Africa 2.0 and Ashoka
News • Europe
January 31, 2022
Matching Spain’s first network of African diaspora leaders with social entrepreneurs in Africa

The power of partnership is at the core of our new action with Africa 2.0 Spain, supported by Ashoka. This action will create the first network of African diaspora leaders in Spain and match them with social entrepreneurs in Africa in order to drive growth and impact on the continent and in Spain.

In December, Elvina and Aurelie travelled to Madrid to kick-start a new Capacity Development Lab action, this time with Africa 2.0 Spain and Ashoka. Working together – with added support from EUDiF – the partners will create and empower a network of African diaspora leaders in Spain by combining Africa 2.0 Spain’s network with Ashoka’s extensive experience in searching for and bringing together key changemakers and social entrepreneurs around the world.

Africa 2.0 Spain and Ashoka were motivated to work together by their shared belief that diaspora can play a co-leading role in the transformations required by their countries of origin and residence. The two organisations seek to enhance diaspora contributions by creating Spain’s first network for African diaspora leaders focused on social change. The network members will be matched with social entrepreneurs in Africa to share ideas, experiences and skills. At the heart of the network’s inception and future will be mentoring and networking opportunities, powerful processes for change.

The support from our Capacity Development Lab action serves as an opportunity to catalyse the collaboration between the Spanish chapter of Africa 2.0 – a global network of diaspora professionals who share the ambition to contribute to the economic growth of African countries – and Ashoka, ​who pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship and are now building towards an “Everyone a Changemaker world”: where everybody has the confidence, access and support to co-lead solutions for the common good. 

The action at a glance

This inspiring partnership action will see 10 diaspora leaders matched with social entrepreneurs in Africa in a bi-directional mentoring programme. From February until November 2022, there will be a series of activities which we see as the essential building blocks for establishing a network and mentoring scheme, starting with:

  • Mapping and selection of African diaspora leaders in Spain
  • Community building events and workshops for the first cohort of diaspora leaders
  • Putting in place a mentoring monitoring and evaluation system

For more details on the action and an overview of the activities, check out the action info sheet:

The people behind the project

Diaspora engagement is all about people, and each EUDiF action is proposed, designed and driven by passionate people in government institutions and diaspora organisations. The action with Africa 2.0 Spain and Ashoka is no exception, but, because of Covid-19, it is one of the rare actions for which we have been able to meet the people behind the scenes in person. The kick-off meetings in Madrid were a wonderful opportunity to connect with our partners and get to know each other beyond the confines of a Zoom meeting.

Each meeting was an opportunity to better understand our partners’ respective needs, interests, resources and opportunities. They were also moments to celebrate the work of the partners and appreciate how social entrepreneurship, innovation, migration and development intersect time and again. We were lucky enough to meet Ashoka fellow José Bausita of Por Causa, an organisation using journalism to make a difference to the media representation of migrants. We also met Ashoka colleague Kenny Clewitt of Hello Europe who is developing innovation hubs focused on supporting refugees. 

Meeting some of the Africa 2.0 Spain board was also a great chance to understand the long-term vision of the organisation to support and enhance African entrepreneurship as a way to create jobs on the continent. Africa 2.0 believes African leaders have the potential to find and implement sustainable solutions that can promote transformation on the continent. Former Ambassador to Ecuador and the United States, Africa 2.0 Spain’s President of the Board Antonio Oyarzábal emphasised the challenge of identifying strong leaders, but the need to do so. This challenge is the rationale behind including mentoring to empower diaspora leaders as part of the network’s core services.

As the action enters the operational phase, at EUDiF we are particularly excited to explore how the multidirectional nature of mentoring will impact the diaspora leaders as well as the social entrepreneurs. We see great learning potential in strengthening diaspora-focused mentoring practices, as well as how to build remote and multi-country networks. Watch this space!

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