Building Wellbeing Economies in Africa: WE-Africa Lab

South Africa, 23 June 2016 - The action-research network WE-Africa and the Global Leadership Academy, in partnership with the African Centre for a Green Economy, are launching a Leadership and Innovation Lab that brings together thought leaders and change agents from different countries and sectors to co-create ideas and transformative actions for a wellbeing economy. Over the course of one year, the Lab will stimulate critical thinking and innovative practices for the achievement of social, political and economic transformation in Africa.

For more information on how to participate click here and check out thePDF iconWe-Africa Lab inforsheet.

Core objectives 

The WE-Africa Lab will provide a space of inquiry and experimentation around the following core objectives: 

  • Fostering individual and collective leadership. Dynamic and complex realities call for collective leadership focusing on enabling collaboration, rather than heroic leadership pushing for unilateral decisions.
  • Encouraging cross-sectoral collaboration. The Lab will provide an opportunity to develop and consolidate links between a diverse group of people, committed to a profound social, political and economic transition in Africa.
  • Developing transformative action. The Lab will provide an experimental space that merges research and practice with a view to generating innovations for a wellbeing economy. Transformative actions may be small-scale or span across countries and partners.
  • Supporting a continental network of change makers. Through its research-action orientation, the Lab will contribute to the development of a continent-wide network of change agents. The Lab will strengthen the WE-Africa network, an alliance spanning the continent and involving more than 50 change leaders, which will guarantee the sustainability and long-term efficacy of the Lab.
  • Impacting global discourses on development. Ideas, findings, recommendations and transformative actions that emerge during the Lab process will be fed into relevant networks to impact the global debate on development in the 21st century.

The approach

The WE-Africa Lab uses a unique combination of deep dialogue on content challenges, leadership development and change facilitation. The process makes space for new perspectives, enabling profound reflection, experiential learning, and tangible action to empower participants to advance their work and that of their home organisations significantly. The Lab will combine two regional gatherings, local dialogues and online exchanges in a one-year process. During these gatherings, participants will:

  • explore alternative development paradigms,
  • reflect collectively on how the untapped potential of knowledge diversity and intellectual capital can be a source of innovation and
  • design collaborative transformative actions.

Between the two gatherings, participants organise dialogues in their home contexts to share the ideas developed in the Lab with local and national stakeholders, bring their voices into the conversation and develop new perspectives on familiar systems. 

Moderated peer online conversations and facilitated reflection sessions will enable participants to review lessons learnt and share experiences with the regional Lab group. Throughout the Lab, inputs by leading alternative thinkers and practitioners will inspire new thinking. During the final gathering, in October 2017, the transformative actions will be presented to African policy makers, leaders from business and civil society, the general public and the media.

Participants

The WE-Africa Lab brings together up to 25 participants from various African countries. Participants will come from different backgrounds and sectors. They may be academics, business leaders, social innovators, policymakers, artists, journalists or other. Common to all is that they espouse the mission of the WE-Africa network (www.we-africa.org) and are deeply committed to the economic and societal transformation of the continent. If you are interested in participating, please request our participant information sheet.

Dates and Locations

Locations and dates for the two regional gatherings are:

Cape Town, South Africa: 28 November – 1 December 2016

Pretoria, South Africa (tbc): 29 October – 2 November 2017

The local dialogues will be self-organised by Lab participants.

The convening organizations

WE-Africa Network

WE-Africa is an alliance of likeminded scholars and practitioners who share a common concern about the current socio-economic conditions in which we live and are willing to work together to promote a transition to a wellbeingbased economy for Africa. It is an action-research network, which aims to consolidate evidence for change while focusing on building a new economy and promoting alternative development policies. The nexus between research and action is a crucial component of WE-Africa’s work.

The Global Leadership Academy

The Global Leadership Academy addresses global issues and works with its international partners to provide reflective dialogue spaces (‘Leadership and Innovation Labs’). Based on new perspectives and insights, leaders and change agents from the fields of policy-making, business, academia and civil society develop innovative approaches and solutions to problems in their areas of influence. Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Global Leadership Academy is a central component in GIZ’s range of services for international human capacity development.

African Centre for a Green Economy

The African Centre for a Green Economy (Africege) is a think tank and innovation hub supporting the transition to a new economy. Through engaging with policymakers, business leaders and academia, Africege seeks to inspire a generation of change makers to help Africa transition to a new and just economy that promotes human wellbeing and environmental sustainability.