January – April 2024 Newsletter


The beginning of 2024 has been an exhilarating time for African Monitor, filled with energy and productivity. Following a refreshing break in December, we returned to the office with renewed vigour, ready to hit the ground running.

In the past four months, African Monitor has been deeply involved in various initiatives. Our contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Voluntary Local Reviews (VLR) and Voluntary National Review (VNR) highlight our steadfast dedication to fostering sustainable development and accountability at both local and national levels. Our participation in the Global Forum Steering Committee in Oxford, United Kingdom (UK) has also brought us new opportunities and partnerships.

In addition to our impactful work, we were delighted to have had Emma-lilas Togba from France as a new team member. Furthermore, we have relocated to our new offices, signalling a fresh chapter for African Monitor.

And this is just the beginning of what promises to be an exciting year ahead for African Monitor. Stay tuned for more updates and initiatives as we continue driving positive change.

African Monitor mobilises Stakeholder’s for The Voluntary National Review (VNR)

The South African civil society launched its VNR process on the 26th of October 2023 in Johannesburg, at the Anew Hotel Parktonian. Since then, civil society has conducted various writing workshops aimed at producing the civil society report. These include an end hunger technical workshop on the 25th of January at Kagiso Holdings in Johannesburg, an education technical workshop on the 30th at Kagiso Holdings in Johannesburg and, a gender equality workshop held on the 31st of January 2024 in Johannesburg. It is anticipated that the Citizens’ Report will be completed at the end of May.

Thamsanqa Dlambulo from Mpumelelo Youth Movement based in the Nothern Cape expressed his gratitude for being asked to be a part of the VNR processes: “We as the Northern Cape were privileged to be part of the VNR process and being considered by African Monitor. The issue in the Northern Cape is that people always feel left out and marginalized in important discussions in the country. What stood out for me was making contributions representing the people of the Northern Cape. Bringing you the perspective and the reality of the ordinary people of our province.”

“Most of our people have never heard of the VNR and SDGs. It was good to represent their reality in discussing the 17 SDGs and this was an educational and eye-opening process that will forge a new direction for the country and the world. We are thrilled to have been part of that process”

Civil society has also been supporting the government’s efforts to produce the national report. Puseletso Maile (African Monitor) and Sixolile Ncgobo, supported by Yared Tsegay are part of the writing team coordinated by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and assisted in facilitating two of the breakaway sessions during the first stakeholder consultation on the 13th of February. Additionally, they will be supporting the upcoming government consultations on the VNR.

The stakeholder engagement objectives are to consolidate inputs from civil society organisations (CSOs) regarding the VNR process, ensure a comprehensive representation of their perspectives, successes, challenges and desired interventions and prepare for the National VNR consultation. During these consultations, stakeholders discussed the methodology and consolidated all inputs from civil society and organisations.

African Monitor assists selected municipalities with their Voluntary Local Reviews (VLR)

African Monitor and the South African CSO Working Group on SDGs (SAWG) have remained steadfast in their efforts to assist the government in localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the Voluntary Local Reviews (VLR) process. From 26th of  February  to 1st of March, the South African National Planning Commission (NPC), in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office, the United Nations Development Agency (UNDP), and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), organized a final validation workshop on the VLR writing retreat.

During this event, African Monitor, alongside members of the South African CSO Working Group on SDGs, including Kagiso Trust, actively participated and provided inputs into the draft reports. The objective of the workshop was to refine the VLR draft reports for Buffalo City, eThekwini, Johannesburg, Rustenburg, and Tshwane, ensuring their accuracy and completeness.

African Monitor and SAWG members are supporting different cities in their VLR stakeholder engagements. The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality (CTMM) stakeholder consultation was held on 19 March 2024, with the support of African Monitor. The City of Tshwane and African Monitor organised the Voluntary Local Review (VLR) stakeholder consultation, aimed to generate substantive stakeholder input and enrich processes.

African Monitor and the SAWG supported the City of Johannesburg with its stakeholder consultation on the 10th of April 2024. It also supported Mogale City’s stakeholder consultation that was held on the 11th of April 2024.

The above-mentioned collaborative effort demonstrates the commitment of African Monitor and its partners to advancing the localization of the SDGs in South Africa, thereby contributing to sustainable development at the local level.

City of Tshwane Localises the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the Voluntary Local Review (VLR)

 On 19th of March 2024, the City of Tshwane (CoT) Metropolitan Municipality, in collaboration with African Monitor, facilitated a stakeholder engagement consultation. The primary aim of this consultation was to provide stakeholders from civil society, academia, government, and the private sector with a platform to contribute insights to the baseline Voluntary Local Review. The event gathered together various stakeholders at Tshwane House.

The event garnered significant participation, with over 80 attendees present. Their input proved invaluable, enriching the report and facilitating the identification of five additional substances to incorporate into the review. Dolly Mafa, Director of Sustainability Finance Mechanism for the City of Tshwane, advised in the opening address that since its commitment to participate in the 2024 Voluntary Local Review (VLR) process, the CoT has developed a Draft Baseline Report covering goals 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 3 Good Health and Wellbeing), 6 (Clean water and Sanitation), 7 (Affordable and clean energy), 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), 13 (Climate Action) and 17 (Partnership for the goals). Tebogo Matlou (South African Local Government Association (SALGA)) gave a holistic overview of the implementation of Climate Change initiatives and partnerships at the local government level, he also emphasized how important these processes are and the importance of the City of Tshwane to submit its draft report to mitigate risks.

Stakeholders gather at the Sappi Building to consult on the Voluntary Local Review (VLR)

On 1oth of April, 2024, at the Sappi Building in Braamfontein, the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality hosted a stakeholder engagement event titled “Localising the Sustainable Development Goals through the Voluntary Local Review.” Supported by African Monitor, the municipality brought together individuals from diverse sectors including academia, civil society, and the private sector. The purpose was to actively engage with the Voluntary Local Review (VLR) for the municipality.

The meeting aimed to gather input for the baseline report, ensuring a comprehensive representation of perspectives, successes, challenges, and desired interventions. More than 100 attendees, representing various organizations contributed their insights.

With the assistance of skilled facilitators, the inputs collected will be incorporated into the City of Johannesburg’s report, enhancing its depth and relevance.

Goals 1, 2, 6,7, 11,13,16 and 17 were discussed. Some key challenges identified include Backyard dwellings, illegal occupation of vacant, abandoned and neglected buildings in the city centre, the need for efficient, integrated, safe and affordable public transport networks, unemployment, food waste, food insecurity, illegal electricity connections, and poor police services. The attendees then went on to discuss possible interventions which included implementing targeted programs and initiatives aimed at improving housing conditions, implementing robust monitoring and evaluation processes to ensure that reported data from waste management service providers aligns with the realities on the ground, investing in air quality monitoring and control measures to address the negative impact of air pollution on the environment, enforce bylaws rigorously and ensure that recreation centres cater to the needs of youth and the community as intended and more.

The Voluntary Local Review (VLR) brought the Mogale City Municipality together to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

On 11th of April 2024, the Mogale City Local Municipality, in collaboration with African Monitor, organized a stakeholder engagement event aimed at soliciting input and contributions to enhance the Voluntary Local Review (VLR) process. Although VLRs do not hold official status, they offer significant benefits to entities involved in implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local and national levels. These reviews promote vertical coherence and complement Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) of SDG implementation.

Stakeholders from diverse sectors across the municipality convened for the event. Guided by facilitators from African Monitor, the discussions focused on addressing key issues related to Mogale City’s report. The inputs gathered during these conversations will be compiled and integrated into Mogale City’s Voluntary National Review. Some of these inputs included a discussion on the challenges and recommendations of the municipality.

Some of the challenges identified within the municipality include illegal connections and vandalism of infrastructure, mining activities contributing to the contamination of water sources, environmental pollution and water pollution. The stakeholder engagement did not just discuss the challenges but also possible interventions to overcome the discussed challenges. Some of these interventions are that Government leadership should prioritize effective communication with residents of informal settlements to ensure transparency and understanding in decision-making processes, especially regarding eviction policies, implement drones and smart technology solutions to monitor electricity usage in communities and develop a better understanding of the within-country migration patterns.

The VLR process aims to identify areas in which municipalities need extra assistance to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Sixolile Ncgobo, external consultant for African Monitor expresses her views on the VLR processes in the following statement:  “The current VLR provide an opportunity for partnerships in the implementation and achievement of SDGs. Although a lot of capacity still needs to be built at a municipality level it is very clear that municipalities are committed in the principle of ‘leave no one behind’. Noting that various capabilities exist in municipalities has confirmed our understanding that if we want a better South Africa we start with strengthening local government as the level if government closer to the people. African Monitor as the secretariat of the the SA CSO SDG working group has proven to be a credible partner to SALGA, the National Planning Commission (NPC ) and the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation by ensuring that there is constant meaningful engagement with stakeholders and citizens. This process has opened up new opportunities and possibilities for collaborations in the future and enabled all municipalities in South Africa to undergo a VLR process. These VLR processes are linked and aligned to the National Development Plan and the AU Agenda 2063 thus connecting South Africa to the continent and the world.”

Has your municipality taken part in the VLR processes? Let us know on Facebook.

African Monitor joins hands with SALGA  for the Voluntary Local Review Workshops.

African Monitor attended the VLR Phase Two workshop on localizing the SDGs in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape on 28th and 29th of September 2023, to gain insight into SALGA’s plans and explore opportunities for involvement in stakeholder engagements. After the Gqeberha workshop, the African Monitor was invited to present at the third phase workshop in Johannesburg on 25th of October  2023. The focus was on promoting citizen engagement and strengthening the capacity of civil society organisations to actively participate in sustainable development initiatives. During meetings with SALGA, it was agreed that AM and SALGA would form a partnership. African Monitor then developed a mobilisation plan for civil society participation in the VLR, which was presented at the VLR Phase Four workshop in Durban on 29th of November, 2023.

African Monitor was also invited to attend the 4-day writing retreat workshop from 26 of February to 01st March 2024 aimed at strengthening Buffalo City, Mogale City, City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane, UMhlathuze and Rustensburg’s VLR reports. AM was requested to make verbal inputs into these cities’ reports. Puseletso Maile and Sixolile Ncgobo attended the writing retreat and made contributions to the reports being put together by the above-mentioned cities.

African Monitor joins the Global Forum Steering Committee Meeting in Oxford, UK.

The Global Forum is a network that connects the knowledge and experience of SDG councils, commissions and similar multi-stakeholder advisory bodies around the globe.

African Monitor is proud to be a member of the Global Forum for National Advisory Bodies and collaborates closely with The Partnering Initiative (TPI) in co-hosting its Secretariat. On 23 – 25 of January 2024, Nangamso Kwinana, on behalf of African Monitor, attended the steering group’s meeting in Oxford, UK alongside members from across the globe. Other organisations that were represented included:  Departamento Nacional de Planeación(DNP Colombia), SDG Kenya Forum, Fundación Aliarse (ALIARSE Costa Rica), Nepal SDG Forum, GrupoFaro (Ecuador), European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils Network (EEAC ,Netherlands), Finnish Commission for Sustainable Development, Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN, Georgia), The Partnering Initiative (TPI, UK) Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung (RNE, Germany), Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ,Germany), Keio University (Japan) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA, USA)

The steering group meeting provided a valuable opportunity for members to assess the progress of initiatives and identify opportunities for collaboration across diverse regions and countries represented. It served as a platform for fruitful discussions, enabling stakeholders to align efforts and work towards common goals.

African Monitor derives significant value from its participation in the Global Forum. Networking with peers who are key stakeholders in advancing the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been invaluable. These interactions foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and collective action towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a global scale.

As we continue our journey towards sustainable development, African Monitor remains committed to leveraging the Global Forum’s platform to drive positive change and contribute to the realisation of the SDGs.

Moving forward, African Monitor has been tasked with coordinating member engagement for the Africa Regional Hub. Nangamso Kwinana, Programme Officer for African Monitor will serve as the regional facilitator for Africa.

Read more here: Global Forum: Regional Facilitators for Africa and LAC

Emma-lilas Togba discusses her experience as an intern at African Monitor.

In January of this year, I had the opportunity to join the African Monitor organization at its Cape Town office as part of my end-of-studies internship. Lasting three months, this internship was an exceptional opportunity to put into practice the theoretical skills acquired during my Master’s degree in Political Studies and International Relations, completed in France, at the University of Toulon.

As a research and project development assistant within the team, this experience was not only highly instructive but also revealing, enabling me to refine my professional objectives and discover new facets of my potential. Initially recommended by the organization responsible for connecting me with South African organizations, African Monitor’s work caught my attention for its deep commitment to social change.

Particularly motivated by the prospect of contributing to projects with a significant societal impact, I was very interested in the commitment to sustainable development and the inclusion of marginalized groups in decision-making processes within society. The various missions I was able to assist or participate in, offered me a unique opportunity to deepen my understanding of political and administrative decision-making processes, as well as the interactions between the private sector and government authorities.

Upon my arrival, I was integrated into the Voluntary National Review (VNR) project, which is due to be presented in July 2024. This allowed me to contribute to the drafting of synthesis reports, participate in the development and review of official reports, and closely follow the various stages in the implementation of such a large-scale project. Furthermore, this internship allowed me to connect with people working in this field, who were able to address my inquiries regarding the skills and qualities required to excel.

Additionally, I had the opportunity to submit a communication plan to the organization, aimed at maximizing African Monitor’s impact within the framework of the VNR. This allowed me to improve my information and communication skills.

As this internship approaches its conclusion, it has enabled me to enhance my writing skills, acquire advocacy techniques, and, most importantly, gain tangible insight into the world of project management within an NGO, thereby reinforcing my professional aspirations in this domain.

This experience at African Monitor has transcended the confines of a mere internship. It has served as a springboard for new opportunities, such as my forthcoming internship in France focused on innovation for sustainable development in North Africa and the Mediterranean basin. Much of this opportunity was secured thanks to my hands-on international experience here, within an organization dealing with the same issues and interests, thus contributing to convincing my future employers.

I’m grateful to African Monitor for offering me this invaluable experience. It was a decisive step in my journey, propelling me towards a promising and ethically committed professional future.

Hon Ms Phiona Nyamutoro, AM Youth Champion – Where is she now?

We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Ms Phiona Nyamutoro on her remarkable achievement! Phiona’s recent appointment as the State Minister for Energy (in charge of minerals) in Uganda is truly inspiring. Her journey from being a dedicated African Monitor Youth Champion part of the Voice Africa’s Future (VAF) promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to becoming the youngest minister in President Yoweri Museveni’s new cabinet is a testament to her exceptional leadership and dedication to the development of her nation.

Phiona’s tireless efforts in advocating for youth empowerment and sustainable development have not gone unnoticed. Her role as a National Youth MP and her previous service as Makerere vice guild president reflect her commitment to serving her community and driving positive change.

Her appointment is not only a recognition of her capabilities but also a celebration of the immense potential that young people possess in shaping the future of our nations. Her passion, charisma, and dedication to making a difference in the lives of others make her a true inspiration to many.

As she embarks on this new chapter of her journey, may Phiona continue to lead with integrity, compassion, and vision. May she be guided by wisdom and divine grace as she undertakes her responsibilities, and may she continue to be a beacon of hope and inspiration for the youth of Uganda and beyond.

Congratulations once again, Hon Ms Phiona Nyamutoro, on this well-deserved achievement! Wishing her all the best as she serves her country and contributes to a brighter future for all

African Monitor moves to Inyathelo, Woodstock, Cape Town

After six fruitful years at South South North (Salt River), African Monitor bid farewell to our beloved office and embarked on a new chapter. In late February, we transitioned to our new premises at Inyathelo in Woodstock.

While it was difficult to leave behind the memories and familiarity of our previous location, we settled into our new space with enthusiasm and optimism. The move to Inyathelo has been seamless, and we couldn’t be happier with our new surroundings.

We look forward to creating many more meaningful memories and achieving great milestones in our new office location.

Our new address is  2nd floor, The Armoury, Buchanan Square, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock

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