What an incredible two weeks.

Just in case you missed our most recent Linkedin updates, over the past two weeks AIDN was thrilled to host our inaugural Funders Trip to East Africa.

Travelling throughout Rwanda and Uganda, the trip was designed to connect philanthropists, donors and impact investors with a range of diverse, locally-led African initiatives on-the-ground. We were grateful to be joined by such an insightful group including Partners For Equity, The Life You Can Save, Just Peoples, the Judith Neilson Foundation, the Dawn Wade Foundation and the Intrepid Travel Foundation.

The first week of the trip kicked off with a bang. The team travelled throughout Rwanda and attended a number of site visits including Gardens for Health International, Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, Village Enterprise, Our Sisters Opportunity, Solid Africa and OneAcre Fund.

The team also attended the Segal Family Foundation Annual Meeting – an organisation and conference committed to grassroots leadership, unrestricted funding and shifting power dynamics in development. The theme was ‘Transforming How Change Happens in Africa’ and was a key opportunity for progressive funders to meet with African leaders striving to make positive change. The conference was officially opened by HE Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda. 

The group was blown away by the local leaders we met and their innovative organisations. Moreover, as The Life You Can Save’s Katie Stanford pointed out, the dual combination of the conference and site visits allowed the group to “consistently discuss international development trends, evidence and models in an applied setting, which is crucial to learning”.

We were also excited to have the opportunity to share a meal with and learn from a number of local leaders including Mercy Kafotokoza (Wandikweza), WIllie Mpasuka (Rays of Hope), Rebeca Gyumi (Msichana Initiative), Maanda Ngoitiko and Naishorua (Pastoral Women’s Council), Saing’Orie Sangu (Women’s Afri-Enviro Vision), Dan Nthara (Foundation for Community and Capacity Development), Ben Wachira (Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation), Dee Punungwe & Ko Chijota (GGem Farming), Shawn Holden Cheung and Kathleen Rommel (Raising the Village) and Wendo Aszed (Dandelion Africa). For many, our meeting with the leading voice on designing impact at scale, Kevin Starr (Mulago Foundation), was also a stand-out moment. 

It is safe to say the first week was action packed.

In the second week of the trip, the team travelled to Uganda and continued our powerful line-up of face-to-face site visits. Guided by Eve Omala’s Local Leaders Portfolio at Partners for Equity, we were grateful to the pioneering organisations who welcomed us including the Mukisa Foundation, Fundi Bots, Building Tomorrow and the Budondo Intercultural Center. We were also pleased to host a number of dinners to expand our local leader network further and met with Benson Wereje (CIYOTA), James Katumba and Solomon Kayiwa (Wezesha Impact), Dr. Ayono Mary (Terrewode), Grace Namulu (ADARA), Sheila Bagayana (Fre02 Foundation) and Brenda Isingoma (School for Life Foundation). Once again, the group felt privileged to witness the spirit of African entrepreneurship and innovation first hand.

On the last night, the group took a moment to reflect on the journey. As the sun set on the River Nile in Jinja, the group laughed and chatted about the highlights of the trip. It also became clear that one of the most valuable aspects of the trip was the process of learning and engagement within the group itself. New perspectives and ideas were consistently fostered through passionate discussion as the bus bumped along rural roads in Jinja, past bustling markets in Uganda and through the lush ‘thousand hills’ of Rwanda. Indeed, as Mark Cubit, AIDN’s Co-Founder, noted “The way that every attendee is now going to reflect on or adapt how they conduct their philanthropy was a clear highlight. The trip undeniably reinforces that you need to be on-the-ground to know what’s happening. Why would you try to sell Aussie meat pies to a sushi bar in Tokyo?”

We’re already excited for the next AIDN Funders Trip which we have earmarked for May 2024. Stay tuned for more updates or get in touch. A truly unique opportunity for those wanting to give ‘more’ and ‘better’ giving to international outcomes.