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Africa Action advocates for democracy

Thursday September 3 2009

Thank you for citing Africa Action in the article entitled "Africa’s big men mess up and pay image cleaners in Washington."

Democracy in Africa is a work in progress, however, it is intrinsic to the goal of human security on the continent. For 56 years, Africa Action has promoted the interests of families and communities across the continent whether against colonialism, brutal dictators, racist apartheid, de facto one-party states and corrupt governments.

In this article, Africa’s Big Men Mess Up and Pay Image Cleaners in Washington”, the author describes the bustling business on K Street and lobbyists backing US foreign policy guided by the United States' own perceived strategic interests.

Fortunately, there are a few organisations on the other side of the street (figuratively and literally). While the article published last week correctly cites Africa Action as the oldest organisation in the US working on US-Africa policy, the truth of the matter is that Africa Action, a nonprofit organisation, has never accepted government or corporate funding. It is supported exclusively by activists based in the US.

Africa Action works in partnership with activists and civil society organisations throughout the United States and in Africa to support African struggles for peace and development.

In 2008, Africa Action renewed their call for the US to support Kenyan democracy, not by hiring lobbyists on K Street, but rather direct advocacy driven by a grassroots community, who are committed to mobilising for political, economic and social justice in Africa by reshaping US Africa relations.

African civil society organisations continue to struggle to advance good governance, economic fairness and social justice. Often they don’t have the means to hire large and powerful lobby firms to make their case. Africa Action attempts to create a platform to raise unheard voices in US foreign policy.

Through partnership, advocacy, public education and mobilisation, driven by a grassroots community, it is possible to achieve democracy and human rights across Africa.

MICHAEL STULMAN
Associate Director, Policy and Communications, Africa Action