Dear Esteemed Members,
I would, first and foremost, like to convey my earnest greetings for the New Year 2017 and wish you all a happy and prosperous year full of success, good health and fulfillment in all that you undertake in your individual and organizational capacities.
The year 2016 marked a turning point in the history of the African Democracy Forum (ADF) whereby members, as a whole, re-focused their energies towards reviving and strengthening the organisation due to the realization of the important role it has to play with regard to Democracy and Human Rights in Africa. I would therefore like to commend and appreciate each and every one of you for sharing in the commitment and contributing to the success of our ultimate mission and vision.
Since the General Assembly in May 2016 in which new Management Committee (M.C) members were elected, several steps have been actively taken by the committee in partnership with various stakeholders to begin the revitalization phase and re-establish the image of the African Democracy Forum. Leila Kaitesi, assistant to the M.C Chairperson Dr. Joseph Nkurunziza, was brought on board to help coordinate the activities of the ADF Secretariat from mid-August 2016. This has been continuously done in consultation with management committee members as pertains to their scope of reference.
We began by re-establishing ADF’s online presence through the website, social media platforms and active email channels through which members and other stakeholders can communicate to us. Reviving of the ADF website www.africademocracyforum.org entailed changing the face and design of the site into a more user friendly interface as well as inputting relevant content with regard to what we do and our vision and mission as an organisation. This also included the addition of an online application form which interested parties can easily access to join ADF. We posted various Human Rights and Democracy based articles and released official ADF statements on matters arising across the continent on the official website.
The social media platforms i.e. Facebook African Democracy Forum, Twitter @AfriDemocracy and LinkedIn African Democracy Forum were also rebooted and have been actively sharing news and alerts on democracy and human rights related issues in Africa. We also developed a single list server and members’ database based on previously existing records to create a unified and harmonized register for ease of tracking and communication. Additionally, members and other stakeholders have been receiving weekly updates on democracy and human rights issues through our weekly newsletter: African Democracy Weekly. The ADF has also worked in conjunction with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on the online discussions regarding the civil society’s right to access resources which has not only served as a source of information but also an opportunity for ADF to engage further with civil society organisations across the continent.
Despite the gains and improvements that have been made so far, there is still need for further engagement and cooperation. There are prevailing challenges that continue to exist in Africa with regards to democracy and human rights therefore we must be alert, aware and stand firm to promote democratic principles and protect human rights wherever they are under threat. The ADF, being a membership organisation, relies heavily on the input of our members for its success. It is in this regard that we commend the cooperation that has so far been witnessed among our members and urge that we continue in the same spirit and increase our joint efforts towards achieving our common goals through sharing of information, best practices, technical expertise and financial support. Kindly share your feedback on our activities, suggestions on areas of focus and briefs on emerging issues in your respective countries through our email address firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and our various social media platforms mentioned above.
With these remarks, I would like to express our gratitude for your tremendous support in the year 2016 and also wish all our members and stakeholders, a year full of success and prosperity as you embark on the activities that you have set out for the year. I look forward to continuous engagement and interaction throughout the year so as to have a more active, informed and effective African Democracy Forum.
Dr. Joseph R. Nkurunziza
African Democracy Forum