Wednesday, May 11, 2005

AFRICARE: Three Decades Of Effort

It has been a long time since Africare has operated out of a few empty offices at the Embassy of the Republic of Niger in the early seventies.

Stating on its website that Africa is Africare's specialty; Africare boasts that it is the oldest and largest African-American organization in the field of aid to Africa. The organization was founded in 1970 and since that time Africare has delivered more than $450 million in assistance to 35 countries through 2,000 projects.

The brainchild of C. Payne Lucas and Doctor William Kirker, both former Peace Corps workers, Africare began as a health care program.

During the devastating drought in the Sahel region of Africa during the early seventies, Africare carried out many well digging projects. Today, the AIDS crisis its special area of interest. Other projects include the creation of a “digital village” in Soweto township. This project gave the community access to computers and digital libraries. Tutors at the digital village are also trained by Africare.

During the late eighties and the first half of the nineties, Africare was instrumental in placing South African graduate students in internships with U.S. businesses

They also:

Provided business-management training to members of a one of South Africa's largest black-owned farm co-op centered around Duthasa village, supported small business startups and created a microenterprise credit program that fostered economic development in the KwaZulu-Natal and Northern provinces and in the province of Mpumalanga, all provinces in South Africa.

Collaborated in Benin and Mali, with a variety of organizations to improve coordination of lending programs for microenterprise startups, and has also helped several hundred entrepreneurs in Malawi's Thyolo district by providing training in business proposal development and credit management.

Implementing the Ouaddaii Food Security Initiative in the Adre/Abeche corridor in the eastern region of Chad to improve food security and nutrition. Activities include water development (wells, dikes, dam construction), work with women and farmer groups to market harvests, support of income-generating activities, and seed distribution.

With support from the UNHCR, and in coordination with local authorities and other humanitarian agencies, Africare is also proceeding with the Care and Assistance to Sudanese Refugees in Eastern Chad project. This project provides assistance to Sudanese refugees by extending assistance in the areas of sanitation, shelter, community services, education, agriculture, and micro-credit.

Its expertise from many years of engaging in water projects is serving Africare well in a current water project in Uganda’s Ntungamo District. The Ntungamo District has partnered with Africa to provide safe water for human use. Africare is providing the supplies, materials and technical assistance to the people of the District so that they can engage in a self-help effort to obtain safe water from newly construct wells and “protected springs.”

Africare says it carries out this program by first identifying existing water sources. Then the skills available within the local community that can be used to assist in the project are assessed and a strategy is then developed. In these project Africare not only help to develop water resources but it also educates community members in the management of water resources by addressing the issues of water handling and storage. Also the areas of well maintenance, community sanitation and waste disposal are addressed.

There are numerous projects that this Washington, D.C. based organization carries out. Too many for me to highlight in this Blog. So, I highly recommend going to their website:

And taking a look at the things they have done and are doing today.

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