Webinar: African-led Development


What Does It Even Mean?

A Webinar Series by Africans in the Diaspora (AiD)

This webinar series will explore the concept of “African-led development,” discussing what it means, how it is applied in practice, what its limits are, and what we can learn from those at the forefront of transformation in their communities. By bringing together academics, policy makers, activists, and national and community leaders, this webinar aims to expand and deepen the discourse on this oft-used but rarely applied concept.


Rakesh Rajani: Head, Twaweza

Rakesh R. Rajani is the Head of Twaweza (“We can make it happen” in Swahili), a 10-year initiative to enhance access to information, citizen agency and public accountability in East Africa. Until the end of 2007, he served as the founding Executive Director of HakiElimu, an independent organization that promotes citizen engagement in education in Tanzania. Mr. Rajani advised and serves on several boards, including: Revenue Watch International; Aidspan, a watchdog of the Global Fund; International Budget Partnership; Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa; Foundation for Civil Society in Tanzania; and Hewlett/Gates Foundation’s Initiative on Quality Education in Developing Countries. He has also been a fellow of Harvard University since 1998, most recently involved in its Joint Learning Initiative on Children and AIDS. He has written and/or edited over 300 papers, popular publications and op-eds in English and Swahili. Mr. Rajani did his university education the US at Brandeis University and Harvard University, graduating summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. His interests include the connections between information, imagination and public action; political economy of policy-making; and budget transparency and public engagement.

Jennifer Lentfer: Founder, How Matters


Jennifer Lentfer was named one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on Twitter” in 2012 and is the creator of Lentfer’s blog aims to place community-driven initiatives, which can be more genuinely responsive to local needs, at the forefront of international aid, philanthropy, and social enterprise. Lentfer has worked with over 300 grassroots organizations in east and southern Africa over the past decade, as well as various international organizations in Africa and the US, including UNICEF, the Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, and Firelight Foundation, where in her career she has focused on organizational development and learning. Lentfer is currently Senior Writer on Oxfam America’s Aid Effectiveness team and editor of the organization’s Politics of Poverty blog. Lentfer is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown’s Center for Social Impact Communication. She holds a Master of International Development degree from the University of Pittsburgh.