Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF) of Tanzania has been named winner of the 2013 ONE Africa Award.
The announcement was made today by ONE’s Africa Director (http://www.one.org), Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, at a ceremony held at the UN Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The ceremony, which was attended by ONE co-founder Bono, Board Chairman Tom Freston and CEO Michael Elliott, took place at the Africa Media Leaders Forum.
Now in its sixth year, the annual $100,000 USD prize celebrates the innovations and progress made by African civil society organisations towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa.
“The ONE Award is an incredible opportunity for us at ONE to shine a spotlight on some the most innovative Africa-led, Africa-driven efforts and initiatives by civil society organizations that are working hard to build a better future for African citizens. These organizations often tie public service delivery efforts to robust advocacy tactics so that systemic change can be achieved,” Dr. Moyo said, while announcing the winner.
ANSAF is a network of non-state stakeholders in Tanzania’s agricultural sector that brings the voices of struggling smallholder farmers to the policy-making table. The organization monitors Tanzania’s agricultural budget and advocates for the government to allocate 10% of its national budget to agricultural and rural development in accordance with the 2003 Maputo Declaration.
ANSAF is also using cashew nuts to develop an advocacy model aimed at improving the entire value chain of agriculture in the country. Tanzania was once one of the world’s leading exporters of cashew nuts. Regaining this position could contribute significantly to curbing poverty in rural areas that produce the nuts.
“The work ANSAF is doing to give smallholder farmers a seat at the policy table and to use the cashew industry as a model for finding the right solutions to increasing agricultural productivity and finding markets for that produce, holds enormous promise for the economy of Tanzania. We’re proud to partner with them and with our board member Howard Buffett, who has dedicated much of his life to agriculture development and funds this special award,” said Michael Elliott.
Accepting the trophy from Tom Freston, ANSAF’s Executive Director Audax Rukonge said:
“This is Award is for Tanzanian and African smallholder farmers who work had to ensure Africa has enough food to feed the nations.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Bono described the information revolution taking place in Ethiopia and around the world, and how it is empowering civil society organisations to hold governments to account.
“The quality of governance depends on the quality of civil society, ” he said. “And the quality of civil society depends on the quality, the accuracy, and the relevance of information,” Bono added.
He also spoke about ONE’s work with civil society organizations campaigning for transparency to fight corruption:
“Transparency plus insight equals transformation. Capital flight is always at night, in the dark. Phantom companies, with more wealth than some governments, can’t stand the daylight that would unmask who owns them. Corporate and government corruption is killing more kids than any disease. But there is a vaccine, and it is information. It’s transparency.”
Addressing the Africa Media Leaders Forum, which hosted the ceremony, Bono spoke out on the importance of media freedom and commented:
“To try and pretend the revolution in information technology isn’t happening is like King Canute putting his hand up to try and stop the waves. They can’t be stopped, they are tidal waves. I would encourage this government, which has done such incredible work on human development, to surf these waves. Not to fear journalism, but to encourage it.”
Two hundred and fifty-seven NGOs from across Africa entered this year’s competition for the prestigious award. Previous winners include Positive-Generation (PG) of Cameroon in 2012; Groupe de Réflexion et d’action, Femme Démocratie et Développement (GF2D) of Togo in 2011; SEND-Ghana of Ghana in 2010; Slums Information Development and Resources Centres (SIDAREC) of Kenya in 2009; and Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS) of Nigeria in 2008.