TAI Weekly

TAI Weekly |Grantmakers are not prioritizing global democracy

By TAI (Role at TAI)

Dear Readers,Despite authoritarianism’s recent gains, U.S. grantmakers haven’t been prioritizing global democracy work, or peace and security work judging by opinions in the philanthropic press this past week. Funders can and should be attuned to this moment. We need to bolster free society and democratic governance where we can, take advantage of newfound political will to clean out dirty money from our financial systems. More attention from funders is greatly needed.

We will turn to implications of the Ukraine invasion in a moment, but first something to offer some cheer. Check out the inspiring candidates for the People’s Choice Award in Integrity Icon Zimbabwe. For more inspiration, there are great insights in this webinar celebrating 25 years of the Kenya Community Development Foundation.TAI Team

  • Long read of the week!
  • Oligarch assets on the move in the face of KleptoCapture
  • Essential Listening!
  • Silencing dissent: Russia, El Salvador and Nigeria´s “playbook”
  • Oil’s moral reckoning, climate encouraging a new approach…
  • Accountability theatre – the challenges of online governance
  • Tax reforms from the south and several tools to inform tax agreements
  • Get up to speed on your anti-corruption reading – norms and more
  • Essential listening!
  • For non-profits in transition
  • TAI spotlight

Long read of the week!

Olga Boichak is a Ukrainian researcher who studies networks, narratives, and cultures of digitally-mediated grassroots activism. She penned this article on the long history of civic activism that has she argues helped prepare Ukrainians to defend their democracy today.

Oligarch assets on the move in the face of KleptoCapture, welcome beneficial ownership standard  boost and the UAE added to gray list

Staying with the Ukraine impacts, attention is squarely focused on tracing assets of those close to the Russian regime – mega yachts are a particular targetListen to Tom Burgis explain how money is squirreled away in London and similar attractive locales.

Tax Justice Network offer 10 steps to expose hidden assets, while Helen Darbishire and Rachel Hanna call for immediate transparency of company ownership in the EU. Some encouragement on the ownership front as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) finally updated its recommendation 24, strengthening information collection and sharing.

Oliver Bullough foresees an offshore cold war, urging democratic unity, “against transnational kleptocracy.” Matti Kohonen agrees that targeting only Russian oligarchs would be a historic mistake. Some signals of that as the United States Government is launching a KleptoCapture inter-agency task force, and NATO announces a transAtlantic version of the same.

What side of the argument will the United Arab Emirates be on? There are already signs that oligarchs are shifting assets there. Could the fact that FATF just put it on its “grey list” for money laundering risks shift incentives?

Essential Listening!

Suisse Secrets: Podcast laying out case of how the Swiss bank enabled dictators and criminals.

Silencing dissent: Russia, El Salvador and Nigeria´s “playbook” 
One harsh consequence of the Ukraine situation is the snuffing out of any remaining civic space within Russia. The last vestiges of independent media are being wiped out.

Image Credit: I am Als

Too many governments worldwide have become adept at adopting nefarious tactics, strategies, and technologies governments officials use to silence human rights activists and civil society groups. Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri details and denounces the “Security Playbook” used in Nigeria, while Devon Kearney explains El Salvador’s “foreign agent law” is a measure that requires nonprofit groups that engage in political activity to register with the government if they receive money from overseas (Russia’s law was an inspiration.)

Oil´s moral reckoning, climate encouraging a new approach in MENA region, and the right to biodiversity info in Latin America

As major oil companies finally look to sell up their stakes in Russian joint ventures, Alex Gillies argues much more could be done to stop the industry propping up kleptocratsHer article might not be easy reading in an oil dependent MENA region facing daunting challenges resulting from poor governance, inequality, conflict, water shortages, and ecological degradation. Climate change in the Middle East and North Africa will amplify preexisting problems while also creating new disruptions. However, government policies so far have failed both to protect those citizens most vulnerable to climate shocks and to build broad-based resilience.More hopefully in Latin America, the Escazú Agreement offers a framework for management of biodiversity information in megadiverse countries. Available in Spanish, read the dialogue between different government and civil society actors around the challenges in terms of generating, managing and disseminating information on biodiversity in the region.

Accountability theatre – the challenges of online governance

TAI has been digging into transparency of online content moderation late and we loved this geeky but fascinating research on how to make platforms accountable for their decisions. “The scale and speed of online speech means content moderation cannot be understood as simply the aggregation of many (many!) individual adjudications, what this approach produces is accountability theatre rather than actual accountability.” Better to have more a proactive and continuous form of governance than focus on individual error correction.

Perhaps regulation will require it. 43 organisations have called on European leaders to ensure full transparency of debates over the future ruling of our digital environment, including services and marketplaces online.

Tax reforms from the south and several tools to inform tax arrangements

How will last year’s international tax agreements affect real people? This new factsheet from Global Financial Integrity and ACODE includes maps breaking down country participation, gives an overview of the pros and cons of the deal, and recommends actions for African civil society to engage. Pair with this study from the Center for Economic and Social Rights exploring the digital tax deal from a human rights lens. A truly transformative reform should consider the implications of those most affected by the current system.

Get up to speed on your anticorruption readings – norms and more 

Dig in the latest brief from the Corruption, Justice and Legitimacy Program: Social norms in practice. This short guide offers an example of a corrupt behaviour driven by a social norm. It identifies the components of the norm and explains how the norm differs from other social dynamics.

A wealth of great content from USAID’s first-ever Anti-Corruption Evidence and Learning Week from January. Find links to resources and recordings here.

Essential Listening!

Social movement or professional NGO? Can it be both? Don’t miss the podcast Strength & Solidarity, hosted by Akwe Amosu. In this Episode, Cape Town activist Axolile Notywala describes the challenges associated with an organizational approach used by a number of campaigning groups in South Africa.

For non-profits in transition

Here are 9 questions to help you develop an equity mindset. Plus, the Building Movement Project, has released two reports, Making (Or Taking) Space: Initial Themes on Nonprofit Transitions from White to BIPOC Leaders and Trading Glass Ceilings for Glass Cliffs: A Race to Lead Report on Nonprofit Executives of Color. Both reports highlight the unique burdens leaders of color face taking over from white precedessors, and steps funders and others can take to support them. 

TAI spotlight
MacArthur Foundation offers its statement on the invasion of Ukraine. Ford Foundation doubles Number of New Global Fellows Working to Address Inequality. Ford Global Fellowship – Launched in 2020, the program’s aim is to identify, connect and support leaders who are working to address global drivers of inequality.Open Society Foundations commits $25 million to the new Ukraine Democracy Fund to support Ukrainian civil society, international solidarity with Ukraine, and the dignity of those displaced and affected by the conflict. 

Jobs at TAI members

Job postings at Hewlett Foundation – Ongoing

Job postings at MacArthur Foundation – OngoingJob postings at Open Society Foundations – OngoingJob postings at Luminate – OngoingJob postings at Ford Foundation– OngoingJob postings at FCDO – OngoingJob postings at Skoll – Ongoing

Job listingsExecutive Director, Publish what you pay- March 20, 2022Development Officer, Regional Philanthropy, World Wildlife Fund- OngoingResearch ToR: The expected value to Kenyan authorities of citizen-generated data– March 13, 2022Director, Donor Relations & Development, Rights and Resources Initiative-OngoingBusiness and Data Analyst Team Manager at The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) – OngoingOpenings at I-APS – Ongoing           Openings  at National Democratic Institute – OngoingOpenings at The Sentry – OngoingOpenings at Contracting Resources Group– Ongoing 

Calls/OpportunitiesThe Race Equity Culture Fellowship OngoingHive Mind’s Digital Campaigning Basics course– OngoingReimagining Philanthropy e-Learning Program– Monday, March 1st- April 8th, 2022! Pacific Islands Investigative Journalism Opportunities – OngoingFellowship, The Project on Resources and Governance (PRG)– March 31, 2022Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub & Energy and EnvironmentWest Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) call for papers and articles – Open year-roundFree digital security training– OngoingCall for proposals: Informality, tax, and the state – Proposals accepted on a rolling basis              
CalendarAdopting a Movement Mindset course, Rhize– 3 Mar 2022 – 31 Mar 2022Trust between government and citizens: the key to responsiveness? – 22 March 2022SSRI Frontiers of Social Innovation Annual Conference –March 22-24, 2022Environmental Democracy- the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) 29 March, 2022 – 31 March 2022International Convention on  Anti-Corruption, Good Governance, and Human Rights –  April 21-22, 2022 (Boston, MA)United Philanthropy Forum – July 18-20, 2022SVRI Forum – September 19- 23,  2022
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