Afrika Kontakt Strategy 2016 – 2020

The New Afrika Kontakt Strategy

Introduction
Over the last two years Afrika Kontakt has undergone significant changes. The activists and the secretariat have worked tirelessly to achieve the goals of the 2013-2015 strategy. We have started projects in new countries and have grown in activists and supporting members. Manuals and methodological tools have been developed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge within Afrika Kontakt. Furthermore, our political profile has grown stronger and more people have become aware of our work in Denmark thanks to our increased focus on political campaigns and demonstrations. We are therefore a stronger and larger movement than a few years ago. This has opened up new opportunities for our work, but has also brought about new challenges that we must address. As our movement grows and develops, we need to ensure that all activists maintain ownership and an understanding of our movement and continue to build the capacity of the activists and our partnerships. Over the next four years, we also need to find solutions to the economic challenges resulting from the massive cuts in Danish development aid, if we want to safeguard our work and continue to develop as an organisation.

This strategy has been developed through an inclusive process involving activists, the board, and the secretariat from June 2015 to March 2016. This strategy outlines the new organizational decisions and goals for our work in the 2016 to 2020 period. These decisions and goals will define the working agenda of Afrika Kontakt and directly influence the future work of activists, the board, and the secretariat. With this strategy we aim to continue the majority of initiatives begun during the previous strategy (2013-2015), but we will also introduce new initiatives and redefine our current goals. 

Following the implementation of this strategy Afrika Kontakt will:

  • Emphasize and make apparent the ties between the structures that harm democracy and those that generate inequality in Denmark and globally.
  • Create an environment in which Afrika Kontakt can grow and activists can work innovatively.
  • Create opportunities for activism in more locations across Denmark.
  • Increase the focus on establishing a sustainable financial framework that can make us independent from state funding.
  • Base our work on political activism and solidarity with global grassroots movements with shared agendas.

In accordance to the present strategy Afrika Kontakt will no longer:

  • Focus solely on the African continent.
  • Support projects whose local agenda cannot be related to the global political context.

Who we are and what we do:
Afrika Kontakt is a solidarity movement fighting together with other social movements across the globe for structural and political change to eradicate global inequality.
Today a huge amount of power and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few as a result of oppressive political, patriarchal, and economic structures. These structures are underpinned by neoliberal ideology, which undermines the global justice we and our allies fight for. Through these structures, national and global elites, including multinational corporations, have gained widespread control of the world’s resources. This has created an unjust world, where power and wealth are in the hands of a few at the expense of the many, and where the interest of the public is constantly undermined by concerns for economic profit. This has increased poverty and eroded democracy.

In Afrika Kontakt we believe that a more just and equal world is possible - a world where all people have a voice in the political process, and where natural resources and wealth are equitably distributed. A world that puts people and the planet before profits. To fight the current structures of inequality and injustice it is imperative to create an international movement across borders and continents.  We therefore fight in solidarity with activists all over the world to create these systemic changes.   Our solidarity is built upon our long time collaboration with, and knowledge of, the hardship and struggles of social movements in Africa. Through solidarity and campaign work we aim to mobilise people both in Denmark and internationally against the systems creating and upholding inequality, and for people to become conscious of the opportunities for change that arise when we work together.
In this way Afrika Kontakt is an international voice and a solidarity movement of activists who, in collaboration with progressive actors, aim to create a just distribution of the world’s resources and equitable access to power and political decisions.

Vision and mission
Vision
We envision a just world with equal rights, freedoms, and opportunities for all. A world where people and the planet are prioritised over profit, and where the resources of the Earth benefit the majority rather than the minority.
Mission
We fight for system change. We work to create a just distribution of resources and power and just political structures that serve the interests of people rather than the narrow interests of the global elite. Through our engagement with global social movements and networks, and our solidarity work, we contribute to the common struggle for social change and the democratisation of political and economic structures.

Our Values
Our values are the foundation of our daily work. They provide the framework for our way of seeing the world and establishing relations, both internally in Afrika Kontakt and externally when cooperating with other movements and organisations. Our legitimacy depends on whether we act in accordance with our values.
Volunteering as a core principle

We base all our work on voluntarism and activism - our activists carry and develop our movement. 
Activism
Activism is any action aiming to generate change in the existing systems - at the global as well as the local level. Our activism is for all who share our vision and mission.

Shared responsibility and cooperation
We all partake in maintaining the current system and therefore it is in our power - and our shared responsibility - to be part of changing it.

Community and solidarity
We envision a global community with strong bonds of solidarity where everyone is entitled to equal opportunities and a dignified life.

Long-term and political solutions
We believe that a more just and equal world is only achieved through long-term political solutions that prioritise the interest and well-being of all people.

Courage
We believe that another world is possible and that even the most difficult of struggles can be won. Passivity is not an option.

Curiosity, respect, and understanding
We meet each other and like-minded movements as equals and with respect. We take responsibility for and give support to each other in our common struggle. We are curious, understanding, and give ourselves space so that we may be challenged in our views and opinions and continuously learn.

Feminism, anti-racism, and awareness of privilege
We fight against every type of oppression, in every place in the world, while acknowledging the significance of race and gender in our work. We acknowledge our own privilege and seek to address it in our interactions amongst ourselves and in our partnerships.

Transparency, responsibility, and honesty
We commit ourselves to working transparently, responsibly, and honestly.


The four strategic themes of the struggle
We have identified four key strategic areas that are crucial if we wish to strengthen the movement and contribute to the fight for fundamental systemic changes and global justice.

Power and democracy – The 99% vs the 1%
To achieve and maintain social and economic justice, societies must be governed by the majority rather than the global elite. This calls for political systems where the people of the world, and not a narrow political and economic elite, hold power.

Global trade structures – people and the planet vs the profits of transnational corporations
A growing number of international free-trade agreements have granted transnational corporations increasing power within society, while depriving the majority of people their influence and their right to determine the future of their societies. We work to promote alternatives where the protection of people and the planet come before the protection of profit and corporate rights.

Climate Justice – long-term systemic changes vs false solutions
Climate change is a result of a dysfunctional economic system. The false short-term solutions driven by the logics of corporate interest and profit, accomplish nothing but worsening the situation for those communities most affected by climate change and environmental degradation. Solutions to the climate crisis demand resistance to the quest for unlimited economic growth and go hand-in-hand with the struggle for thorough systemic changes.

Resource-grabbing - democratic control of natural resources vs privatisation
All over the world natural resources are unequally distributed, and the pressure for privatisation of the commons is increasing. We fight alongside movements in ensuring democratic and local control of natural resources to the benefit of the majority rather than the few.
 
Organising the work
In Afrika Kontakt, campaigns and project work are not goals in themselves. They are tools to accomplish our vision and mission. Both campaigns and project work must be strongly founded in one or more of our thematic pillars and, where possible and beneficial, must be connected.
Our two overall strategic objectives

Objective 1:  The struggle
By 2020 we will have contributed substantially to the struggle for systemic changes and genuine democratisation across the world. We will be a critical voice for the transformation of the political structures and neoliberal ideologies that underpin the current world system; a system that creates inequality as well as climatic and environmental destruction.

Objective 2: The movement
By 2020 we will have developed the movement “Afrika Kontakt” into a strong, diverse, and progressive platform for political activism against inequality and for global justice.

The two overall strategic objectives are closely connected. The achievement of one will bring us closer to the achievement of the other. We have identified a number of strategic milestones to mark our progress and ensure that we reach the overall objectives.

Strategic milestones
Milestone #1:
We will influence the global agenda through cooperation, political activism, and imagining alternatives.

  • Through the strengthening of our own movement we wish to be a proactive and significant voice in the Danish and international debate. This requires that we become better at contributing to the strength and the intensity of the global struggle for change. Therefore we must:
  • Challenge and criticise the neoliberal agenda and provide alternatives to the injustice of the market-system. Through this, we will equip people with the ability to understand and confront the fundamental structures that create inequality.
  • Commit to strengthening the political dimension in our partnerships and cooperate with other progressive movements, organisations, and networks that share our vision. We must work determinedly to decrease the unequal distribution of power in our alliances – cooperation must be founded on reciprocity so both partners can contribute, challenge each other, develop and be held accountable.
  • Strengthen our ability to identify common struggles as well as cooperate with, and learn from, local and global social movements that work within one or more of our four strategic themes.
  • Strengthen our understanding of the context we work within, as well as increase our own and our allies´ level of professionalism to create the best possible circumstances for influencing decision makers and creating change.
  • Strengthen our work with action-oriented activism in terms of both quantity and quality.

Milestone #2: We must create the best possible circumstances for activism

The political and economic elite in our part of the world are largely responsible for maintaining the current system. The struggle against elites and global inequality must therefore be fought actively not only by movements in the Global South but also in a large part by the Global North. To strengthen our movement and ability to challenge the system we must create a strong, diverse, and progressive platform for political activism. Activism and activists are the main pillars of our work and it is their initiatives and their resourcefulness that lay the foundation for our continued work and development.

Therefore we must:

  • Create a fertile motivating learning environment for our activists. This also entails always having an appropriate physical environment, so that there is optimal space for activities, learning, and development of ideas.
  • Extend our platform for activism to more locations across the country. We aim to have 500 active members by 2018, and local AK groups in three cities. New activist groups must have ownership and understanding of the organisation, but also space to develop their own ideas.
  • Create structures open to the inclusion of new types of activists so they can contribute with their knowledge and competences in different ways. 
  • Strengthen our procedures for the recruitment and retention of activists by increasing the focus on ownership and a common identity.
  • Increase the opportunities for activists to become involved in the development of the organisation and the writing of its strategies, thereby ensuring that the activists have as much influence as possible.

Milestone #3: Learning and sharing of knowledge and experiences
We must work continuously and ambitiously on strengthening the learning environment in our organisation. We must develop and introduce new tools to ensure knowledge sharing in our work practices. To achieve this goal we must focus on appreciating and creating space for learning.

Therefore we must:

  • Work strategically with learning and knowledge in all work processes and ensure that everyone in the organisation works with learning and knowledge sharing. 
  • Develop new methods and tools to support our work and enhance its impact
  • Create four resource groups, each focusing on one of the four strategic themes, with a focus on learning, conducting thorough research and analyses, lobbying, and facilitating cooperation and knowledge sharing between the different working groups. We aim to have the four groups established and active no later than the summer of 2017.

Milestone #4: Economic sustainability
We must ensure economic sustainability for our national and international work.

Therefore we must:

  • Make sure that our own income can fund approx. 60% of AK´s work in Denmark, aiming to eventually become 100% independent of state funding.
  • Work to ensure that contributions from supporting members cover at least 30% of the operational expenses in Denmark by no later than April 2020. This involves getting at least 400 new supporting members per year between 2016 and April 2020.
  • Develop, test, and implement new fundraising actions to support our work in Denmark and in the South. These must cover approx. 30% of our operational expenses in Denmark.
  • Work to ensure economically sustainable alliances by increasing our fundraising capacity and developing new organisational forms in collaboration with our allied movements.
  • Promote the development of alliances that do not include financial support, where AK contributes in non-financial ways, e.g. with our practical experience and by engaging in political discussions regarding mobilisation and organisational development, as well as through campaigns and communication regarding our collective goals.
  • Achieve our economic goals through a collective effort which maintains the dignity and ethos of Afrika Kontakt and the activists. The methods that we use to obtain these financial goals must never rob the activists of the sense of ownership over the process nor deviate from Afrika Kontakt´s values.

Statutes and change of name
In light of the present strategy, the AK General Assembly in April 2016 set in motion a revision of Afrika Kontakt´s statutes. Through this strategy 2016-2020, our focus has widened from solidarity and partnerships with grassroots movements in Africa to striving for systemic change and a global political fight against inequality.

The name ”Afrika Kontakt” therefore no longer mirrors the full extent of our work. A process to find  a possible new and more adequate name for the organisation has thus been initiated. We expect the new name be adopted or to vote to maintain the current name during the General Assembly to take place in April 2017 or, if possible, at an extraordinary general assembly before then.
Implementation of the strategy
Everyone who is a part of Afrika Kontakt must work to implement the strategy and achieve its objectives. The specific decisions on how to implement the strategy will be available in Afrika Kontakt´s annual collective action plans that are approved by the General Assembly. The board and the secretariat are responsible for carrying out the annual action plans according to our values and for ensuring that the plans effectively work towards actualising this strategy.


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