What I Took Back to MalawiNovember 19, 2013
Places in Africa Worth KnowingNovember 30, 2013
In the Denver metro area alone, African events never stop happening. There is an uncountable number of organizations and individuals doing African work here. New non-profits devoted to Africa work are growing, by leaps and bounds. I am a witness to this phenomenon.
Earlier this year I wrote a blog post titled, ‘The idea that Africa is booming is hot and sexy.’ The point in the post is that there is a new and interesting trend that is sweeping across the world–this unprecedented phenomenon that Africa’s time has finally come. And everyone is writing or talking about it. Others want to start their own Africa organization and do something, whatever that may be. This is good news. Let a thousand African flowers bloom!
The question now is, are we getting informed adequately about emerging opportunities in Africa? Is there enough space in the evening news broadcast for positive African news?
Yes, it is true, that Africa’s time may be here, but let’s not screw up the opportunity. I mean screwing the opportunity like screwing a football game that we are supposed to win. We would have screwed up the opportunity by letting it pass us by, and by doing nothing about it. How can this happen?
We did not respond when we were asked to help or assist in small ways, like giving $5 or so to a cause to help inform the rest of the world about our motherland. We took a pass when asked to join an organization, one with little money in the bank and with no superstars on its board, and help it make a difference in the world.
Point is, we took a pass because we thought there was ‘nothing in it for me.” Nah, those guys, I don’t know about them? Is that you?
Are you still sitting on the sidelines and not sure what to make about this? Can you tell some friends about Africa Agenda? Can you ask them to give $5 or $10?
But there is joy and satisfaction that comes from doing the things that matter and which forge knowledge and understanding of a place as vast as Africa. CNN, the BBC, Fox News, and even your local TV station or newspaper will not do the grassroots work that we do. I know this from my experience with the media in America.
Local American broadcasters and publishers would rather tell you about some African dictator who is killing his people than tell you that the same dictator has since been removed from power through democratic elections and there is a new leader in charge, someone who is leading the country to growth and development.
Simply stated–news about African progress and development does not affect the U.S media’s bottom line. So no one really cares that the continent has turned a corner. If they do, it is in lip service only. For how long will this continue, one might ask?
I know you, the one reading this blog post, agree that this work is needed. If so, why not take action now! If not now, when? Please give $5 to Africa Agenda.
That is what we’re is doing as an organization. We are informing the world about Africa, we are fostering knowledge and understanding about Africa in the 21st century. We are not just a website or a blog, even while this blog defines much of our work. Plus, we have something to show for it.
We are not just talking about money in the bank, but things we have accomplished for the community. Your $5 donation will go towards helping us build and establish the platform for more of this kind of grassroots community work.
There are lots of organizations that would do huge events, they get big donations from deep pockets. We don’t get all of that. Still, we are doing what matters, like disseminating Africa information, one person at a time, and challenging the Africa status-quo.
Africa Agenda has created and continues to create plenty of opportunities for grassroots dialogue and engagement, which fosters debate about the future of the continent. This dialogue and understanding are needed today, more than ever before.
Today, travel to the continent by Americans and people from the four corners of the globe never stops. It is a daily routine. Imagine that no one from America was going to Ghana or Tanzania because all they knew about those countries were stories of Ebola, coup d’etats, or diseases. That would be devastating!
Africa is changing, has changed tremendously, and so should our mindset.
People are going because they are hearing something new, such as the discovery of oil in Ghana. They are going because they are hearing the drums of business and investment. They are hearing the drums of elections and democracy in Kenya and Tanzania. They want to be election monitors, they want to compete with the Chinese and they want to build schools, they want to help educate the young and the curious.
The recent conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali may have put a damper on this progress, but that’s not a reason for us to despair?
What is important today is to know and understand exactly what everyone is doing for the continent, locally and internationally, and if that work is helping improve the African peoples’ way of life, and building vibrant, sustainable communities.
At Africa Agenda, each day we receive an average of 15 emails, as well as letters and phone calls from ordinary people in America and abroad requesting Africa information. We also receive many requests asking for us to attend events to see and participate in the work that organizations around the world are doing in Africa.
We have organized plenty of events at Africa Agenda, we’ve attended hundreds of events organized by others, and written blogs about them.
While Africa Agenda focuses much of our work on this blog, reporting about positive African news, as well as the organization of special Africa events, we are bound to ask questions and demand answers from Africa stakeholders.
In other words, are the efforts put in to make the continent a better place worthwhile or are they merely making us feel good about ourselves, creating more problems rather than solving them?
Moreover, no groups of persons, organizations, businesses, or countries have all the answers to Africa’s challenges in the twenty-first century. In like manner, no groups of persons, organizations, businesses, or countries can take all the credit for the positive changes taking place in Africa today.
We’re all in this together, and the successes that Africa is seeing today belong to all of us!
Yet, to know that the continent is succeeding, rather than failing, requires the dissemination of timely information through this web portal. Yes, we’re a small organization, but no news or bit of information is too small to give better context and perspective about one country or another.
Please make a donation to help us continue this work.
At Africa Agenda, some of the news, information, and questions we have asked and continue to ask to include the following:
- Whose job is it to educate Americans about the dynamics of a changing Africa in the 21st century?
- What are the results of the efforts of American businesses in Africa?
- Why does Africa make news in the U.S. only when disaster breaks in the continent?
- Was President Obama’s recent trip to sub-Saharan Africa a guilt trip?
- Do local media in the U.S. have a responsibility to provide fair and balanced coverage of Africa?
More than changing African News, Africa Agenda also has a mission to challenge the myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes that we have come to know about Africa.
The continent of Africa is not a country. This seems to have become a cliché, to poke fun at the very idea that many people would regard a continent as big and diverse as Africa as a country. But the fact is, even American politicians, some of whom have run for office on a major party ticket, ought to know better. But many still don’t know much about the continent. How would they craft legislation on African affairs? Would they simply Google the names of African countries to see what comes up, or would they simply ask their aides to study the continent and craft Africa policy?
Africa is not a “dark continent.” The days when people traveled to Africa only to see elephants and giraffes and to climb the Kilimanjaro are long gone.
The continent does not need more ‘aid’ or ‘assistance’, or “bread and breakfast” which Americans do not want. The continent needs more trade and markets for its products to compete in a global, internet economy.
Help us to advance this discussion about the continent today by making a donation through this website.
But this does not mean there is not a place to feed the poor and the hungry who have been displaced by the disaster, or those who, through no fault of their own, have been cheated by some corrupt governments. There is a place for that discussion. We will point out such problems where we see them. And we have done a lot of that on this website. But that is not the main mission of Africa Agenda.
Others have chosen to specialize in that department, and we will allow them to have that discussion.
Today, you do not have to ask ‘dumb questions’ anymore when deciding whether to travel to Africa or not. You can visit this website for news, perspective, and context and get informed about Africa. If we are unable to help, we will provide guidance on where to find the best resources to help you navigate your Africa challenges. That is the news that Africa Agenda is providing from our base in Colorado.
We want to grow this effort; do many more special Africa events in the future, expand this website, and provide more news and information to shape the Africa debate in the twenty-first century.
Together–we would have won when positive African news is your local news, news that is not just gloomy news about disasters, but something to be thankful for, every day.
But this requires plenty of work, time and volunteers, and your money. Yes, this work requires your financial support. We’ve done so much of our work on a shoestring budget. To go to the next level requires help from people like you, the one reading this blog post.
Think for a moment what $5, $10, or $20 can do for our organization.
Please make a donation through the donate button on this website. Or send a check, made payable to Africa Agenda, 1031 33rd Street, Denver, CO 80205. Please email us if you have any questions via Office at AfricaAgenda dot org