Blog Posts

A Valentine to You from Africa

February 9, 2012 cacao pods

For many, Valentine’s Day is synonymous with chocolate— a product of the cacao tree.  Almost 70 percent of the world’s cocoa comes from Ghana, Ivory Coast and a few other West African countries.  Along with coffee and cotton, cacao is one of Africa’s most important commercial crops. Because cacao is a critical crop to farmers and the economies of African countries, and of course to the consumers who love it around the world, we thought it would provide an entry to the topic of agriculture in Africa.

For non-oil producing African countries, agriculture provides much of Africa’s economic activity and 50 percent of its exports.  About 70 percent of Africa’s people derive their livelihoods from agriculture, according to the World Bank.  All across Africa farming takes place on small plots and the farmers, mostly women, cannot afford the equipment necessary to farm efficiently.  Water comes mostly from increasingly variable rains, and crop-destroying diseases have not yet been controlled. The typical African farmer produces enough to feed her family, with little excess to take to market and limited means to get it there.  In rural areas, diets are poor, and malnutrition remains a widespread problem.

Africa’s agriculture has always been vulnerable to drought, disease, and pests. Today, these problems are about to worsen. Scientists agree that climate change will lead to increased drought and higher temperatures that will negatively affect agriculture in Africa, particularly its most important staple crops– millet, cassava, rice (West Africa), maize, and bananas and plantain. To bring us full circle to chocolate: cacao trees grow best within certain temperature ranges and thus are also threatened.

Aid for Africa believes that advances in African agriculture must not cease or reverse direction in the face of these looming threats. Much is being done.  Scientists continue to work with farmers to improve yields, fight disease, and increase production.  Women are becoming more adept at using mirco-loans to finance their small agricultural businesses. Home and school vegetable gardens, which supply dietary nutrients that are not available from staple crops, are increasing in number.  To preserve the sustainability of production systems, scientists are now looking at the diverse agricultural landscapes that incorporate ecosystems that preserve watersheds and wild biodiversity. We continue to report on these developments in blogs and on our member pages.

As part of our commitment to African agriculture, Aid for Africa has created the Aid for Africa Endowment for Food and Sustainable Agriculture at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston, Massachusetts. The Endowment will support graduate research on food security and poverty reduction in Sub Saharan Africa. Through the Endowment, Aid for Africa will strengthen its focus on expanding sustainable agriculture, building capacity to solve agricultural problems in Sub Saharan Africa and supporting our outreach on African issues.

So when you enjoy your Valentine chocolate, remember–chances are that the cocoa it contains came from Africa, where farming is critical to families, countries, and development. It’s Africa’s Valentine to you, with love.

Continue Reading

Trash is Not Trash Until It Is Wasted

January 26, 2012 CFK- Trash for Cash

Many of us recycle our bottles and waste without ever seeing the tangible benefits. Although recycling is practiced far less commonly in Sub Sahara Africa, the recycling efforts of two […]

Continue Reading

Turning the Millennium Goals into Reality: Goal 6—Combat HIV, Malaria, and Other Diseases

January 13, 2012 icipe boy with malaria chart jpg

In the sixth blog post in our series about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals we focus on Millennium Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases. The targets of the […]

Continue Reading

Looking to a Brighter Future in Africa

January 3, 2012 World Hope International Man in Shop

When thinking about Africa, the facts that come to mind are often not good. Most Africans live on less than $2 a day. The average life span in many countries […]

Continue Reading

Can we save Africa’s lions and other big cats from extinction?

December 16, 2011

Panthera vice president George Schaller laments the demise of big cats in the December issue of National Geographic and asks if we as a people have the will to save […]

Continue Reading

Fulfilling the Principles of Human Rights Day

December 10, 2011

It is hard to believe that 63 years ago today, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration has served as the foundation for an ever-expanding […]

Continue Reading

Fulfilling the Principles of Human Rights Day

December 10, 2011

It is hard to believe that 63 years ago today, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration has served as the foundation for an ever-expanding […]

Continue Reading

Drilling for Water in Africa's Most Remote Regions

December 5, 2011

They did it!  World Hope International recently dug its 700th well and achieved its goal of providing 500,000 people in Sub Saharan Africa with clean water! World Hope and its […]

Continue Reading

Drilling for Water in Africa’s Most Remote Regions

December 5, 2011

They did it!  World Hope International recently dug its 700th well and achieved its goal of providing 500,000 people in Sub Saharan Africa with clean water! World Hope and its […]

Continue Reading

Recognizing Progress, Committing to the Future on World AIDS Day

December 1, 2011

On  World AIDS Day, our attention turns again to Sub-Saharan Africa, which has only one-tenth of the world’s population, but two-thirds of the people in the world living with HIV […]

Continue Reading

America’s Top Diplomat for Africa Bullish on the Continent’s Future

November 28, 2011

At the annual meeting of the African Studies Association in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson spoke on a range of […]

Continue Reading

Overcoming Barriers to Graduating from High School

November 15, 2011

In Kenya, where three quarters of all high school students never graduate, Aid for Africa member Kenya Education Fund (KEF) helps disadvantaged students beat the odds. There are a number […]

Continue Reading

Remembering a Legacy of Planting Trees and Building Lives

November 4, 2011

In our previous blog post on the 2011 International Year of the Forest we highlighted the importance of forests in Africa, which account for the livelihoods of more than half […]

Continue Reading

Turning the Millennium Goals Into Reality: Goal 5 – Improve Maternal Health

October 24, 2011

In the fifth blog post in our series about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals we focus on Millennium Goal 5: Improve maternal health. The UN goal is to ensure that […]

Continue Reading

New Digital Technology Hunts Down War Criminal and His Army in Central Africa

October 10, 2011

Communities across Central Africa are now better equipped to prevent and respond to atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) thanks to Aid for Africa member Invisible Children, which […]

Continue Reading

Community-Based Conservation Efforts to Protect Wildlife

September 22, 2011

Tomorrow, September 22, is World Rhino Day, when  international attention is raised about the senseless slaughter of these amazing animals due to the mythical belief held by many that rhino horn contains magical healing properties.

Continue Reading

Eliminating the Obstacles Keeping African Children Out of School

September 14, 2011

This September throughout the United States, school-age children picked up their books and lunch money and headed off to school. They look forward to doing that every year through their […]

Continue Reading

Education on Overdrive—Creating Sustainable Schools

August 26, 2011

In Uganda and Tanzania, students supported by Aid for Africa members are learning more than reading, science, and math.  They are learning how to make their schools sustainable. For the […]

Continue Reading

Turning the Millennium Goals into Reality: Goal 4—Reduce Child Mortality

August 15, 2011

In the fourth blog post in our series about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals we focus on Millennium Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality.  The UN goal is to reduce child mortality by two thirds between 2009 and 2015.

Continue Reading

Fighting East African Famine Requires both Immediate and Long-term Solutions

August 1, 2011

Food aid has begun to reach people in East Africa who are severely afflicted by the worst drought in 60 years. This emergency food aid is vital to prevent thousands […]

Continue Reading

Elephant Poaching on the Rise Again: Kenyan Government Burns Ivory to Raise Awareness

July 22, 2011

The Kenyan Government burned five tons of elephant ivory worth $16 million July 20 to alert the world to a recent surge in elephant deaths from poaching.

Continue Reading

Africa's Newest Country – The Republic of South Sudan

July 11, 2011

On July 9 the world welcomed its newest country and the 54th in Africa—the Republic of South Sudan.

Continue Reading

Africa’s Newest Country – The Republic of South Sudan

July 11, 2011

On July 9 the world welcomed its newest country and the 54th in Africa—the Republic of South Sudan.

Continue Reading

Turning the Millennium Goals into Reality: Gender Equality–Goal 3

July 6, 2011

US First Lady Michelle Obama drew the world’s attention to the plight of women and youth in Sub Saharan Africa during her recent trip to South Africa and Botswana. In […]

Continue Reading

Making a Difference on World Refugee Day and Beyond

June 20, 2011

In Africa today more than 3 million people are refugees—forced to leave their homes due to persecution, violence, or conflict. The UN Refugee Agency—UNHCR—says the refugee crisis is particularly acute […]

Continue Reading

Turning the Millennium Development Goals Into Reality: Part 2

June 8, 2011

In the second blog post in our series about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals we focus on Millennium Goal 2: Ensure that by 2015, children everywhere are able to complete […]

Continue Reading

Zeroing in on Farming in Africa as a Key to Long-Term Development

June 1, 2011

At a recent meeting of the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, Bill Gates spoke of a new effort to help the farmers of Africa and South Asia build better lives […]

Continue Reading

Zeroing in on Farming in Africa as a Key to Long-Term Development

June 1, 2011

At a recent meeting of the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, Bill Gates spoke of a new effort to help the farmers of Africa and South Asia build better lives […]

Continue Reading

Turning the Millennium Development Goals Into Reality

May 19, 2011

Did you know that the Millennium Development Goals are the most ambitious, targeted, and comprehensive set of objectives ever created to eradicate extreme poverty? Established by the United Nations in […]

Continue Reading

Fostering Development from within a Community—The Value of Small Nonprofits

May 13, 2011

Most people who view the Kibera slum of 1 million–with its burgeoning youth population–on the outskirts of Nairobi see a powder keg waiting to explode.  A few others, like Rye […]

Continue Reading

Remembering Less Fortunate Mothers

May 6, 2011

Being a mother is never easy, but in Africa it takes on a whole new dimension. Save the Children’s new report on the best and worst countries for motherhood says […]

Continue Reading

Great Ape Trust Recognized for its Research Efforts with Bonobos and Chimpanzees

April 29, 2011

Aid for Africa member Great Ape Trust has two reasons to celebrate.  In Iowa, the Trust’s Sue Savage-Rumbaugh was named one of the TIME 100 for 2011 for her work […]

Continue Reading

“Greening” Africa

April 21, 2011

Aid for Africa members work to “green” Africa on Earth Day and every day. Sub Saharan Africa is rich in natural resources and the region has great potential for renewable […]

Continue Reading

"Greening" Africa

April 21, 2011

Aid for Africa members work to “green” Africa on Earth Day and every day. Sub Saharan Africa is rich in natural resources and the region has great potential for renewable […]

Continue Reading

Providing Hope to Ivorian Refugees in Liberia

April 15, 2011

The conflict in the Ivory Coast has led to the fleeing of more than 80,000 Ivorian refugees to its neighbor Liberia. In the midst of this humanitarian disaster Aid for […]

Continue Reading

Doctors and Health Workers Answering the Call in Sub Saharan Africa

April 4, 2011

In a recent compelling  article in The New York Times, Celia Dugger describes a growing movement in the U.S. of young American doctors and health workers who are going to […]

Continue Reading

Focus on Women: Realizing a Girl’s Potential and Fulfilling her Aspirations through Education

March 30, 2011

When Ann Musabe was 16 years old she was in high school in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and in need of support.  She found that support through Aid for […]

Continue Reading

World Water Day: Spotlight on Saving Lives with Safe Drinking Water

March 21, 2011

On March 22, World Water Day, Aid for Africa asks you to remember that there are 1.1 billion people in the world who lack access to safe drinking water – […]

Continue Reading

Focus on Women: Changing a Young Woman’s Story through Education

March 18, 2011

Caroline Kashinin Senteu is one of only a handful of Maasai women in Kenya with a college education, and although her story began as the story of most Maasai women, […]

Continue Reading

Focus on Women: Changing a Young Woman's Story through Education

March 18, 2011

Caroline Kashinin Senteu is one of only a handful of Maasai women in Kenya with a college education, and although her story began as the story of most Maasai women, […]

Continue Reading

Focus on Women: Ugandan Finds Calling as a “Gorilla Doctor”

March 11, 2011

Aid for Africa member Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) has a new veterinarian–Dr. Racheal Mbabazi.  Racheal graduated from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, in 2010 with a degree in veterinary […]

Continue Reading

Focus on Women: Ugandan Finds Calling as a "Gorilla Doctor"

March 11, 2011

Aid for Africa member Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) has a new veterinarian–Dr. Racheal Mbabazi.  Racheal graduated from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, in 2010 with a degree in veterinary […]

Continue Reading

2011 International Women’s Day: Focus on Education and Training

March 7, 2011

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day on March 8 is equal access for women to education, training and science and technology. Education and training are important components of Aid […]

Continue Reading

Planting the Seeds Toward a Brighter Future

February 25, 2011

Tamiru Gerite lives with his wife and five children in the village of Bedengeltu, in Southern Ethiopia. He works hard as a farmer, but his subsistence fields generate little income. […]

Continue Reading

Building African Democracies with Books

February 21, 2011

As the dust settles after events in Tunisia and Egypt, the hard part of building true democracies from the ground-up has only just begun. Established rule of law, a thriving […]

Continue Reading

Saving Africa’s Forests

February 11, 2011

The United Nations designated 2011 the International Year of Forests and is working to highlight the importance of forests worldwide. Nowhere are forests more important than in Africa. More than […]

Continue Reading

A New Model for Helping South Africa’s Most Vulnerable Children

February 2, 2011

The founders of the Ubuntu Education Fund in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, realized early on that that a fresh approach was needed to help the thousands of vulnerable South African […]

Continue Reading

A New Model for Helping South Africa's Most Vulnerable Children

February 2, 2011

The founders of the Ubuntu Education Fund in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, realized early on that that a fresh approach was needed to help the thousands of vulnerable South African […]

Continue Reading

Southern Sudan Votes for the Future and Prepares for the Challenges

January 10, 2011

In Sudan, the south and north fought a civil war for more than three decades.  Beginning January 9 through the 15th, the south is voting to become an independent state.  […]

Continue Reading

Partners In Health—A Vision of What Can Be

December 12, 2010

  Aid for Africa was founded on the belief that committed individuals working on the ground in Africa can make a real difference in the lives of those in need. […]

Continue Reading

Aid for Africa Girls Education Fund — Helping girls go to school, stay in school, and succeed in life!

September 16, 2010

Life is tough for many poor girls in Africa.  Culture and tradition often keeps them at home while their brothers go to school.  Some girls are forced to marry when […]

Continue Reading

Africa’s growing economic muscle tells only part of the story

August 5, 2010

Africa is making progress economically, according to a new report by McKinsey & Company.  With combined gross domestic products across the continent of 1.6 trillion dollars in 2008, Africa is […]

Continue Reading

Human Rights and HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa

July 18, 2010

“Rights here, right now,” the theme of the 18th International AIDS Conference kicking off in Vienna, Austria, today, champions the role of human rights in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  In […]

Continue Reading

For the Love of Soccer

July 8, 2010

As the World Cup winds down this week, we are left with images of the best teams in the world competing for the top honor in soccer in vibrant and […]

Continue Reading

Scientific Research Underpins Development Advancements

June 16, 2010

An elephant trampling a farmer’s field is a frequent problem in many parts of Africa. One elephant can destroy a farmer’s entire crop. Recent news reports suggest that research scientists […]

Continue Reading

Environmental Justice — Using the Law to Protect the Poor and the Environment in Southern Africa

April 26, 2010

It isn’t everyday that an environmentalist takes on the government and wins. When Thuli Brilliance Mkama, the only public interest environmental lawyer in Swaziland, challenged the environment minister in court, she won and reaffirmed that law is a vital instrument to use against injustice and to support the poor.

Continue Reading

Embracing Local Community Needs is Key to Conserving Africa’s Wildlife

April 16, 2010

Today, in his column in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof writes about the demise of the African wild dog, also known as the painted dog.  Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands throughout Africa, the painted dog is about to disappear—only a few thousand remain in four countries.

Continue Reading

Working to Save Africa’s Rich Biodiversity

February 25, 2010

The United Nations has named 2010 International Biodiversity Year, acknowledging the continued loss of plant and animal species around the world from population growth, urbanization, deteriorating habitats, invasive species, and […]

Continue Reading

Working to Save Africa's Rich Biodiversity

February 25, 2010

The United Nations has named 2010 International Biodiversity Year, acknowledging the continued loss of plant and animal species around the world from population growth, urbanization, deteriorating habitats, invasive species, and […]

Continue Reading

PBS Turns a Much-Needed Spotlight on Maternal Health Risks in the Wake of the Haiti Earthquake

January 29, 2010

It isn’t surprising that a team from the PBS newsmagazine NOW turned to Ann Starrs, president and cofounder of Family Care International, when it wanted to better understand why women […]

Continue Reading

Alternatives to Orphanages Bring Hope to Africa’s Vulnerable Children

December 19, 2009

The United Nations estimates that more than 55 million African children have lost one parent and that almost 15 million of them have lost a parent to AIDS. Orphanages are […]

Continue Reading

For Aid for Africa Members, Every Day is World AIDS Day

December 1, 2009

Two-thirds of the people in the world living with HIV and AIDS are in Sub Saharan Africa.  In its 2009 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, UNAIDS found that more […]

Continue Reading

Surviving Drought through Small Businesses

November 19, 2009

According to Reuters some 23 million people are in need of food aid in East Africa because of severe drought.  Last month the Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development […]

Continue Reading

The Nobel Economics Prize and Africa

October 14, 2009

Tapping Elinor Ostrom as one of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics is exciting for anyone interested in issues of saving forests, wildlife conservation, agricultural development, and environmental […]

Continue Reading

Strengthening Women’s Healthcare to Stem Rising Preterm Births

October 7, 2009

A new study by the March of Dimes with the World Health Organization finds that globally each year almost 13 million babies are born prematurely—one of every ten newborns.  Four […]

Continue Reading

The Power of Books

October 1, 2009

Today’s Diane Rehm radio program featured the amazing story of a 14-year-old boy from Malawi, William Kamkwamba, who taught himself how to build a windmill out of garbage, bringing light […]

Continue Reading

Aid for Africa Launches New Web Site

September 24, 2009

Today, Aid for Africa announces the launch of its new web site. We hope this site will be a resource for those looking to support the causes – clean water, […]

Continue Reading