How We Got Here
Aid for Africa started with a concern and an idea. The concern: How to counter negative perceptions of Africa and help foster and promote grassroots development. The idea: Help small, effective nonprofit organizations working to overcome poverty in Africa by shining a light on their work.
From the concern came the idea of Aid for Africa, an alliance of charity nonprofit organizations working on the ground in Sub Saharan Africa—countries south of the Sahara Desert—to make a difference in the lives of children, families, and communities. In January 2004, its first year of operation, Aid for Africa brought together nineteen charity organizations to be part of the alliance.
The challenges facing the people of Sub Saharan Africa are complex and interrelated. Thus we set out to ensure that our membership included organizations that addressed the full range of development issues, from education, health, agriculture, microfinance, the environment, to wildlife conservation, and others. We also included organizations undertaking scientific research on a range of issues related to food, agriculture, insect science, livestock, and more. Without strong science advances in food production, medical treatment, pest control, and more, development cannot be made and sustained.
We believed that by bringing them together in an alliance, these organizations would learn about each other, form partnerships, and make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Through Aid-for- Africa-sponsored events and on line, member organizations have come to do just that. They identify common problems, share best practices, and develop innovative solutions.
Initially, Aid for Africa also wanted to help its members raise funds for their work. It does this primarily through participating in U.S. Government and other workplace giving programs, on-line giving, and special Aid for Africa grants. It is the only African alliance in these workplace giving programs. Every member must meet the highest level of fiscal accountability, governance, and results.
Aid for Africa has identified educating African girls and sustainable agriculture as areas that are of critical importance to African development. When a girl in Africa gets the chance to go to school and stay in school, the cycle of poverty often is broken for her and her family. Agriculture is the economic engine of growth in most African countries. As populations continue to increase and growing seasons and rainfall patterns continue to change due to climate fluctuation, poor farmers will depend on advances in African agriculture if they are to better their lives.
Over the last seventeen years Aid for Africa membership has included more than 80 members. Today, as we scale down activities, we support about 15 nonprofit organizations that are working on the ground with African partners throughout Sub Saharan Africa.