Breaking News:Our Girls Program Recognized by UN-GEI

Asante Africa Foundation’s Wezesha Vijana Program – a special curriculum that boosts the girl child’s chances to succeed is highlighted as Best Practice in United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI).  The UNGEI Good Practice Fund supports organisations and local governments from across the globe to shed light on best practices and lessons learnt in gender focused education initiatives. 

Education has the power to change a girl’s life and that of her family and community. All over the world – and in developing countries, in particular – we see proof that when women are educated, child marriages and child mortality rates are drastically reduced. In fact, simply making sure that girls don’t miss out on primary education is enough to substantially reduce maternal mortality. But it’s important that girls stay in school long enough, at least through lower high school grades, before we can reap those benefits. In far too many instances, this just isn’t the reality.

Girls are far less likely than boys to complete primary (elementary or middle) school, especially in low-income countries where only 20% have achieved gender parity at the primary level and 10% at the lower secondary level. These findings are highlighted in UNESCO’s Gender Summary Report, which analyses data from the 11th annual Education for All Global Monitoring Report. The report was released in partnership with the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI).

Project Highlights

From 2014 -2016, the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), launched the UNGEI Fund for Documentation of Good Practice in Girls’ Education and Gender Equality. 

Out of 450 global nominations, 17 programs – including Asante Africa Foundation were chosen to be highlighted as unique and creative ways of promoting and sustaining girls’ education. Overall, the case studies demonstrated that even small-scale programs aimed at changing attitudes towards girls and women in the context of education, can contribute to gender equality in the wider society. 

Case studies also found that undergoing workshops that teach them about health, or build up their unique strengths and capabilities, made girls that much more confident in aspiring for professional and personal opportunities beyond school. More so when programs engaged the boys and the whole community by fostering changes in attitudes and behaviors, and by focusing on increasing girls’ agency and self-confidence.

“Complex systemic problems require a systemic solution. When keeping girls in school we need the community, parents, and boys to be a part of the equation. We witness firsthand the power of knowledge when the girls stand up with confidence.” Erna Grasz, CEO of Asante Africa Foundation

Find out more

To ensure that these project findings are shared with sector wide practitioners, researchers and donors, a website has been established to centrally host materials. To view case studies and learn more about the project, visit www.goodpracticefund.org. Click here to download Asante Africa Foundation’s Case Study.  

Stay updated with Asante Africa Foundation’s latest news and events. Follow us on Twitter and FacebookClick here to RSVP to our upcoming event ‘The journey to 2020. The future is closer than you think.’
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The Future is Closer than You Think!

Fall is finally here, and with it we are excited to announce Asante Africa Foundation’s The Journey to 2020 – The Future is Closer than You Think – an event to celebrate our journey of transforming 1 Million lives by 2020. We invite you to join us on Saturday, October 22nd from 6-9pm at the David Brower Center in Berkeley to celebrate our history and look toward a bright future!

This event is particularly significant as we recall the beginnings of Asante Africa Foundation. We have come a long way since we were first established in 2006 by our founders Erna Grasz, Emmy Moshi, and Hellen Nkuraiya. What began as a two-village project has expanded to over 40 partnerships (and counting) with schools in 35+ villages in Kenya and Tanzania.  We are ecstatic to continue our work in reaching 1 Million lives by 2020!

At the event, you will have opportunity to meet two alumni from our organization: Carolyne Sunte, a young entrepreneur and mentor from Maasai, and Samson Nyongesa, the founder of “Life Transformers”, a leadership organization with over 300 university youth across 3 campuses who have impacted over 5000 young lives in the last 4 years (To know more about Life Transformers and their efforts click here).

Both alumni will be traveling all the way from Kenya to talk about the impact Asante Africa has had on their lives and how they are using their own experience to impact the lives of others.

At The Journey to 2020 event, we are also incredibly lucky to have African musician, Piwai performing live! Piwai is known for her catchy, genre fusing melodies and exotically mystifying sounds.

There will also be a Live Auction, Local Artwork, Traditional Food and a Wine Bar! There are so many reasons to come out to celebrate with us on October 22 – we hope you will be there!

Be sure to RSVP on or before October 14th to save your spot! You can buy your tickets on
http://journeyto2020.brownpapertickets.com/.

This is just a sneak peek into the main event. Make sure you subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook (Asante Africa Foundation) & Twitter (@AsanteAfrica). There’s a lot more coming up.

 

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Beyond the Page

 

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ― Frederick Douglass

Here, at this page, is one of the greatest freedoms we take for granted: our ability to read, to translate the world and have the larger world translated to us. Our literacy builds bridges that connect us with people around the planet, economic opportunity, choices, play, empowerment—and if we don’t have those? Our ability to read and write are our modern day weapons and search tools. They help us think. They help us find a way to the person, place, idea, or thing that will get us what we need.  

Today UNESCO marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day, a day that celebrates efforts to raise literacy rates across the world—and reminds us that, beyond this page, this freedom is far from achieved.  

According to UNESCO, it may be 2084 before we see universal education across the world. The recently released Global Education Monitoring Report shared that 263 million children worldwide—nearly the size of the entire population of the United States—were out of school as of 2014. The challenge looms large and girls, students with disabilities, and students from minority groups as well as refugee children of any school age remain grossly over represented among those denied schooling. While the structures for a universal primary education may be a generation away (by 2042), universal secondary education may take us until nearly the close of this century to reach hundreds of millions of children—resources and systems trailing far behind need.

Today, in East Africa alone, two of every three children lack access to secondary schooling. As a team, we are racing to impact a million lives by 2020 through classroom learning, development for economic opportunity beyond the classroom, and a special emphasis on the advancement of girls.

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Since 2006, we’ve helped create safe learning spaces and equip students with the tools they need to access every opportunity at their grasp. We strengthen the capacity, talent, and resiliency of communities, teachers, and particularly girls in the classroom and beyond. So that our youth, our parents, our teachers, our schools, our communities of East Africa can turn the page.

Will you go beyond the page with us?

Be a part of our Fundrasing Event ‘Journey to 2020’. Click here to know more. For other ways to support, click here.

 

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Remember the first day of school?

The fall session in schools has just started and most of us are probably wistfully looking back on summer as some kind of recent, warm, dream that slipped away far too quickly. Around the world students, parents, and teachers alike are gearing up for a new school year which will begin (if it hasn’t already) in a few days.  

We’d like you to think back (for some of you, way back) to your first day of school.  We’ll set the scene: The pencils are all sharpened to a fine point. The folders, notebooks, and backpacks are all in pristine condition, and you’re wearing a brand new, albeit perhaps uncomfortable, outfit. Were you nervous? Excited? Were you counting down the days to next summer?  For many of us, school was something we always knew would be there, even after a summer away.  School was as dependable and familiar as the favorite pair of shoes we picked out just for the occasion.  But for many other children around the world, this is not the case.

At Asante Africa, the students in our programs in Kenya and Tanzania are going back-to-school as well, although the experience is made that much more meaningful because of the struggles they have had to overcome to continue their education. Many of our students come to us with little or no family for support. They are held back by the poverty and limitations of their villages. In the cases of young women, many are also taken out of school at a young age to be married and are not able to continue their education or accomplish their dreams.                                                                                                                       When we look at the figures surrounding childhood education globally, they are simply daunting:                                                                                                                                                  As many as 121 million children and adolescents globally do not attend school at all.  Of these, 73 million (59%) out-of-school children of primary and lower-secondary school age live in developing countries. And finally, more than 4 out of 10 out-of-school children of primary school age will likely never enter a classroom.

Our focus is not only to get the students to school but also to create an environment that allows them to go Back to School. Regular mentoring from peers and other students in Asante Africa’s scholarship programs, helps these kids ‘keep the faith’ and move forward.

Our students excited to go back to school

‘The Government Officials (MoEVT-TZ) and Corporate Partners (P&G), recognize our model of TRULY engaging educational stakeholders and community members. This means that the parents’ voices are essential, the school principal’s voice is critical, and the community makes the decisions, while we at Asante Africa Foundation facilitate the process and create a transparent process for all.’

– Erna Grasz.

 In Kenya, our students have an 83% pass rate from primary to high school, while the national average is only 56%. 100% of our scholars have successfully graduated high school, and 30% score high enough for full university scholarship, while the national average is only 5%.  In Tanzania, we have a 100% pass rate from primary to secondary (66% are girls), and 91% of our students graduated from high school.

With numbers like these, we know our programs are working. We have and will continue to focus on creating and sustaining an environment which keeps children coming back to school each year.    

To learn more about our scholarships program and how you can contribute to our continuing efforts in bringing our students back to school, click here. Its less than $3 a day!

 

 

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LEI Match – 6 Days & $3000 to Go!

We always say that our youth are our biggest testimonials. Felix and Esther’s story is yet another example that reassures us that we are on the right track to achieve our 2020 target of ‘Impacting 1 Million Lives’. When we witness the youth in our LEI Program constantly do their bit to ‘pay it forward’ & support their communities, we can’t help but feel proud.

Felix Nampaso and Esther Muntet from Senchura Secondary School, got an opportunity to attend our 2016 Leadership and Entrepreneurship Incubator (LEI) program. When they came back to school after their December holidays, they did two things: First, they approached the school about creating a Leadership Club and signed up to be the Co-President upon receiving approval. The second thing they did was rally their classmates about how they could help the community by starting with their current location as a ‘pay it forward’ project.  

In January’16, they started a small school vegetable garden alongside their school. Initially, the school leadership did not take the project very seriously. However, they did help provide seeds and water for the youth to kick start the project. As the vegetables began to grow on a larger scale, the school principal decided to speak to them and understand their ideas.

Felix and Esther

(Felix & Esther in the vegetable garden)

When he interviewed Felix and Esther, he asked them what inspired them to do this project. They confidently explained the concept of “Paying it Forward” and what they had learned at Asante Africa Foundation’s LEI program about youth enterprises and project planning. They explained that as a Leadership Club, they wanted to provide the students options in their food menu, without putting the extra cost burden on the school.  Also offsetting some of the costs, would allow the school to get slightly more expensive items like meat and rice included periodically into the menu. Their logic was that the garden would provide the vegetables that the school had to previously purchase in large quantities.

The school administration was so excited with the results over the first 3 months that in March the school purchased a greenhouse for the club, which would allow them to continue to expand the project.  Large scale gardening has now been initiated as of April 2016. This project is now managed by a larger group of 15 students who have now joined Felix and Esther.      

All of this was achieved because two young people had time to learn to be creative and were empowered to practice and enhance their skills, and enlist others in a vision they had developed together.

 Greenhouse

(Greenhouse for the school)

Believing in our vision to support many such youth, Social Capital Foundation decided to match the LEI donations 1:1, upto $20,000 till August’31’16. We still have to raise $3000 and have 6 days remaining. Your generosity can help us achieve our goals.

donate  

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World Humanitarian Day

“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it” – Nelson Mandela

According to the UN, more than 130 million people are dependent upon humanitarian assistance.  That is about 40% of the population of the United States and more than the population of Kenya and Tanzania combined.  That so many are suffering so much is staggering.  For those of us who do not live that suffering every day, the World Humanitarian Day website has a quiz, that shows some of the choices those in torn and oppressed regions face on a daily basis.  

World Humanitarian Day is August 19.  The Day seeks to draw attention to humanitarian needs worldwide and the importance of international co-operation in meeting those needs.  The challenges this day sheds light on are such that the United Nations convened a global summit in May to generate commitments to reduce suffering from global leaders.  Leading up to the summit, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, published his report for the World Humanitarian Summit.  The report outlined five core responsibilities necessary for delivering a better humanity.  The third core responsibility, “leave no one behind, really stood out to us as an organization because that is what Asante Africa Foundation is all about.  (You can access a copy of the report here)

Asante Africa seeks to transform the lives of youth and enable them to be agents of change in their communities, through education and life skills training.  Our focus is in the rural parts of East Africa, where education is a luxury and not a birthright and where young girls are at a disadvantage due to poverty and traditional cultural practices in these regions.  By building these young people up, giving the resources they need to succeed in the adult world, and challenging them to “pay it forward”, we are building a brighter future for Africa.

As you read further into the Secretary General’s discussion of the core responsibility “leave no one behind”, you will find some of the same themes our organization is fighting for. To “enable adolescents and young people to be agents of positive transformation,” is the core of Asante Africa’s mission statement and this is reflected in each of its programs    To “empower and protect women and girls” is something our Girls’ Advancement Program has accomplished for thousands of young girls.  To “eliminate gaps in education for children, adolescents and young people” is a focus of all our programs, but particularly our Accelerate Learning in the Classroom, which seeks to enable teachers across Kenya and Tanzania to elevate the quality of learning for their students.  The youth and communities we work with become agents of change and not just a statistic.  To further facilitate that, our Leadership and Entrepreneurship Incubator Program prepares students for the transition to the adult world and challenges them to use their growth to benefit their communities.  In fact, Social Capital Foundation has so much confidence in this program, it is matching donations, dollar for dollar, to the program through August 31! 

Not everyone can be on the front lines delivering aid to those in need. However, that does not mean you have to be in the sidelines. Find other ways to get involved, even if it is just supporting organizations like Asante Africa Foundation. Everyone can be a humanitarian. Martin Luther King Jr. rightly said ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is – What are you doing for others?’ We know we are doing our bit! 

Click here to know how you can get involved with Asante Africa Foundation. To get updates,subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter (@asanteafrica)/Facebook (Asante Africa Foundation)
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2016- Mid Year Highlights by Erna Grasz, CEO

We recently concluded our Global Strategy Meeting’2016 in Tanzania. The plans are assertive, the team is determined and the future very bright. Our CEO talks about the takeaways from the meeting.

“Having recently returned from several weeks in East Africa, there is much to acknowledge and recognize in support of the communities we serve. While there are always many stories from the field, I am sewing this post to communicate some of the organizational achievements and key areas of focus.

Key organization message

Sync between Maturity and Growth = Big Impact and Success.

The Best Yet – Annual Global Board Meeting

This year’s annual mission alignment and strategy meeting was hosted by the Tanzania team for staff and Boards from Kenya, Tanzania, and USA. It marked a definitive inflection point in the evolution of Asante Africa’s maturity and growth towards an East African centric organization.  What began with a collective discussion three years ago stimulated by the Price Waterhouse Cooper global governance and implementation plan, is now becoming a reality and is being embraced for what it means to be an East African centric organization. This is occurring at the staff level and at the Board of Directors level.  Everyone appreciates the challenge in front of us and all are committed to navigating the course.

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An excited team after a successful meeting 

The 2020 Vision of One Million Lives Impacted – Assertive and Doable

The program staff, refined and presented the road maps for each program for the next four years. While our plans have always been forward looking and aggressive, all of us now believe  and collectively agree on the guide posts between today and the goal. All are energized and ready for the opportunity.

                                  Staff presenting focus areas and road maps

 Program Highlights and Achievements

  •  The theme is definitely data, data, data

  • We have received recognition by other ‘sister and funding’ organizations for our Sustainable model. We do not treat our youth as beneficiaries but as active participants in Future problem solving of their community needs and challenges. We encourage active knowledge application and transfer through ‘Paying It Forward.’

  • The Government Officials (MoEVT-TZ) and Corporate partners (P&G), recognize our model of TRULY engaging educational stakeholders and community members. This means that the parents’ voices are essential, the school principal’s voice is critical, and the community makes the decisions, while we at Asante Africa Foundation facilitate the process and create a transparent process for all.

  • Our East African Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship Incubator Program has a 5 year Impact Study, Qualitative and Quantitative, underway. The includes real time data collection in the field conducted by 20 of our staff and youth alumni and an orchestrated analysis effort in concert with Savannah State University and Statistics Without Borders team.

  • We have completed the final phases of the MasterCard Foundation funded program for Advancing the Learning in Rural Classrooms. This program has been underway for the last three years with exceptional findings and results. As you may remember, our collective team presented to a global community at the 2016 CIES conference in March. Now we are in the midst of a 3rd party evaluation.

  • We have completed Analysis for our Girls Advancement Program for 2015-2016 P&G program. We have over 6000 girls across Kenya and Tanzania who have vocally shared their newest learnings about bodies maturing, how their voices matter, and how to use their voices against abuse, rape, FGM, and getting their needs met. And the results are staggering. – 91% of the girls are staying in school. Young Girl pregnancies are down by 98% over prior year. Parents are actively engaging in tough conversations with their children about sex, and staying safe.

We have so many more stories to share with you. I do hope you will take a moment to read a few of the recent BLOG posts from our youth in the field and our staff.”

                                                                                                                                           – Erna Grasz

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