To think about Africa is to think about poverty. Most Africans live on less than $2 a day. The average life span in many African countries is 50 years. Famine and starvation persist. But did you know that six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries in 2011 were in Africa, and that overall economic growth may increase to 6 percent this year? Aid for Africa members are working to expand the good news by joining with their African partners to jumpstart small businesses, create programs for youth, and identify ways to improve healthcare delivery.
Supporting Small Businesses
Starting a small business is one of the most effective ways a person can rise out of poverty in Sub Saharan Africa. Yet securing a loan or grant is difficult without access to a bank or the collateral a bank requires. In East Africa, Village Enterprise Fund has helped launch more than 23,000 businesses — most owned by women — by providing small grants and enlisting village tailors, farmers, butchers, and others to mentor new entrepreneurs and provide business training. Other Aid for Africa members are also helping to jumpstart small businesses, including BOMA Project and Women’s Microfinance Initiative. Learn more
Trash that’s Not Trash
Kibera, a Nairobi slum, lacks a formal sanitation program, but Aid for Africa member Carolina for Kibera’s Trash is Cash program employs 35 youths to collect four tons of trash each week from some 2,000 households. The program recovers materials from the trash and sells them to local industry. It also works with local women’s groups, who turn plastic bags into retail products like purses. Learn more
Building Africa’s Health Care System
In Sub Saharan Africa, 22 million people live with HIV/AIDS. One child in five dies from malaria. One woman in sixteen dies during pregnancy or childbirth. Some 750 thousand new cases of tuberculosis occur every year. Still Aid for Africa members Africa Fighting Malaria, AID Village Clinics, Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and others are tackling these diseases in their communities and making a difference. But providing adequate health care cannot happen without medical personnel, and Sub Saharan Africa has only 3 percent of the world’s trained health workers (one doctor for every 15 doctors in the United States). Aid for Africa members Touch Foundation and Doctors on Call for Service Foundation are increasing the number of trained health workers through medical programs, scholarships, and volunteer doctors from abroad to share their skills with their African counterparts.
In the News
World Bicycle Relief celebrated its 100,000th bicycle in the field which has helped transform the lives of half a million people, including healthcare workers, students and small business owners.
Invisible Children released KONY 2012 and KONY 2012: Part II—Beyond Famous to bring attention to the campaign to capture the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa. The next step is Cover the Night, April 20, 2012, a day-long effort that includes local community service, raising awareness about KONY, contacting policymakers for action, and more.
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