Seeing news and media hop around the world daily, we are reminded just how globally connected and interdependent our lives are today. There is urgency for young people all over the world to be able to realize a future in which they positively influence their lives and the lives of their families. Now more than ever before, young people need tools to create peaceful resolutions to community conflicts, using ethical leadership and beneficial national policies. This not only creates community and regional stability, but it promotes efficient use of resources and autonomy.
Asante Africa Foundation believes that brilliance and talent exist everywhere, but opportunities do not. We connect opportunities to rural marginalized youth in order to transform them into informed, resilient community leaders who will effectively address local challenges and become active participants in the global economy.
Our “eco-system” model specifically targets areas of need:
Scholarships are key to keeping boys and girls in school and filling the talent pool. Our programs equip them with the tools and skills they need to be successful in school, and empower them to confidently meet the challenges of life outside of the classroom, regardless of their economic or geographic status.
We advance talent and resiliency by creating safe learning space (particularly an issue for girls), elevating classroom learning by strengthening teachers’ professional skills and resources, and providing leadership, entrepreneurship, & job preparedness training for secondary school students.
Knowledge-sharing collaborations and partnerships allow us to constantly innovate and maximize our impact.
This past year reminded us that challenges will always be a part of our working vocabulary. In Tanzania, while the presidential election was under way, the country shifted educational priorities toward political efforts, and fear of violence was rampant. In Kenya the teachers’ strikes reduced learning time by 4 weeks, and alongside Kenyans waged attacks on universities. Across our whole organization, we managed staffing changes, reinforcing our policies and becoming collectively stronger. It was a constant dance of give & take, adapting, and learning, but by continuously communicating with our funders, partners, and community leaders we were able to problem solve to find the most comprehensive solutions.
2015 RESULTS: Our programs and approaches are unique and they are working.
As I review the results of this past year, we have made major strides with significant measurable outcomes for the youth we serve – across 186 schools, from the 6000 girls who know how to stay safe and make decisions for their futures, to the 70% of graduating seniors whose high exam scores open the doors to advanced education, to the thousands of talented young East African girls and boys empowered to take control of their job search and financial futures.
WHY WE ARE SUCCESSFUL:
We at Asante Africa Foundation, know that our programs and approaches are unique and they are working. We strategically operate as a global team, in a lean and efficient manner with strong relationships at every level of the family, community, and government where we work. We know that our success is rooted in our core values of partnering with other organizations- continuously learning and innovating- , transparency, and sustainability within our organization.
This past year, we also focused on advancing our monitoring and evaluations tools for compiling qualitative and quantitative information. This allows us to spend “more real time” to answer whether we are having a “real impact” for the youth of East Africa? In doing so, we looked at some of the critical parameters in the equation: How would we define real impact? Are young peoples’ lives better in the long term because of our programs?
LOOKING FORWARD: Three years ago we, Asante Africa Foundation’s global network, set a course toward our vision of impacting 1,000,000 young lives by 2020.
The regions and countries where we work are excited and eager to bring in tools and methods to help propel their youth to a new level. There is a unified hope that their children will have choice and opportunity in this new modern world.
We have the skills, talent, and expertise in place in the countries where we work, along with the structural foundation to solve challenges as they arrive.
While we tackle these aggressive goals, we need you with us as partners and collaborators.
I invite you to join the global community
“making it happen” and together we will cultivate a global community of young people who are prepared to meet life’s challenges, prosper in the global economy, and catalyze positive change. I also invite you to reach out to me personally, for a deeper conversation about what your role at AAF can look like as we move into the New Year.