Having just closed the books on 2014, we at Asante Africa Foundation are elated to share a recap of another year of impact, expansion, and success. The past year saw many victories throughout the organization, which have served to cement confidence in our mission and heighten our ambitions. Everything we do is to facilitate growth and development in the communities we serve, and in pursuing these goals, we have become more effective across the board.
Early in 2014 Procter & Gamble funded the expansion of our girls education program beyond the Kenyan border into Tanzania. Large corporate partners like Procter & Gamble and Mastercard Foundation are just one factor lending to the legitimacy of our programs. The most profound indicators of our programs’ effectiveness are stories of those we impact, such as Carolyne Sunte, who exhibits the talent, character, and determination of the young people empowered through these initiatives. Prior to receiving an Asante Africa Foundation scholarship, Carolyne was in danger of being forced into an arranged marriage. Without the scholarship that enabled her to stay in school, that might be the case today.
The initiative is a clear one: getting girls in school and helping them stay there through completion has a profound impact on not just the individual, but every person that individual touches, and Asante Africa Foundation is unlocking the power of these individuals to have a resonating effect on their communities. In a drastic divergence from her presumed path, Carolyne graduated high school and in just two short years is “paying it forward” by mentoring hundreds of young girls in our Wezesha Vijana (Empowering Ourselves) program, as well as a translator for her Massai community.
Through Wezesha Vijana, Carolyne teaches and shares her first hand knowledge pertaining to the everyday adversity facing girls growing up in rural East Africa. The holistic education helps young girls stay healthy and safe in an uncertain environment, and able to focus on their studies instead of their fears. She teaches weekly lessons about their physical health and maturing bodies, coping mechanisms for the immense challenges they face, and the importance of financial independence. Just as importantly, she provides emotional support for every facet of these young women’s lives.
The support of our sponsors and donors enables Asante Africa Foundation to unlock the power of hundreds of girls like Carolyne to have a resounding effect on their communities. However, this tradition of paying it forward beyond those who participate directly in the programs. Kelvin, a participant in our Leadership and Entrepreneurship Incubator in Tanzania, inspired his mother to sew and donate uniforms for local orphan children so that “at risk” students can still attend school. She does this despite her own severely limited disposable income, exemplifying the pervasive attitude of the parents of our students: “What’s stopping us from paying it forward as well?”
While Carolyne and Kevin are exceptional young adults, they are not unique in the commitment, dedication and talent being demonstrated across East Africa. Hundreds of youth are demonstrating the amplifying effect that one person can have by paying it forward – a single voice, when nurtured, quickly becomes a powerful chorus.
That chorus is echoed in our results, and I’m proud to say that we’re getting better at quantifying those results. Using data collection and analysis tools in the field, we ensure that Asante Africa Foundation is continuously learning, innovating and efficiently scaling with better data to drive our decision making. Such monitoring and evaluation is paramount to large corporate philanthropy programs, such as the MasterCard Foundation and Proctor and Gamble.
We have refined our key programs over the past three years, solidifying proof of concept and impact while building a strong organizational foundation. Our sights now turn to 2015, a year of scale through replication and expansion. In alignment with our 2020 Vision, we will strengthen these programs, taking them to many new communities in rural Kenya and Tanzania while building partnerships to cross new borders to expand our impact even further.
Because of YOU, we have traveled a great distance from the early days of 2 villages, 2 students, and 2 elementary schools to today’s 36 communities, 40,000 youth and 2000 teachers. And it will be with you on this path with us that we achieve more than we ever thought possible in 2015. The vigor and enthusiasm shared with us by students, teachers, and staff alike makes all the challenges we face seem solvable.
We listen, we facilitate, and we support. Asante SANA (thank you greatly) for doing the same. Get ready for the beginnings of another great year in 2015.