AU Watch

AU WATCH Q AND A

“I think that probably the most important thing about our education was that it taught us to question even those things we thought we knew.”

Thabo Mbeki, Former President, Republic of South Africa

 

Want to find out more about AU Watch? How we conduct our research, or select what to campaign on? Below you’ll find answers to some of the questions we get asked the most.

What is AU Watch?

AU Watch monitors the activities and policies of the African Union by the standards of its Constitutive Act and the standards of the legal instruments of its various institutions.  

It challenges and holds to account the AU and States Parties to the Constitutive Act to live up to those standards and ideals they have set for themselves.

Why another organisation like AU Watch?

AU Watch was borne out of the frustration with the ineffectiveness of the OAU / AU project, and the broken promises of our AU Member States,

some concerned citizens of Africa felt the need to assist the AU, its institutions and its Member States to live up to the endless promises they’ve made to us, which they have broken over the last five decades.

Are you a government body?

No. We are an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think-and-do-tank with a uniquely regional perspective.

We believe AU leadership is essential in the regional struggle for security, development, and human rights, so we press the AU and its members to respect the laws they create and the treaties they sign. When they fail,we step in to demand reform, accountability, and justice. 

 

For more information, click here or see our handbook

Are you a media organisation?

Many people have described us a media organisation. Though that would not be entirely incorrect as we are dedicated to originating, disseminating, and increasing understanding of the AU, it will not be entirely correct either. We are much more than that.

We are also a research think tank.So, it will also be correct to see us a policy organisation. Actually, we would like to see ourselves as a human rights, campaigning and action-oriented development NGO that is using education, outreach services, media and communication in all its forms to achieve our objectives. For example, we live-stream every public event of the AU with interactive commentary and participation by the African public.

Where is AU Watch based?

AU Watch is based in The Gambia, with chapters in Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, UK, US and Canada.

Our chapters are committed to advancing a wider understanding of the AU, its RECs, institutions and programs and their critical security, political, economic and human rights issues of the twenty-first century and their potential resolution. We are committed to the public interest. We aim to inspire social, economic and political changes in Africa through research, policy and practice.

 

Concretely, how does that translate on the ground?

We act as a catalyst of social, political and economic change. At AU Watch we tell and share stories. We empower people to tell and share stories about their lives and experiences.

Through our comprehensive communication, media, outreach and education programs and activities, we seek to raise awareness, disseminate and expand information and understanding of AU affairs, empowering people and communities to have the power to claim their basic human rights, to escape poverty, injustice, and misrule. We pilot, perfect and scale innovations to impact the lives of millions of Africans. Our approach is radical, total and comprehensive – from challenging our leaders to respect our human rights to setting up systems to ensure that every child in Africa go to school and stay in school till they are 18, or being involved in innovative development programs. Our aim is simple: to inspire social change through research, policy and practice.

Aren’t you biting more than you can chew?

That is a difficult one. We don’t think so, especially if most of us come onboard. We are frequently told about how complex and impossible it is to resolve Africa’s challenges. We do not doubt that. Of all the known living entities in the universe, the human being is probably the most complex and most difficult to change and govern.

Our differences are just too many and just too complex for any one person or organization to understand. We are not that arrogant to believe that alone we can resolve Africa’s problems! But we know this: despite the array of colours that define us, we are united by a single thread – our humanity. All societies, all communities, all individuals want their basic human rights to be respected and upheld. So, we are of the view that if we as Africans want to seriously address our challenges, together we can do it. No problem or challenge is too big for our collective resolve, especially if you join us. We need all of us to get rid of social injustices. And collectively we can do.

How is AU Watch run?

AU Watch is accountable to a fifteen-person Governing Council as laid out in its constitution.Governance responsibilities for the operation and management of AU Watch reside fully with the Governing Council led by its Chairperson and assisted by the Strategic Leadership Group (SLG) and the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT).

The Governing Council provides intellectual guidance on the broad scope of AU Watch’s activities, provides oversight and governance of the organisation’s financial stability and executive leadership. It is also responsible for agreeing on anoverall strategy, setting policy, monitoring performance and promoting the interests of AU Watch. The SLG and the Policy, Programs, and Administrative Committee implement the organisation’s strategic plan and direct all aspects of its program and operational activities.

For more information about how AU Watch is run, click here.

 

Where is the headquarters of AU Watch?

The headquarters of AU Watch is based in The Gambia.

How does AU Watch work?

Since its establishment AU Watch has developed a simple model for accomplishing its mission of monitoring and auditing the activities of the AU and AUMS – with research, media, communication, outreach and collaboration at the core.

We understand that collaboration and empowering all of us cannot solve all regional challenges, but it is often a precondition for dealing with them effectively.This model helps the organisation employ its resources for maximum impact by re-framing complex problems to create breakthrough solutions and leveraging our brand, reputation, knowledge, networks, and convening people power to achieve scale. We want a changed AU system. Assisting in changing the way all of us think about the AU, and do things for and on behalf of the AU and AUMS, underpins our work at AU Watch. That concept of CHANGE is reflected in our work on the AU and AUMS.

Concretely, how do you intend to accomplish such wide-ranging objectives?

In the following ways: advocacy, campaigns and outreach work, including strategic partnerships & networking; education and information dissemination, including use of the New Media;  critical writing and thinking, including engaging with thought leaders; research and analysis; organising events; monitoring and evaluation (M&E) forms a key part of our strategic model; practical social justice programs and projects; thought leader and convener.

We use our leverage to influence change. Supporting innovative ideas in all fields is a key element of AU Watch strategic and collaborative approaches to its programs.

For more information about how we work, click here or see our Handbook.

How is AU Watch a research-based organisation?

We are aware that failure to base policy and programs on sound political, scientific, economic and social analysis can have disastrous consequences for whole communities. Growing inequalities, social deprivation, discrimination, hunger, and disease can be caused by poor decision making and neglecting to implement evidence-based policy. Research, therefore, underpins all that we do.

We carry out extensive and authoritative research and evaluation in formats accessible to a broad audience. We also carry out independent and rigorous analysis of critical African, regional and country-specific challenges and opportunities related to the AU, its institutions, and programs. Research strengthens our work, helps us to evaluate our impact and reach and contributes to the exchange of policy ideas. Our broader goal is to achieve award-winning (news and broadcast) analysis and reports, papers, books and other research outputs that will be vital resources for leaders and policy-makers in government, the private sector, and civil society.

How does AU Watch change policy?

AU Watch generates ideas and fosters debate on policy issues facing the AU and AUMS. We promote constructive engagement with the leadership of the AU and AUMS.

We provide an essential forum, for navigating the bewildering world of African politics within Africa’s foremost institution by galvanizing our uniquely influential network of journalists, regional scholarsand leaders to shape the AU we all want – a people-centered AU.

Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished scholars, we form networks, advance policy debate and generate ideas for a new and changed AU. Conducting an active agenda of research and publishing, organising events, and giving practical development assistance, AU Watch’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with regional and international CSOs, governments, development, policy, business and academic communities around Africa and the world. Through our media and communication work, we are dedicated to bringing information and analysis to those who make or influence policy on the AU, and to assisting the AU and AUMS in promoting regional security, democracy, rule of law, good governance, human rights, sustainable development, and peace.AU Watch shapes policy choices and strategies to create a more secure and prosperous Africa.

AU Watch engages sub-regional bodies, the private sector, civil society and its dynamic membership in open debate and confidential discussions on the most significant developments inside the AU. Our organising power attracts African leaders and the best practitioners in their respective fields from across the Africa and beyond. Our objective is to build a more secure, peaceful, and prosperous Africa through independent analysis and action addressing critical regional challenges.

How are ordinary citizens involved in AU Watch policy issues?

The global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1-5 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September of 2015, focusing on basic human rights issues long enshrined in the UN Declaration on Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and subsequent African Union legal instruments, and Goal 16 of the SDG acknowledges that rights are empty unless citizens can participate in decisions affecting them and can enforce their rights through an accessible system of justice. That is the vision of the AU itself: An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena.”

Our education, media, communication and outreach programs provide a platform for citizens to join in the AU debate and project, empowering all of us not only to ask questions of our leaders and take control of our own lives, but also to demand social justice and to ensure that all of us contribute to the AU dream of a truly united, peaceful and prosperous Africa. Our scholars and analysts not only conduct independent research and analysis on a wide range of policy and practical issues, our army of youths, volunteers and other experts ensure that practical projects and programs are executed with the aim of assisting the AU to achieve its objectives.  AU Watch provides a platform for people to ask questions of the AU and to contribute to the debate as to the type of AU they want, if they want it all.

How does AU Watch hope to effect changes at both the AU and country level?

Using all means possible – from radio, blogs, podcast, news and academic journals, Web features, op-eds and TV appearances, to conferences, research reports, speaking engagements, and books — AU Watch works vigorously to present citizens with incisive and understandable analysis of the work of the AU, its institutions and programs.

We also use the New Media social media, mobile phone services and a host of other activities to build knowledge, and bring aboutshifts in attitudes, norms and behaviour, in the relevant areas of AU interventions. AU Watch is a platform for engaging Africa’s policy chiefs, and for the AU and AUMS, to explain to the people what they are doing, and why they are doing, whatever they say they are doing.

How is AU Watch hoping to use the space open to it at the AU?

We offer the AU a space to engage in public and private dialogue with some of Africa’s most excluded and vulnerable communities – people who are often excluded from decision-making. In that regard we are campaigning for the elected Chairperson of the AU, on being elected to that high office, to give an Africa-wide 45 minutes televised ‘State of the Union Address to Africa’, to tell us about his or her programs and policy for Africa for the next one year. We hope that the ‘State of the Union Address to Africa’ will become an institutional event, wherein the Chairperson will tell us, every year, his or her plan for the following year and what had been achieved the previous year, including challenges.

Similarly, we offer Africa’s youths and the general public, but especially some of Africa’s most excluded communities a platform to question the AU and hold those in power to account. Our publications, television, radio and digital programs engage officials and people in open debates and discussions and encourage communication across political, ethnic, religious and other social divides.

 

 AU Watch is a practical organisation – what does that mean?

As a practical organisation, 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 well-being, 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.

Do you give grants to individuals and organisations?

We sometimes do. 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 organisations – we empower people to understand and claim their rights, make informed choices and improve their outlook on life.

We like making a practical difference in the lives of people. 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 on 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 Members to achieve the goal of serving vulnerable communities through sustainable community development.

What types of practical programs will AU Watch establish to achieve its objectives?

AU Watch has established the following flagship programs and projects:

We are collaborating with leading academic institutions to publish a peer review journal specifically on the AU – the ‘Journal of African Studies on the African Union’; Our monthly news magazine ‘AU Watch News’,provides news, interviews, articles, op-eds, authoritative analysis and up-to-date commentary on current topics and matters.

For more information about how we work, click here or see our Handbook.

  • We publish a Yearbook on human rights called AU Watch, ‘State of the Union (SOTU): Human Rights’, where we review the human rights landscape for the past year.

 

 

  • We publish a Yearbook on media freedom called Africa Freedom Index,where we review the media landscape for the past year and list offending countries accordingly.

 

  • We publish a development Yearbook called AU Watch, ‘State of the Union (SOTU): Development’, where we review the economic and development landscape for the past year.

 

  • We publish a ‘Regional Corruption Index’ magazine, outlining corruption in Africa and the measures states are taking to combat it.

 

  • We publish a ‘Regional Insecurity Index’ magazine, outlining how fragile and conflict-affected countries are combating human insecurity.

 

  • Our AU Watch On-line Radio’ provides news, information on AU programs and activities, interviews, talk shows, entertainment, commentaries, authoritative analysis and up-to-date commentary on current topics and matters. All AU Watch chapters have an online radio or an FM radio outfit. Our ‘AU Watch Internet TV’provides twenty-four-hour news and feature programs and information on AU and AUMS programs and activities, interviews, entertainment, commentaries, authoritative analysis and up-to-date commentary on current topics and matters.

 

  • AU Watch is an ‘AU Watch Portal’ or a gateway for information about the AU. An ‘AU Watch App’ can be downloaded or uploaded into phones and computers. The App gives information, news, analysis and announcements about everything about the AU.

 

  • We also operate an ‘AU Watch Portal’ online knowledge resource hub with the objective of increasing the availability, accessibility, and use of materials on the AU and on African issues generally. The Portal will have an open access digital library with thousands of publications on AU and African issues

 

  • To establish an ‘AU Watch Institute for the Study of Human Rights and Development in Africa’ as a trans-disciplinary centre of excellence for regional and international academic research, teaching and critical scholarship on human rights and development.

 

  • To set up the ‘NGO Forum on the (African) Summit of Heads of State and Government.’ At the margins of every Summit and for three days before the policy organs meet, AU Watch will organise an NGO forum, bringing together various NGOs to strengthen cooperation on democratic values, defend common interests, and debate the major issues facing the continent, and which are of importance to the African people.

 

  • AU Watch library will house some of the largest collection of specialist materials on the AU and African affairs in the Abuja, Nigeria. The collections will be digitally archived and searchable.

 

  • Over time, each chapter will establish a library which will offer various educational and academic services in each country.

 

  • We have created and sponsoring the ‘Nelson Mandela Academy for Leadership in African Affairs’ with a view of assisting the AU and its States Parties to develop a new generation of leaders capable of crafting innovative responses to the most pressing challenges facing Africa. Nelson Mandela, in our view, represents the highest values and ideals of humanity – freedom, equality, tolerance, compassion, and putting society above self.

 

  • AU Watch shall establish the ‘Kwame Nkrumah Unity Museums’, and Julius Nyerere Galleries in the different Chapters. Is it not a tragedy that the AU does not have a museum that captures the history, politics and culture of the AU and AUMS? The museums will collect, conserve, and interpret Africa’s historical, political and cultural heritage to enable individuals, organisations and states to take part in creative and enjoyable learning experiences.

For further information, see AU Watch policy document, ‘Structure of Media Freedom Index Yearbook.

For further information, see AU Watch policy document, ‘Structure of the Human Rights Yearbook.

For further information, see AU Watch policy document, ‘Structure of the Development Rights Yearbook.

How does AU Watch approach its media and advocacy Work?

We understand that the media can be a useful and powerful tool not only to confront human rights violations and address issues like insecurity, governance, democracy, poverty and ignorance, but can also be an indispensable medium in bringing the AU and its programs to the people who need it the most.

Through our comprehensive media, outreach and education programs and activities, we raise awareness, expand and disseminate information and understanding of AU affairs.  AU Watch is working toward owning its own 24-hours digital / satellite TV station. It is also working toward every Chapter owning its own FM or online radio.

 

What are some of the advocacy and media activities?

In an era of sound bites and partisanship, we remain dedicated to providing clear, thoughtful, and independent analysis on vital public policy issues on the AU and its Member States. Using all means at its disposal — from New Media, social media, adverts, AU Watch Online radios, blogs, news and academic journals, web features, op-eds and AU Watch’s own TV, to seminars, conferences, research reports, speaking engagements and books — we work tirelessly  to present citizens with incisive and understandable analysis of the work of the AU, its institutions and programs.

In the 55 African countries, where operate, we run hundreds of private and public events – conferences, workshops and round tables, interviews with leading AU personalities, seminars, yearly schools athletics, football and other sports competitions, press conferences / briefings, schools / colleges debating competitions, moot court competitions for schools and colleges, spelling competitions for junior and senior schools and radio and TV debates on all AU matters.

For more information about how AU Watch media and communication work,click here or readAU Watch Media Handbook and AU Watch Media Strategy.

How is AU Watch an advocacy organisation?

As an advocacy, campaigning and outreach organisation, we run huge campaigns from climate change, anti-corruption, LGBT rights to campaigns for governments to create employments and support small business. We are also reaching out to Africa’s policy and state managers to improve the political and legislative terrain in which CSOs work and media professionals’ work, as they are a crucial plank in developing people’s capacity to make informed choices and changing minds and attitudes.

We run campaigns that seek to engage children and youth in the work of the AU. We are now developing curricula for primary, secondary and tertiary levels on 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 and owning our history and how our own systems work as well!

What are your target groups?

Women; youths; human rights and social justice; education; free and independent media; governance, rule of Law and security; development and small businesses.

I am tired of Africa and the broken promises of our leaders. How can I be involved?

If you are tired of the broken dreams and promises;

If you are tired of the lies and deception;

If you are tired of seeing your children go to bed hungry every day;

If you are tired of seeing your loved ones die because your government has failed to provide the necessary health facilities;

If you are tired of seeing the millions of children out of school, many of them forced to be beggars;

If you are tired of seeing our youths die in the Mediterranean Sea or North African desert;

If you are tired of senseless conflicts, tired of insecurity;

If you are tired of being afraid of the ever-present terrorist menace;

If you are tired of greedy and corrupt politics;

If you are tired of the loot by big business and corrupt state leaders;

If you are tired of climate change and its effects and the lack of response from our managers; If you are tired of poverty, lack of opportunities, lack of education, social injustice and exclusion;

If you are tired of human rights violations, injustice, poor governance and corruption;

If you are tired of …….  (fill in the blanks as it affects you);

Then come join our cause. Simply put, the way theAU and AUMS project work is just unacceptable. Come join us to overthrow the system, turn it upside down and inside out. Come join us to reclaim the OAU/AU project and make 2063 a living reality. Go to our website or call your nearest AU Watch office to how you can contribute to a better Africa.  

How many countries do you work in?

AU Watch has a presence in The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Canada, the UK, Canada and the US. We hope to have a physical presence in all 55 countries in Africa.

For more information on where we work, click here.

I know a community who are in desperate need – can you help?

 

Due to the scale of the challenges in the region, realistically AU Watch cannot reach everyone it would like to reach.

We address many of the problems of our communities through our model of empowering communities to demand from their governments and (sub) regional organisations the promises they have made to us.

 

Does AU Watch work in emergencies?

AU Watch is an organisation, specialising in long-term political, economic and social solutions. We are not properly set up to respond to large scale emergency situations.

However, this is an area our Governing Council is working on to see how AU Watch can use its regional presence and extensive networks to exercise more leverage. However, if an emergency occurs in a region where we are already working, we will assist relief efforts in whatever way we can.

How do you ensure your projects are sustainable for the long term? Are they?

We disagree with current development model with its emphasis on community development. Go back to your communities and look at all the so-called development projects which have been funded by foreign donors. How sustainable are they? How many hoes, rakes and tillers have funding agencies donated to local communities. Go back and make a list of all the local projects which have survived five years after the donor funding was withdrawn? For whatever reasons, community projects in Africa don’t work. Go back to your community and make a list of all the successful projects and businesses. Are they community owned? Many of them are. We, however, recognise that every community has different needs and face individual challenges.

So, when we have to engage in community projects, like putting up solar panels, we do that in collaboration with communities to develop solutions most likely to succeed in the long term. Spare parts must be locally available for the solar system, and the community members should not only be trained in maintaining and managing the system, but should be able and willing to bear the costs of repairs.

Our approach is de-emphasising communal ownership of projects and businesses. AU Watch is looking forward to the day, when it will be able to give substantial amounts of funding for single projects to individuals, and in collaboration with the government and members of the local community, work with the individuals over four years before handing over the ‘keys’ of the project or business.

What are the requirements to receive AU Watch grants or loans?

To qualify to receive funding for one of our project’s individuals must be able to prove the following:

  • Longevity of the project or business.
  • Capacity of growth of the project or business, over say, five years.
  • Employment capacity of the project or business.
  • The project or business must be able to transfer skills and knowledge.
  • The project must be capable of being replicated by other members of the community.
  • The project must not only prove its corporate socially responsibility, but also have a built-in policy and practice of corporate philanthropy.

We also conduct post-implementation studies that monitor functionality and the use of facilities, and gain insight from these. Through the insights such studies provide us, we continually work to improve the sustainability of the services our partners deliver.

Read more about what we do and how we deliver for our communities.

Why do you work in the countries you do, and not in others where there is need?

With over more than half a billion Africans in need of everything, including good governance, AU Watch is not that presumptuous to assume it can to solve problems alone. For now, AU Watch has offices in seven countries.

The job of providing, for example, clean drinking water, decent health facilities and education for our communities, are the responsibilities not of CSOs and NGOs, or foreign governments, but our own governments. It is because our governments are inept that we are where we find ourselves today. The objective of AU Watch is to have a physical presence in every African country.

 

Are you a religious organisation?

No. We also do not accept money or gifts from any religious organisation. We however, gratefully accept support from religious community groups and partner with religious organisations in country programmes.

Why do the communities need to pay for some of the services themselves?

Services cannot and should not be free. It costs a lot of money to bring for example clean drinking water to an area. For those (like people who are disabled and cannot work or advanced in years with no pension or other source of income) who cannot afford some of our services, there are arrangements to accommodate such groups.

Please see your local AU Watch Chapter or local AU Watch group for more information. For any service to be sustainable it requires investments from users to cover costs of parts, repairs and salaries for community members who are elected to manage it. Paying for services also helps create responsibility and ownership of them within a community. All AU Watch projects are equitable and inclusive. This ensures that tariffs are graded so that everyone can afford to pay them and use the facilities, regardless of gender, disability or any other factor. Those who are unable to afford any grade of tariff usually agree upon other ways to contribute.

Why don’t the people demand better services from their government?

In Africa, many people are ignorant of their rights. But even if they were not, because of corruption, mismanagement and ineptitude, resources that should be targeted to help communities often don’t reach the people.

Corruption is the single biggest obstacle to development. Often, poor communities are marginalised and not aware of their entitlements to basic services. At AU Watch we tell and share stories. We empower people to tell and share stories about their lives and experiences. 

I don’t understand Agenda 2063. How does AU Watch fit into that program?

In January 2014, the Chairperson of the AU predicted in “an Email from the Future”, written to a fictional Kwame what Africa will look like in 2063, at the time of the 100-year Anniversary of the OAU /AU project.

It was a bold, positive, optimistic and confident message. With an ‘Email from the Future’ she had the audacity to light the flames of hope in a continent plagued with self-inflicted wounds. She made us hopeful. She asked us to keep the faith and hold the fort. As Harriet Tubman said, she dared us to dream, to “remember, that we have within us the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” She dared us to believe in a resurgent and reformed Africa, a reformed AU, to be optimistic that, even if not in our time, that better days are ahead for our children. Hope was reborn. Delivering her pitch from a hotel in Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar, she painted a vision too good to be believable – an Africa flowing with milk and honey. It seemed to be a vision straight out of the fabled Judeo-Christian philosophy and tradition. Like Eleanor Roosevelt she wanted us to embrace hope, to believe that “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  She wanted us to dream of a better tomorrow.

Hope is a good thing – such a beautiful word!

 

By then South Sudan, Libya, Mali, the Great Lakes Region and their likes, and the endless Boko Haram’s of the continent would have beaten their swords into plough shears, the Confederation of African States will have been established in 2051, with integration driven by the African youth. By then we suppose, Africa would be enjoying visa-free travel to many places around the world and no more perilous back way travel to Europe by our youths in search of greener pastures. And why not? As a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council and the third largest economy, we would be the envy of the world. Monies in our wallets and purses to burn in Europe and America! Inter-African trade would have grown to nearly 50% by 2045 (from 12% in 2013) and business would be booming and dominated by Pan-African commercial giants in banking and finance, mining, food and beverages, tourism, construction, fisheries and ICT. We suppose, Africa might even be loaning out monies to countries in Asia and the West and those less fortunate than us! The magic would be in the masterful handling of our economies, as we would have consigned greed, corruption, inequality, human rights violations, poor governance and the ‘Tower of Babel’ languages to the dustbin of African history. With our very own lingua franca – Kiswahili, we would even be more loving as we spread our chocolate-like affection all over the place. We suppose even the lame would be made to walk, the speechless talk, the deaf hear as African medicine and pharmaceuticals would be second to none in the world. Shangri-La? She said it! With our expert analysis covering a wide range of issues, you be the judge!

 

 

Should Africa believe her after so many failed and broken promises by the O/AU?

If Only there were positive signs and movements from the AU and its Member States, that we could end the senseless fratricidal conflicts of South Sudan and their likes;

 

If Only there were positive signs and movements from the AU and its Member States, that we could get our ‘girls and boys back from the malevolent clutches of the Boko Harams menace;

 

If Only there were concrete signs and movements from the AU and its Member States for seriously addressing the defining challenges of our time – lack of opportunities for our youths, poor governance, extreme inequality, injustice, insecurity, corruption, climate change and human rights violations;

 

If Only the AU can get its Member States to start living up to their broken promises by signing, ratifying, domesticating and implementing the plethora of brilliant legal instruments they have passed within the last 50 years;  

 

If Only the AU can get its Member States to lead by example, by paying fully for all its programs and activities, instead of being donor dependent – sending the wrong message to our youths that the West has money, and they should give it to us; 

 

Then maybe an African Shangri-La is a possibility. Then maybe, we can dare to believe, we can dare to be optimistic and do a jig in the comfortable embrace of hope!

 

But until then, if like us you are disappointed and simply feeling let down by AU state system and the O/AU/AU project;

 

Then come join our cause. Simply put, the way the OAU /AU project works is just unacceptable. Come join us to overthrow the system, turn it upside down and inside out. Come join us to reclaim the OAU/AU project and make 2063 a living reality. 

 

What is the relationship between Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 targets?

Agenda 2030 is the UN plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It is a call to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. AU Watch’s vision is of an Africa where human rights, democracy, good governance and universal education means exactly what they are – where every child, woman, and man understand his or her rights and is able to demand that such rights are upheld. Agenda 2063 is the AU’s approach of how the continent should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway, and strategically exploit all possibilities available in the short, medium and long term, so as to ensure positive socio-economic transformation within the next 50 years.

 

How are you going to help achieve Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 targets?

Achieving these goals is as much a political challenge as a technical or financial one. AU Watch was formed because we are of the view that the AU and AUMS have failed us. We simply cannot trust them to get the job done. AU Watch’s approach is to combine practical work with policy work to make lasting change happen. In our projects, individuals and communities are involved from day one, working with our local partners to design and build the most sustainable solutions.  At AU Watch, we believe that there is a need for widespread system change – a compete restructuring of the AU and the AU System. That calls for the humility to acknowledge that there are deep structural problems within the AU system. At AU Watch we acknowledge the complexity of the problems Africa is facing, and the solutions to fix such challenges. This requires that the solutions of Africa should come from all of us.  If we are to make progress, it should be through multi-pronged strategies that reinforce one another, are sustained over time, and reflect a comprehensive understanding of the major forces driving and constraining change – namely corruption, poor governance, human rights violations and social injustice.

 

Yes 2030 is just around the corner and nothing has changed for millions of Africans. For many of us we may never see the fabled 2063. However, if Africa must resemble the fairy land of milk and honey, then all of us need to grab the AU project out of the hands of our state managers. At AU Watch we love to see change like the cotton or baobab tree. The persons who sows the seeds, tender to the young and fledging trees, prune their branches, are different from those who will ultimately enjoy the shade. Let’s just do our part and pass on the baton of progress.

 

 

 

You tell stories to help achieve the goals of Agenda 2063. How?

Part of the answer is to tell and share our stories. We tell and share stories about the lives of the peoples of Africa. We tell and share the stories of individuals and communities struggling to make a living in Africa because of the incompetence of our state managers. We tell and share stories about how Africa’s political hyenas have stolen our goats and sheep, thereby, ensuring that families do not have the resources to get their children to school. We tell and share stories about how Africa’s political and economic vultures are nibbling away at resources that should fund the health sector, infrastructure, schools … (you can fill in the blanks). But we also tell stories about the history, politics, culture, and languages of Africa. We are committed to understanding and advancing a wider understanding, especially at the regional level, what our state managers are doing, whatever they say they are doing on our behalf. We are committed to ensuring that the African peoples have a say, and approve whatever programs our AU political class come up with on our behalf.

 

AU Watch is an interactive platform that allows all of us to connect with our policy chiefs and influence the way we are governed. We seek not only to tell and share our stories, but also to empower people and communities to have the power to claim their basic human rights, to escape poverty, injustice, and misrule. Through our comprehensive education, media, communication, outreach, human rights programs, events and activities, we seek to empower ourselves to have the knowledge and power to challenge the political hyenas and economic vultures who in the dead of night, and recently in broad daylight, come to steal our goats!

How effective could story telling be?

Change can only happen when everyone who is affected has a seat at the table and has an opportunity to speak and influence change. Our strategy is what we would love to refer to as the “mobilisation of the masses” – a kind of ‘voxpopuli!’ The manner the AU and AUMS are structured make the masses the only force capable of challenging the status quo. The mobilisation of the masses and the release of their ‘combative potential’ is a basic necessity for effecting change at both the national and regional level.

When enough of us shout from our roof tops, our schools and our workplaces, the AU and its Members have no alternative but to listen! When enough of us shout loud enough that we are tired of the broken promises, tired of being poor, tired of bad governance, corruption and human rights violations, tired of staring into the abyss of hopelessness, our leaders have no alternative but to listen and effect the changes we want! When enough of our young girls shout out loud enough that they want to be in enrolled in school and stay in school till they are 18, our leaders have no alternative but to listen! When enough of our mothers, fathers, youths, young men and women shout out loud enough that they want a decent education and jobs after school, decent health facilities, decent infrastructure, decent housing, our leaders have no alternative but to listen and effect the changes we want! When enough of us say that we are tired of being reminded that “in the abundance of water the fool is thirsty,” our leaders will have no alternative but to listen.

How is AU Watch Funded?

Our mission to help improve policy and decisions of the AU and AU Member States through research, analysis advocacy and practical assistance is truly exceptional among CSOs in Africa. We receive generous donations and sponsorships from individuals, foundations, leading corporations, foreign government agencies that share our commitment on the work we do on the AU and AUMS and related issues. Our supporters value the quality, independence, and impact of our work.

Our work would not be possible without the support of our donors – governments, foundations, corporations and individuals. Your gift helps us to deliver fact-based, actionable solutions anchored in rigorous research and analysis. Your assistance to our media, communication, advocacy and outreach programs ensure that we reach millions of disadvantaged people to understand their rights and are able to claim them.

For details of how AU Watch intends to fund all of its activities, please see our fundraising Guide.All contributions must conform to AU Watch’s beliefs, policies and

What benefits are available to AU Watch staff?

We offer a range of competitive employee benefits, including 25 days annual leave plus public holidays, (full time staff) with the opportunity to purchase additional days, flexible working, generous employer pension contributions and access to AU Watch’s online discounts portal shop. We also offer onsite language classes, as well as annual Christmas and summer social events.

In addition, we frequently hold interesting lunchtime talks which provide an opportunity to learn from colleagues. We support employees in their professional development by offering training courses and learning opportunities.

What is it like to work for AU Watch?

AU Watch applies our mission of care and protection to those who fulfil it—our staff. We are committed to promoting their safety and wellness, and to providing them with an environment of respect in which to work.

We value the diversity of our staff and recognises that our work is best accomplished through the true collaboration of individuals from many cultures with a great variety of skills and perspectives. In support of this core value, AU Watch maintains and enforces policies to foster relationships that respect the dignity and worth of each individual.

We uphold our policies in accordance with principles of international and regional law and codes of good conduct, and we affirm that all AU Watch staff members are responsible for promoting fundamental human rights, social justice, human dignity and the equality of men, women and children. IRC staff must treat every person without distinction on the basis of his or her race, gender, religion, colour, national or ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation, age or disability. AU Watch welcomes applications from all qualified candidates, including and especially women.

The AU Watch Way

Staff of AU Watch must adhere to the values and principles outlined in the AU Watch Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, AU Watch operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.