see Collateral Benefits as a platform to encourage deep reflection and share African voices, especially as we continue to live through the challenges of the global pandemic. In December 2020, they launched Perspective Paper II: Voices of African Womxn and two more papers are planned for early 2021. Recognising that they hadn’t done enough to highlight the impact of COVID-19 on African Women, New African Magazine collaborated with Collateral Benefits to showcase some of the perspectives submitted through the Voices of African Women campaign – this is a snapshot of how the experience has been, and shares what African women are saying about Africa today and Africa they would like for tomorrow.
FabAfriq Magazine has partnered with Collateral Benefits to bring to you a short review of some of the perspectives shared, starting with the first paper. The call to action from us is this: “...Leadership is down to all of us, especially in a crisis: we can all do something from where we stand; these papers are about everyday leaders, taking action and inspiring others to do the same.”
Because these perspectives must be shared, major media outlets joined the campaign to share the different angles on their platforms.
Now that you have read the voices of others, what perspective would you like to share?