Interview with Ebrima Sall, Advisory Board Member

As much as we understand the world to be our oyster, our roots remain stemmed in Africa where many return to fulfil their life’s purpose. One such individual is Executive Director of TrustAfrica and CAPSI Advisory Board member, Ebrima Sall.

Advisory board member - Ebrima Sall Ebrima’s career journey started when he completed his higher education in France, where he was exposed to different branches of economics and sociology. He counts this experience as being the catalyst for his involvement in youth-led movements, which stirred his curiosity in the potential for Africa’s development. When the time to return to his home country of The Gambia arrived, Ebrima took the opportunity to apply the lessons from his academic learning to community-level programmes in agriculture and microfinance.

This provided him with a means to impart basic education and knowledge management to community leaders whom he interacted with.

Being able to work at an implementation level while still in his younger years, cemented Ebrima’s conviction that young people are key role players in any process of change. He believes that today’s youth have more resources and platforms with which to initiate advocacy in creative ways. He remarks, “I believe the youth is where the energy is and where hope should be; the better we can communicate with the youth and provide them with the support that they need, the better the chances for all of Africa.”

In furthering his career, Ebrima transitioned into research and policymaking spaces and sharpened his expertise as a researcher. His experience as a development practitioner – and influenced by the change that he could enable through this – led him to channel his efforts through organisations and research institutions such as The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) – where he is the immediate outgoing Executive Secretary – The Nordic Africa Institute and Gaston Berger University. In reflection, Ebrima says, “Having good local grounding is absolutely necessary for any researcher. Personally, it has allowed me to become connected with community members and appropriately present their voices and solutions when undertaking research and policy work. Ultimately, development is not something you do for people, but it is a self-emancipatory process. People ought to be given platforms to shape the future they want for themselves, and for Africa.”

When speaking about his hopes for CAPSI, Ebrima is excited for what the future holds for researchers; this being the opportunity to engage with an African lens and approach to issues that will present a dimension of work that could transform the landscape and understanding of philanthropy, whose role in the transformation and development of our continent is crucial. “The name of the centre should spark the purpose and philosophy that we must follow while keeping the evolution and diversity in context.” TrustAfrica has become a key partner to CAPSI in research, developing an African Philanthropy Index, launching the Kisima African Giving Platform and co-organising the African Philanthropy Conference.

He continues, “My message to emerging and aspiring researchers is this: be audacious in your thinking; do not be afraid to question the status quo as this will allow you to gain a deep understanding of and preserve the best of what we have as Africans researching philanthropy; and dream big, for that is the only way to help unlock the full potential of African philanthropy. CAPSI has proven that it is ready to facilitate relations with supporters who are interested in furthering your efforts, therefore engage your work in a way that allows us to connect Africans on the continent and in the diaspora to expand the body of knowledge of African Philanthropy.”

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mott foundation

The Charles mott foundation

An automotive pioneer, philanthropist, and leader in the community, Charles Stewart Mott cared about innovation, fairness, and communities. By working toward a world where each individual’s quality of life is connected to the well-being of the community, both locally and globally, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation continues this legacy.

A founding funder of the Centre, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation supported the establishment of the Chair and continues to support our programmes.

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