Monday, October 26, 2009


Photo from Fugees Family website

Fugees Family came to my attention because it's founder, Luma Mufleh is receiving an award from Search For Common Ground, another non-profit engaged in making the world a better place. Coach Mufleh and her story - and the story of the Fugees Family can be found on the websites listed below. But here briefly is a short statement from the Fugees Family website that explains what it is doing.

FUGEES FAMILY, INC. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to working with child survivors of war. We build upon the power of soccer to galvanize these kids by giving them the support and structure they need to realize their vast potential. Five years ago, Coach Luma Mufleh started a Fugees team to provide refugee boys with free access to organized soccer. Since then, our programming has grown to include year-round soccer for 86 boys aged 10-18, after-school tutoring, a private academy, and an academic enrichment camp.

The Fugees Family provides a space for the kids to heal and meet others like them, from different countries, who have been through similar experiences. The players might begin by regarding one another with distrust or even hostility. By conducting drills with various players grouped together and enforcing an English-only policy at all times, the kids learn to cooperate. Africans and Asians, Northern and Southern Sudanese, Muslims and Christians, Sunni and Shia Muslims - they all play on the same team, finding their commonalities instead of focusing on their differences. Their bonds make them more secure in their own identity and more capable of acclimating to the mainstream.

The Fugees Family works to afford our kids equal access to the educational opportunities others in their age group have, helping them to acquire the social and academic skills necessary to succeed. Our goal is for the players to work hard and graduate from high school with a plan for college, technical school, or job training. We are committed to an approach that takes the whole individual into account: we are consistently involved in all areas of the kids' lives, we set high expectations on and off the field, we foster a familial atmosphere, and we have fun.




Thursday, October 22, 2009


Image from Play Soccer web site

The PLAY SOCCER grassroots community says that its program aims to make the world a better place for children and youth who master and enjoy playing soccer/football while learning health, physical and social development life skills.

Read More about it here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Photo from BiD Network web site
BiD Network has proudly announced that the Access to Clean Energy Challenge was launched on October 1st of 2009. The Access to Clean Energy Challenge is a business plan competition for entrepreneurs that deliver access to clean energy in developing countries, and is being organized by BiD Network with the support of E&Co, GVEP , Barclays, Jump up and FMO.

On its web site Bid Network gives ground rules for the competition:

“Clean energy comprises: wind, solar, biogas, hydro, liquefied petroleum gas, biomass and energy efficiency. Non-renewable energies are not excluded but the approaches to energy production, usage or financing should focus on established, affordable, reliable technologies that move communities up the energy ladder towards cleaner, more modern forms of energy.

“As with all the Challenges, participants submitting plans will receive feedback and support in the writing of their business plans. Winners will receive an actual investment and their business plans will be presented to more than 100 potential investors.”

In addition to the main competition, there is a “sub” competition which is only open for East African countries called: Access to Clean Energy Challenge East Africa. This Challenge is focused on the following countries: Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania & Uganda.

The BiD Network states that it is an “online marketplace for business in developing countries. It is an online community of thousands of entrepreneurs, experts and investors from all over the world with a common aim: to stimulate business opportunities in developing countries.”

The BiD Network:

1. Makes SME business plans visible

2. Links entrepreneurs to finance and expertise

Ambitions of the BiD Network Foundation:

Establish several decentralised national BiD Challenges in developing countries

Bring more entrepreneurs into the BiD Network (start-up and established businesses)

Engage hundreds of professionals from companies and NGOs as business coaches

Move from a ‘prizes-only format’ to one providing loans and investments

Develop an online investor-to-entrepreneur lending facility

What moves us

The Private sector is the backbone of any economy. It is of key importance for economic development and poverty reduction in developing countries. But two significant problems arise in this context:

The ‘deal- flow’ problem: over large geographical distances it is hard to find, identify and verify good business propositions in developing countries. Quality business plans are ‘hidden’ and so are entrepreneurs to implement them.

The ‘missing middle’ problem. There is a financing gap between $5.000 and $500.000 (where microfinance stops and commercial finance starts) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries.

Our mission is to tackle these two problems. We have created the BiD Network and the BiD Challenge to support SMEs in developing countries.

Our objective

To contribute to sustainable economic development by stimulating entrepreneurship in developing countries

We try to achieve this by

Stimulating small and medium sized entrepreneurship to create jobs and raise income in developing countries.

Engaging professionals, investors and organisations offering them the opportunity to directly contribute to poverty reduction through SME development in developing countries.

Inspiring people that business and poverty reduction can go hand-in hand.

What is the BiD Challenge?

The Business in Development (BiD) Challenge is the first international business plan competition for entrepreneurship and development. The BiD Challenge offers entrepreneurs worldwide the opportunity to develop and execute business plans that improve living standards in developing countries at a profit.

What can the BiD Challenge offer you?

Entrepreneurs: access to a worldwide platform to make your business plan visible; receive professional feedback and assistance from business coaches; get exposure to a network of investors, experts and business partners and a chance to win prize money.

Companies & NGOs: the opportunity to share the competence and expertise network of your organisation with thousands of entrepreneurs in developing countries. Engage your employees, invest in SMEs and get a network, market insight and possible return on investment.

Professionals: the opportunity to make a difference by sharing your business expertise with entrepreneurs as a coach, screener or jury member. Enjoy a wonderful experience, broaden your market insights and possibly get a stake in a change-making business.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

William Kamkwamba: 14 year-old Energy Innovator

William Kamkwamba, a 14 year-old Malawian secondary student won international fame and admiration for having self-built a windmill in Masitala, a small hamlet where he lived with his family. Building the windmill with materials obtained from a local junkyard, bicycle parts and blue gum trees, he was able to power the electrical appliances in his family's house.

William had to drop out of school because his family could not afford the tuition that amounted to about $80.00 U.S. After leaving school, he decided to build the windmill for his family. He taught himself how to
construct the energy device by looking at photographs and reading a book from the nearby library.
Picture frm

There are plenty of stories about William Kamkwamba on line and in the media but this video below from the TED Foundation is a good place to hear him tell his own story.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009


From November 25 - 27 there was a CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM held in DOHA, QATAR. The Doha NGO Group on Financing for Development (DNG) issued a "Civil Society Declaration" in response to that forum and concluded:

"In the face of the multiple crises, we urge governments to take the side of women and men workers, farmers, youth and children to promote environmental sustainability by taking an alternative economic path. We, 250 national and international civil society networks, representing millions of people from around the world, therefore call for change in Doha that puts effective development, poverty eradication, human rights, gender equality, decent work, and environmental sustainability at the fore."

The DNG expressed why they felt the need to issue its Declaration when they stated:

"Today the world is consumed by an urgent series of crises: energy, food, climate, and finance that not only threaten the realization of the MDGs and the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people, in the North and the South, but also the stability of the world’s economies. The Northern governments and financial system are responsible for the current crises, but the costs and the impacts are paid for by the entire world, and by the poorest countries in particular. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization $30 billion are required every year to eradicate poverty. Trade negotiations have reached a stalemate. Persistent gender inequalities reflect and are related to all these structural imbalances in the global economic system; thus it is urgent to include a gender perspective into all policies, at all levels and sectors, as well most Northern countries are falling far short of meeting their aid commitments. Overcoming these crises requires decisive action and leadership from the global community. To date however, such leadership has been sorely missing."
The entire Declaration can be read online at the CIVIL SOCIETY DECLARATION

Monday, August 31, 2009


[This information has been taken directly from the web site of; and more information may be found at its web site by following the link at the end of this posting.]

Photo from


Co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, is a nonprofit organization that has transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America by providing access to safe water and sanitation. traces its roots back to the founding of WaterPartners in 1990. In July 2009, WaterPartners merged with H2O Africa, resulting in the launch of works with local partners to deliver innovative solutions for long-term success. Its microfinance-based WaterCredit Initiative is pioneering sustainable giving in the sector


Since its inception in1990, had helped hundreds of communities in Africa, Asia, and Central America gain access to safe water and sanitation. All of the projects we support are self-sustaining, with organizational and financial structures in place to allow communities to independently operate and maintain them. Projects have an active water committee governing the operation of the water system, and users paying a water bill to cover the costs of operating and maintaining the water system.

Below are links to countries where we have active programs. If you have any particular questions about our work, please contact us using the Information Request Form.


Ethiopia. Our program in Tigray, Ethiopia is serving 32,000 people in 76 communities and six schools. Tigray is a region in northern Ethiopia that borders on Sudan. Tigray is often one of the regions that is hardest hit by drought and crop failure.

Ghana. Program activities in Ghana take place in the Volta and Upper East regions, located in the southeast and northern parts of the country, respectively. Activities include community-based water, sanitation, and hygiene education programs.

Kenya. is working in the Kisumu region of Kenya. Located on the equator, Kisumu’s climate is hot all year. Much of Nyanza Province, where is working, is semi-arid and is subject to severe drought. Most people obtain their drinking water from Lake Victoria, seasonal rivers and streams, and hand-dug wells. All of these sources are contaminated. Women and children walk up to six kilometers each day to haul water, a task that can take three hours. Water is not only contaminated at its source but also from the way it is transported and stored.


Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, offers both grant and WaterCredit programs, and is addressing safe water needs in both rural and urban areas. Our urban program focuses on the slums of the capital city, Dhaka. Our rural program is located in Rajshahi and Manikganj Districts.

India.’s program in India provides safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities to the families living in five states - Andhrah Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Tamil Nadu. offers both grant and WaterCredit programs in India.

Philippines.’s program in the Philippines began in 2003 with a project in Barangay Villahermosa.

Central America

El Salvador. has completed two rural water and sanitation projects serving over 1,200 people in the communities of Caulote and Las Americas. These communities are located in the department of Cuscatlán, located approximately 20 miles northeast of San Salvador. The new water systems in El Salvador are spring-fed pumped systems.

Guatemala. Our projects in Guatemala are located in the department of Quiché. Quiché is in the Western highlands of the country. Because of the high prevalence of mountain streams in the Guatemalan highlands, all of our water solutions in Guatemala are spring-fed gravity flow systems.

Honduras. has helped more than 40 Honduran communities build their own safe water systems. Our program in Honduras focuses on the Departments of Lempira and Intibuca, in western Honduras. The once heavily forested Departments now suffer from deforestation. This has led to extreme depletion of the local water tables, forcing women and children to walk long distances to collect water for their families.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


[photo from ICT Update]
Orange Farm, South Africa, an informal settlement of approximately 300,000 people who live about 45 km south of Johannesburg. Water and reliable electrical service is not always easily available in Orange Farm, but thanks to one company, mobile phone service is becoming a reality. The company that is making the mobile service a reality is Dabba, a South African telecommunications company. Debba was initially based in Orange Farm and its service makes wireless service much cheaper than it would have been otherwise. Now Orange Farm has affordable telephone service and other rural communities may be able to follow this example.

The full story about Orange Farm and Dabba can be found in an article titled: “The Mesh Potato Network” in Issue 45 of ICT Update, published in October of 2008.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


If you want to find out how A Locally Fabricated Radio Station was made or A plastic waste recycling press was created, or even how to charge mobile phones with bikes and scrap you should surf on over to AFRIGADGET.COM.

[photo from]

"AfriGadget is a website dedicated to showcasing African ingenuity. A team of bloggers and readers contribute their pictures, videos and stories from around the continent. The stories of innovation are inspiring. It is a testament to Africans bending the little they have to their will, using creativity to
overcome life’s challenges."
Afrigadget is also supported by The Grassroots Reporting Project.

"One of our goals at AfriGadget is to find more stories of African ingenuity. The Grassroots Reporting Project is our plan to find, equip and train more AfriGadget reporters in the field throughout Africa.

AfriGadget’s goal is to leverage the power of current and emerging technology such as video cameras, digital cameras, laptops and phones to bring quality content online and eventually on television.

A combination of mobile phones and computers will be assigned to individuals in 10 African countries for the purpose of getting more on-the-ground reporting of stories of African ingenuity to the world. An AfriGadget editor will be in charge of identifying the best candidates for inclusion in the program. This editor will also travel to each country to train and equip the new AfriGadget reporters for the program.

This is possible by creating a network of field reporters who report on stories that meet the following criteria:

•Ingenious innovation that is new, or a repurposing of existing technology in a new way.

•Interesting in the sense that the story captures the imagination of others, inspiring others to see solutions in uncommon ways.

•Practical ideas that solve problems in a demonstrable way.

•Entrepreneurs who are inventing new products or solutions."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Japan Supports Promotion of Bednets to Prevent Malaria in Ghana

[This article by Junko Mitani was posted to the UNICEF web site in September of 2007, but the word still needs to be spread that bed nets do work. The text of this article and the accompanying photo are the property of UNICEF. At the end of the article, there is a link to a short video on the project.]

GUOMONGO VILLAGE, Ghana, 10 September 2007 – Malaria remains the largest single killer of children in Ghana, taking a toll of approximately 20,000 child deaths every year. One in every four deaths of Ghanaian children under the age of five is due to the mosquito-borne disease.

Malaria also continues to be a major contributor to prevailing poverty and low productivity here.

But ongoing support from Japan – including $1 million contributed recently – is helping families in Ghana reduce the spread of malaria and its deadly impact.

Prevention is the key

Apripey Anyongubire, a mother from Gumongo village in the country’s Upper East Region, has suffered the loss of two children to malaria.

“One evening, I realized one of my children had high fever. I took him to a clinic but nobody was there,” she said. “I took him to another clinic but on the way home, he went into convulsions. I rushed to an herbalist but the child died on the way.” Another of her children died of malaria at home after experiencing similar symptoms.

It is not easy for poor parents like Ms. Anyongubire to seek and obtain appropriate medical treatment for their children in a timely manner, especially in rural villages. Prevention is the key to reducing the number of malaria deaths.

Proper use of insecticide-treated bednets, for example, can reduce about 20 per cent of all child deaths.

Community volunteers raise awareness

To spread that message, Ghanaian community health volunteer Robert Azerko makes house visits on a blue bicycle provided by UNICEF. With a focus on reaching pregnant women, he explains the importance of sleeping under a bednet to prevent malaria.

The visits are critical because some people don’t believe malaria is transmitted through mosquitoes. Others don’t like to sleep under the nets because they feel uncomfortable or too hot, or have trouble hanging them up.

Hundreds of volunteers like Mr. Azerko are working to promote appropriate behaviours that will prevent malaria in their communities.

Nets for 400,000 children and women

With more than $3 million in funding from the people and the Government of Japan since 2004, UNICEF supports the Ghana Health Service’s provision of bednets to children and pregnant women.

“Reduction of child mortality is a priority for Japan’s official development aid,” said His Excellency Masamichi Ishikawa, Japan’s Ambassador to Ghana. “The people and the Government of Japan are committed to support Ghana’s efforts in malaria prevention.”

Japan has contributed over $1 million this year to purchase long-lasting bednets that will protect approximately 400,000 young children and women from the disease.

In November, the nets will be distributed as part of the country’s Integrated Maternal and Child Health Campaign, an initiative led by the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service.

Support from development partners

“This campaign will not only provide lifesaving bednets to young Ghanaian children and pregnant women but will also provide oral polio vaccine, vitamin A supplements and deworming medication,” explained UNICEF’s Representative in Ghana, Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque.

“Such efforts are supported by a number of partners, including the Government of Japan, DFID [the UK Department for International Development], USAID and other development partners,” she added.

“In the Upper East Region, the use of the nets is between 26 and 29 per cent, which is still low,” said UNICEF Ghana Health Officer Felicia Mahama. “Our main challenge here is communication on the use of bednets.”

UNICEF: Daily Glance Story site

Video on story from Dailymotion

Thursday, August 06, 2009


[Below is a message from the Chair of the Council of Management of the Africa Centre in London's Convent Gardens. A new building is in the works and the Centre has a new website. This message is taken verbatim from their new website.]


Dear Friends,

Welcome to our new Africa Centre website!

The Africa Centre is being renewed to serve its stakeholders better. Since its inaugural launch in 1964, the Centre has played an important role in projecting a positive face of Africa in London, providing a focal point for all forms of cultural and social activities related to Africa through meetings, talks, visual arts exhibitions, cinema, literature, and the performing arts.

As you may be aware, financial difficulties led to the deterioration of the Covent Garden building, ultimately hindering the full and effective use of the facilities and affecting programming. The latter has now been reduced to a minimum and we are currently forging ahead with plans to redevelop the premises and sustain its operations into the future.

The purpose of the present redevelopment is to guarantee a future Africa Centre where the building’s main facilities can effectively serve the Centre’s remit as a topflight contemporary African cultural and creative centre in Europe, whilst at the same time providing income generation that will ensure long-term sustainability. Business of Culture were brought on board to manage the Centre in the interim and to direct and advise on the Development of the Centre and its future organisation. Considerable progress has been made in stabilising the Centre’s operations and finances and in creating a credible foundation to go forward.

Since the redevelopment process started in 2006, we have come a long way. A lot is happening and various project preparation strands are coming to completion. These include the Feasibility Study carried out by a professional team led by Ash Sakula Architects and project managers, Malcolm Reading Consultants; the commercial and business case for the future centre, incorporating the findings of a thoroughly researched cultural demand assessment, carried out by Good Communications and Business of Culture; the fundraising strategy being developed by The Philanthropy Company and the development of a new programming vision for the future Africa Centre. During this transitional period the centre will continue to be involved in small-scale but exciting cultural events that will pave the way forward.

As Chair of the Africa Centre’s Council of Management since 2004, and on behalf of the Trustees, I would like to reiterate our determination that the Centre’s role be continued and enhanced in the future, free from the uncertainties of the past twenty years. We are committed to realising the potential of King Street site, which has been one of the main strengths of the Centre in its forty-year history and, and offers an unrivalled 'shop window' for Africa in central London.

This new website forms an essential part of our series of initiatives intended to incubate the new Africa Centre in people’s minds, and to reflect the dynamism and excitement of the redevelopment process on an ongoing basis. I encourage you to visit the site regularly for updates on progress made, as well as for details of upcoming programming activities and initiatives.

Best Wishes

Oliver Tunde Andrews


The Africa Centre

Monday, July 27, 2009


The African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) of the Friends Peace Teams has been around for quite a while and done a lot of good. But for all their work and for all the good that they have done, they are still unknown to many people; even people who stay abreast of development work in Africa.

[The information below has been taken directly from the AGLI website:


Mission of the African Great Lakes Initiative

The African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) of the Friends Peace Teams strengthens, supports, and promotes peace activities at the grassroots level in the Great Lakes region of Africa (Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda). To this end, AGLI responds to requests from local religious and non-governmental organizations that focus on conflict management, peace building, trauma healing, and reconciliation. AGLI sponsors Peace Teams composed of members from local partners and the international community. We are a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

History of the African Great Lakes Initiative

The African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) is a program created by the Friends Peace Teams, an organization consisting of sixteen Quaker Yearly Meetings in the United States who have united to support the traditional emphasis of Quakers in promoting a more peaceful world. In April, 1998, the Friends Peace Teams realized that Quakers in the Great Lakes region of Africa, numbering almost half of the Quakers in the world, were in countries with a great deal of violence, social unrest, genocide, and civil war. Consequently in January 1999, an international delegation of seven team members visited Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. From this visit and subsequent discussions, the Friends Peace Teams decided to create the African Great Lakes Initiative to support peacemaking activities at the grassroots level. We are a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

AGLI Programs

In Rwanda, AVP is conducting six workshops in six resettlement communities for Hutu and Tutsi Rwandans who were recently expelled from Tanzania. They are also doing a series of workshops in remote villages of Eastern Province where the wounds from the genocide are still festering. In Kenya, due to the violence after the December 27, 2007 elections, AVP in western Kenya plans are to conduct 200 basic, advanced, and training for facilitator workshops in various communities. Many of these workshops will involve the young people who were involved in much of the local violence after the election. Sites may include Kisii, Kisumu, and Bondo in Nyanza Province; Shinyalu, Kakamega, the Mt Elgon area, Lugari District, Malava District and Vihiga District in Western Province; and Turbo, Eldoret and Kitale in Rift Valley Province. Each site will have ten or more workshops so that each area can be adequately impacted.

In Burundi, HROC is concentrating its work in three up-country sites. They are also developing a special workshop for HIV+ women and a second level, Healing of Memories, workshop.In Rwanda, HROC plans on developing a workshop geared for teenagers and a second for youth in their twenties. These will be done with the children of the Women in Dialogue program of the Friends Peace House. They are also beginning workshops with the Batwa, the third, minority ethnic group in Rwanda. After AGLI began the HROC program in North Kivu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year, HROC-North Kivu will use its trained Healing Companions to do basic HROC workshops in internally displaced camps.

AGLI is planning five workcamps for summer 2009 - FWA clinic in Kamenge, Burundi; Friends Peace Centre in Lubao, Kenya; building homes in Lugari District, Kenya; Gisenyi Peace Center in Gisenyi, Rwanda on the border with Congo; and, the Bududa Vocational Institute and Children of Hope orphanage in Bududa, Uganda.

Friends Women’s Association:
One of the AGLI workcamps will complete the last three rooms needed for the clinic to be recognized by the Government as an approved full clinic. FWA is working with HROC to develop the HIV+ workshop. They continue to work with local HIV+ women (and some men) and do regular medical work for the surrounding population.


If you get the chance, drop by their web site and take a look at the many exciting things that they are doing in the Great Lakes Region.


Monday, July 20, 2009


This information is taken directly from the Youth for Effective Leadership Forum web page of the Eden Readers Commission of Nigeria (ERCON) web site.

YELF is an acronym of Youth for Effective Leadership Forum. This project is an initiative of Eden Readers’ Club of Nigeria (ERCON), which is currently working on 2 of the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): promoting universal Basic Education and Ensuring Environmental sustainability. Its core focus is to strengthen Youth / Leadership development projects in the state, Nigeria and Africa through education and social events that engage Youth/ Leaders in and on interacting platforms, with eye on effectiveness in service delivery that seeks to develop young people into self sustained individuals, able to build self- esteem & positive attitudes, and find knowledge around vocational practices that will expose and offer them the opportunity to train and acquire entrepreneurial skills, which make them confident and versatile in maintaining all manner of jobs and finding a better livelihood (empowerment).

Our vision is to see a Nigeria, Africa and world free of ignorance and illiteracy, where Leadership is effective and young people have the opportunity to realize their potentials and pursue their aspirations, even as they work with Leadership to make it work in an atmosphere of peace, literacy, poverty and corruption free, and sustainable environment.

To hold activities that seek to promote the culture of reading for writing skills development and transforming leadership through education and social events for youth integral development (which covers their physical, spiritual, mental and intellectual growth).

Our mission is to engage young people in intense reading programs and entrepreneurial skills acquisition (vocational) training for self sustainability and personal development and also involve youth/leaders in interactions that aim to reduce leadership ineffectiveness in service delivery and expose youth to participation, scholarships and other resources for empowerment. Through this statement of purpose, this project reduces: ignorance and illiteracy, youth idleness and unemployment, immorality, alcoholism, other unholy behaviors, critical mind-set towards leadership and reduction of poverty level through education and social events.

Amedu Monday Amedu President /Founder Gen. Sec/M&E Officer

Blessing Ejiogu General Secretary

Mohammed. Nurudeen Project manager

Philip Joshua Provost


Monday, July 13, 2009

African Leadership Academy - World Class Pan-African Secondary Institution

[This Article was taken directly from the web site of (the) African Leadership Academy; which can be found at the web site posted below.]

African Leadership Academy was founded in 2004 with the belief that ethical leadership is the key to transforming the African continent. Founders Fred Swaniker, Chris Bradford, Peter Mombaur, and Acha Leke sought to create an institution that would develop, connect, and support those individuals who will lead the continent toward a peaceful and prosperous future. In the two years that followed, the founding team built a powerful network of advisors and developed a robust, sustainable operating model for the Academy, a world-class, pan-African secondary institution on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa.

In 2006, these efforts were rewarded when Founders Fred Swaniker and Chris Bradford were recognized as “two of the 15 best emerging social entrepreneurs in the world” by Echoing Green. The momentum only continued in 2007 with the identification of our initial campus and the announcement that Christopher Khaemba, one of Africa’s finest educators, will join African Leadership Academy as the inaugural Dean of School. Dean Khaemba brings extensive experience as a school leader and is noted for his ability to inspire and develop students from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.

African Leadership Academy recruited its first class of 100 young leaders from across the continent for entry in September 2008. They also hire world-class faculty members from across Africa and around the globe and developing a broad range of partnerships.

Visit the African Leadership Academy's web site to learn more.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Volunteer Uganda Kampala Abroad - Worth Watching

Volunteer Uganda Kampala has a video, thanks to A Broader View.Org. Take a minute to watch it and then pass the word along to others. [Don't forget to hit the "Play" button.]

Volunteer Uganda Kampala Abroad
Video sent by abroaderview

This organization offers people the opportunity to volunteer in Kampala, Uganda supporting orphanage assistance, teaching English and IT/Computer programs, and construction projects. It is programs like this that help well meaning individuals to be meaningful contributors in the Global community. Pass the word along about this great opportunity to explore life in rural Africa, living and working with interesting people and learning that one person can make a difference.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

FEMNET - Advancing The Quality Of Life For Women

[This information was taken from the FEMNET web site.]

The African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) was set up in 1988 to share experiences, information and strategies among African women's non-governmental organisations (NGOs) through advocacy, training and communications so as to advance African women's development, equality and other human rights.

FEMNET aims to strengthen the role and contribution of African NGOs focusing on women's development, equality and other human rights. It also aims to provide a channel through which these NGOs can reach one another and share experiences, information and strategies to as to improve their work on African women's development, equality and other human rights.

FEMNET is governed by a Constitution and the following governance and administrative structure:

- National focal points in African countries whose representatives
attend a tri-annual Programming Conference and General Assembly;

- An elected Executive Board which includes two Board members per
sub-region and a Chairperson. In addition, there are two Ex-Officio Board
members (immediate past Chairperson and the Executive Director);

- An elected Board of Trustees to oversee FEMNET's assets; and

- A Secretariat that implements FEMNET's programmes and is headed
by an Executive Director.

FEMNET's specific objectives include:

- exchanging experiences in planning, implementing and evaluating women's programmes and projects through interaction with NGOs, development agencies and relevant regional and international intergovernmental bodies;
- promoting women's activities in Africa through the strengthening of existing organisations and the establishment of new ones as may be needed;
- playing vanguard and catalytic roles in the treatment of feminist issues which cannot be handled by government gender mechanisms due to the threat that such issues pose to patriarchal states;
- promoting the better utilisation of African women's NGOs by development agencies and regional and international intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) such as the African Union (AU) and the various United Nations (UN) agencies;
- mobilising resources for African women's development, equality and other women's human rights by local, regional and international sources; and enabling collective action by African women's movements in order to tackle regional gender issues.

Since its inception in 1988, FEMNET has played a leadership role for African women's NGOs at regional and international decision-making and policy fora. FEMNET has gained recognition as the convenor of African women’s movement in key circles, including the United Nations agencies, African Union, NEPAD processes and among women’s regional NGOs. This recognition has resulted from persistent pursuit of its networking mandate and the quality leadership FEMNET has offered over the years.

Programme context:

FEMNET’s major goal is to ensure that African women’s organisations, lobby groups, decision-makers, like-minded organisations are able to gain conceptual clarity of key concepts and issues relating to the empowerment of women and gender equality. Further, that given this knowledge, they will be in a position, to act towards creating an environment of gender equality and social justice and to bring an end to all forms of discrimination against women.

FEMNET works in three main programme areas:
The Advocacy Programme
The Communications Programme
The Capacity Building Programme

The Advocacy Programme includes projects designed to evolve approaches and methodologies for dealing with barriers to the implementation of the Dakar and Beijing Platforms for Action (PFAs). FEMNET was the focal organisation for African women's preparations for participation in the 1995 Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women. FEMNET continues to collaborate with African women's non governmental organisations (NGOs) on follow-up activities to the Beijing NGO Forum, the parallel intergovernmental conference and the Beijing Plus Five review process. The programme has also been involved in mainstreaming gender into regional processes and institutions, most notably engaging with the African Union and its specialized mechanisms. The advocacy programme has also been involved in promoting the economic, social and cultural rights of African women.

The Communications Programme is the core programme of the Network. It is a vital avenue through which FEMNET generates data and information, facilitates the exchange and sharing of this information on women's human rights issues at international, regional and national levels to its various constituencies across Africa and globally. The programme seeks to optimumly use ICTs to provide African women with qualitative strategic information on women's development, equality and human rights and to build the capacity of African women's organizations to produce content for advocacy.

The Capacity-building Programme plays an important role in empowering and building networking expertise, skills and the capacities of its members through training in critical areas such as women’s human rights, gender analysis and mainstreaming, leadership, advocacy, ICTs etc. In 2002, FEMNET developed a model for training of trainers in gender mainstreaming which is applicable to the 12 priority areas outlined in the African and Beijing Platforms for Action. The model has been tested at the national level in a number of African states and has been developed to explicitly address sectoral concerns. For example, several subject-based manuals and resource books for gender mainstreaming have been developed in areas such as gender equality, macroeconomics, and sexual reproductive health. These have proved to be useful information materials and tools for advocacy and training.

Following the development of its Strategic Plan for the period 2008-2012, the following Vision, Mission and Core Values will guide FEMNET.


African women's collective leadership for equality, peace and sustainable development.


FEMNET seeks to facilitate and coordinate the sharing of experiences, ideas, information, and strategies for human rights promotion among African women's organisations through networking, communication, capacity-building and advocacy at the regional and international levels.

FEMNET's Core Values

Commitment and passion for women's advancement;
Integrity, credibility, transparency and accountability;
Unity in diversity, solidarity, inclusiveness, respect and tolerance;
Professionalism, effectiveness, creativity and responsibility;
Justice, equality and democracy.

As a pan-African, membership-based network, FEMNET has continued to play a leading role in building the women’s movement in Africa and ensuring that African women's voices influence decisions made at different levels that impact on their lives. FEMNET links up and implements various activities in collaboration with sub-regional networks and national focal points (NFPs).

Beginning August 2008, FEMNET embarked on a project that seeks to review and strengthen its members communication and networking linkages at country and sub-regional levels. The purpose is to ensure more involvement of the member organisations in FEMNET's programs, mobilize new member organisations and update its database of women organisations in the region, strengthen the connection with women operating at the grassroots level and minimize the difficulties in obtaining continuous feedback from its constituency at different levels. To make this happen, FEMNET idenitified national women's networks and umbrella organizations in five countries: Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia to be the lead in establishing the country level NFPs. Most of the NFPs identified are expected to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with FEMNET, specifying and agreeing on ways to collaborate in their various programme activities.

Visit FEMNET's Web Site to learn More.

Monday, June 08, 2009


The following information was taken from the LUKMEF web site which has several additional pages with more information about the organization

LUKMEF-Cameroon (Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation -Cameroon) is an NGO legalized in Cameroon since 1999. LUKMEF’s mission is to promote peace, nonviolence, social justice and sustainable development in Cameroon.

The organization is managed through an independent Board of Directors (from Australia, Holland, Germany, USA and Cameroon) that meets once every year (November). The day-to-day activities of the organization are run by an administrative team headed by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) assisted by three Directors of Programs (DP-Peace/Nonviolence, DP-Social Justice, and DP-Sustainable Development). Each project is headed by a project director drawn from the staff.

The organization works with 7 permanent staff, part-time and volunteers (nationals and expatriates). Additional project staff are recruited on contract basis during the life cycle of each project.

Track Records
Since 1999 the organization has supported 3729 youth in job training in varying domains. And up to 61.3% of trained youth gain jobs or start small businesses after the trainings. The organization has also carried out a wide range of other peace and development programs such as: the inter ethnic dialogue programs, organizational networking and capacity building, Micro-Grants for Income generating activities for rural women, the first women’s conference on HIV/AIDS, the HIV/AIDS Rights Watch Group to provide pro-bono legal assistance to HIV infected persons, The Resource Centre, Base-line studies, project monitoring and Evaluation including the Abuja 15%, NACC, UNGASS DOC etc. For networking and resource sharing, the organization partners with many local organizations and has organized a wide range of capacity building programs (project writing, project management, Reporting, Human Resource Management, community project design methodology, etc). The organization has supported a number of rural projects such as; bridges, community centers, and environmental conservation. It has also taken part in many regional and international conferences including UN review meetings. The organization is a member of many national and international networks and activists groups in its domains of operation. We provide consultancy services to other agencies and NGOs in Cameroon. Though the organization’s activities touch the general population, we put a lot of attention to problems faced by women and the girl child.

Working Languages
The working languages of the organization are English and French.

These programs and projects are being realized thanks to the financial and technical support of national and international organizations such as Action Aid-International, CARE-International, UNAIDS, US Embassy, British Council, Limbe City Councils, SONARA, Apara Family Fund, Global Action to Prevent War, Rotary Club of CT, Peace Centre (Columbus university USA), Peace through Dialogue Inc.

How LUKMEF Expenses are Allocated
Administrative Costs = 9.5%
Program Activities = 90.5%

Contact Addresses
P.O. Box 1348, Limbe
SW Province
Tel: +237-
E-mail: Contact Person

Tanyi Christian E.
President / CEO
Tel: +237-


Friday, June 05, 2009

With The Help of On Line Volunteers Benin Is Converting Pig Waste Into Energy

[This story is a reprint of an article from the United Nations' "Online.Volunteering.Org" Newsletter of June 2009. The entire Newsletter can be read here.

This story is a powerful example of what can be done with good will in combination with the internet.]

Combining their expertise in engineering, life sciences and international commerce, seven online volunteers have been helping the NGO Africavenir develop a sustainable solution to environmental pollution caused by pig breeding.

To address the contamination of groundwater, emission of green house gases and odour through pig breeding in Porto Novo, Benin, Africavenir developed the idea to turn pig waste into energy and use that energy to provide electricity for public schools and health centres. For example, left-over waste can be used as compost for organic farming. Through the Online Volunteering service, Africavenir was able to harness expertise from volunteers around the world to materialize their idea.

The online volunteers contributed their various specializations and skills to different aspects of the project. First, they developed the project outline to identify the project elements and tasks. Then they produced the technical project document, comprising an analysis of the characteristics of biogas, the environmental impact, a description of the process to generate biogas, the requirements for the power plant, cost estimates, etc. Through Internet research, the volunteers identified the type of generator that was needed and located a potential supplier in China.

Although a big piece of the work has already been accomplished, some important tasks remain before Africavenir can start looking for sponsors to finance the implementation of the project: the financial document needs to be finalized and the legal documents elaborated.

Africavenir posted the technical document on the Réseau International d’Accès Aux Energies Durables (RIAED), a knowledge and resource-sharing platform for renewable energy. Several companies have already demonstrated interest in investing in this project. In parallel, Africavenir is engaged in negotiations with the supplier of the generator in China. “Through the collaboration with the online volunteers, we learned about the complexity of such a project, the range of tasks and activities involved and the necessary elements to be covered by the project document,” says Megan Stanislaus Afan, the director of Africavenir.

The volunteers
Comlan Tony Kouteh, Benin, is an Energy Engineer who also holds a Masters degree in Project Management. “This was not only an opportunity to serve others and to contribute to environmental conservation, but also to gain professional experiences and exercise my skills. I very much enjoyed the exchange with volunteers from other countries about various technical and organizational questions of the project.”

Jean Bosco Utuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, is a rural development specialist with experience in environmental management.“I had already realized a similar project. I am glad that I could share my experiences”.

Andrea Rudin Montes de Oca, Costa Rica, is an Industrial Engineer, with experience in purchasing, planning, supply chain and people management. ”I am glad for having had the opportunity of participating in this project and being part of the solution.”

Hippolyt Fogaing, Cameroon, holds a diploma of higher technician (University of Technology) in Electrical Engineering with eight years of industrial experience, currently pursuing a degree in Electromechanical Engineering. “This was a rich experience; my research on the use of biogas helped me learn a lot about this renewable energy source.”

Koulibaly Kayergué, Côte d’Ivoire, holds a Masters in International Business and Negotiation and is in charge of foreign trade statistics at the General Management of the Customs of Côte d’Ivoire. “My contribution to this project was validated as an online internship required for my PHD in International Relations”.

Amandine Hourt, France, lives in Spain and is an agro-development specialist with a Masters degree in Economic and Territorial Development, and is experienced in technical and financial project analysis and management. “We organized our collaboration in such a way that first each of us drafted a proposal with our own ideas, which we then exchanged and discussed. This was a bit challenging at times because of our different schedules and time zones.”

Read More at UN OnlineVolunteering.Org

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Since our beginning in 2006, TOMS Shoes has given 140,000 pairs of shoes to children in Argentina, Ethiopia, and South Africa. With the help of generous people TOMS plans to give 300,000 pairs of shoes to children in need in 2009. The story of TOMS follows -


One for One

TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: For every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we're all about.

Our Story

In 2006 an American traveler, Blake Mycoskie, befriended children in Argentina
and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created a company that would match every pair of shoes sold with a pair given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by caring TOMS customers.

Since our beginning, TOMS has given over 140,000* pairs of shoes to children in need through the One for One model. Because of your support, TOMS plans to give over 300,000 pairs of shoes to children in need around the world in 2009.

Our ongoing community events and Shoe Drop Tours allow TOMS supporters and enthusiasts to be part of our One for One movement. Join us.
Why shoes?

Most children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing
chores or just getting around, these children are at risk.

Walking is often the primary mode of transportation in developing countries. Children can walk for miles to get food, water, shelter and medical help. Wearing shoes literally enables them to walk distances that aren't possible barefoot.

Wearing shoes prevents feet from getting cuts and sores on unsafe roads and from contaminated soil. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected. The leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites which penetrate the skin through open sores. Wearing shoes can prevent this and the risk of amputation.

Many times children can't attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don't have shoes, they don't go to school. If they don't receive an education, they don't have the opportunity to realize their potential.

There is one simple solution...SHOES.

Of the planet's six billion people, four billion live in conditions inconceivable to many. Lets take a step towards a better tomorrow.

This past February, Blake Mycoskie, who is now not only known as TOMS Founder, but also as its Chief Shoe Giver, spoke at the annual TED conference in Long Beach, CA. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, began in 1984 as a conference to bring together people from those three worlds. As Blake stated in his blog, "I have been given the opportunity to give a TED talk before a crowd of the most intelligent and innovative people in the world, including people like Bill Gates, JJ Abrams, Jeff Bezos and Seth Godin. I usually do not get nervous speaking in front of people, but today is a little different."

In March of 2009 Blake visited the White House for meetings with President Obama's Senior Administration. Along with other top young business leaders, Blake presented viable solutions and ideas regarding US economic policies. Blake specifically spoke to the potential in the economic plan to support small businesses in their difficult first years.

On May 15th, the Spring 2009 TOMS Vagabonds returned to TOMS Santa Monica headquarters after a 13-week tour across the United States. “The Vagabonds traveled in 5 regional teams to share the TOMS story and ignite passion for the One for One movement. Teaming up with TOMS Campus Reps across 37 states the Vagabonds invited communities to purchase and decorate their own pair of TOMS and watch the TOMS documentary film “For Tomorrow”. TOMS wants to let the public know that anyone interested in hosting a Fall 2009 Vagabond Event can click this link to contact them.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP)

Begun in 1985, SEEP was founded with the belief that "sharing practical experiences within a trusting environment would result in improved microenterprise development practices."

Operating in over 180 countries today, SEEP reaches more than 23 million micro-entrepreneurs and their families.

While SEEP has many initiatives, time will only permit a brief examination of one program below. After a brief paragraph on How SEEP Works there is an examination of an outline for a program in Africa that reveals an excellent planning strategy to acheive sought after outcomes.

The information below is taken from the SEEP website.

Practitioner-led Learning and Impact

The primary way SEEP undertakes practitioner-driven research, learning, and product development is through member-driven learning initiatives. Working groups, task forces, initiatives as well as the grant-funded practitioner learning programs (PLP) comprise a comprehensive learning agenda within three communities of practice: Finance, Enterprise Development, and Associations & Networks. To learn more about these communities of practice, visit our SEEP Initiatives.

Microenterprise development practitioners from SEEP member organizations have contributed to action research and best practices in a range of areas, including financial services, social performance, consumer protection, and market development. They have developed tools and resources such as standardized financial statements and reporting, market research tools, poverty assessment tools, and HIV & AIDS and microenterprise development integrated programming guidelines.

SEEP learning initiatives generate practitioner-oriented products, tools, and training materials. SEEP publications are widely recognized for being prepared by practitioners, field tested for accuracy, and accepted as the industry standard. SEEP’s manual and training course on standardized financial statements for microfinance institutions (FRAME: A Framework for Reporting, Analysis, Monitoring, and Evaluation) is one of the best examples of the quality, usefulness, longevity, and influence of our practitioner-oriented products. SEEP’s lateral learning approach is key to translating knowledge into practice and yielding such products.

SEEP’s global membership results in a broad international community of practice. Our strategic relationships with partners in the NGO, philanthropic, and socially responsible corporate community further support and strengthen member impact.

SEEP Learning Initiatives

The SEEP Network supports a range of member-led initiatives, including several thematic working groups and Practitioner Learning Programs (PLPs). To see a current list of active working groups and PLPs, visit our SEEP Initiatives page.


PLP in Building Alliances to Serve HIV/AIDS Impacted Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa (BASICS)

Purpose: to identify and promote successful strategies for microfinance and enterprise development programs to partner with local community-based organizations to better serve clients affected by HIV/AIDs.

Membership: Public

Contact: Laura Meissner (

Timeframe: February 2008 - February 2009

This initiative assemble(d) the following participants:

· CHF International (CHF) in Rwanda, an implementer of the USAID/PEPFAR-funded Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Program (CHAMP), and African Evangelistic Enterprise, one of CHF’s local partners, which is building its capacity to better deliver services to HIV/AIDS-affected persons.

· Emerging Markets Group, which implements USAID’s OVC-COPE Project in Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique and Rwanda. Its local partners for this PLP are CBOs in Uganda that serve the income generation needs of caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). EMG works with caregiver associations to promote access to higher-value markets.

· Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Rwanda, the lead for AIDSRelief, a consortium funded through PEPFAR that supports nine countries in delivering HIV care and treatment to poor and underserved populations. CRS implements programs with its local partner, Caritas.

· Fantsuam Foundation, a holistic NGO in Nigeria offering microfinance and other services to HIV/AIDS-affected clients, and its local partners, including Hope for the Blind, volunteer groups and community development councils.

· Mercy Corps (Ethiopia) and its local partner, WISE (Organization for Women in Self-Employment), an Ethiopian NGO that facilitates and provides capacity building to savings and credit cooperatives, as well as training to women.

· Sinapi Aba Trust, an MFI in Ghana and part of the Opportunity International Network, is building a partnership with Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana to provide HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention education to Sinapi Aba’s microfinance clients.

These organizations will seek to identify, document and disseminate the most effective models for developing strategic alliances between MF/ED programs and CBOs and for improving the impact of MF/ED programs in such alliances.

From March 2008 to February 2009, participating organizations will return to the field for collaborative action research. All participants will begin to document their learning in one of two ways:

1) Alliance Strengthening: the participants have identified areas in which they want to work with their partners to strengthen the alliance; and

2) Learning Products: the participants are working in teams (not necessarily with their alliance partners) and focusing on about 5 issues around strategic partnering and will produce various learning products on the selected areas. Final products (case studies, tools, etc.) will be available early in 2009.

In order to achieve its goals and its desired impact, the PLP will address the following kinds of questions:

1. What programs and services are appropriate to offer through a strategic alliance, and which are most appropriate for HIV/AIDS affected clients? Why do successful models work? Who benefits from the activities, products and/or services? What makes these programs sustainable? Are there successful programs that can be documented?

2. Are strategic alliances indeed a successful model for reaching HIV/AIDS-affected clients?

3. Given their complementary strengths and weaknesses, how can community-based organizations (CBOs) and microfinance/enterprise development (MF/ED) programs and organizations work collaboratively to expand outreach and increase impact?

4. How can institutions form appropriate private/public partnerships (e.g. ED programs fostering market integration) and public/public partnerships (e.g. between a range of CBOs, NGOs, and government agencies) to deliver integrated programs that address people’s needs through both community-level and large-scale ventures?

5. How can the development community support CBOs in their holistic approaches to dealing with the pandemic? For example, support might include cross-training between MF/ED programs and CBOs, networking between community-based groups to share strategies and generate joint projects, capacity building of community implementers, or financial support for grassroots initiatives.

6. What constitutes appropriate capacity building for MF/ED development practitioners and agencies involved in larger-scale economic development initiatives? Is there training and support that would enable them to improve their reach to affected individuals and households, to effectively collaborate with CBOs, and to advance the integration of youth and the elderly into programs?

7. What enables successful strategic alliances to work? That is, how do MF/ED organizations and CBOs overcome differences in their structures, operations, values, and cultures to work well together? What motivates them to work together? What are the main “dos and don’ts” for these alliances?


Monday, May 11, 2009

STAFF BENDA BILILI: Making Music and Doing Good

They are called: Staff Benda Bilili and they are a musical sensation that is known for their unique personal stories as well as their captivating music. I can (and will) point to stories and articles found in the UK Guardian and The Independent (and let us not forget their My Space page) to give you a very good idea of who Staff Benda Bilili are but I would like to preface the remainder of this post by saying that both their message and their music is uplifting.

The names of the musicians are: Theo Nsituvuidi, Coco Ngambali (vocals, guitar); Cubain Kabeya (vocals, drums); Roger Landu, Ricky Likabu, Kabamba Kabose Kasungo, Djuana Tanga-Suele, Zadis Mbulu Nzungu (vocals); Paulin Kiara-Maigi (bass guitar); Randy Buda (percussion).

Staff Benda Bilili are paraplegic street musicians who live in Kinshasa, Congo in the vicinity of that city’s zoo. A description of the group, found on their My Space page puts it this way:

“The band's mesmerising rumba-rooted grooves, overlaid with vibrant vocals, remind you at times of Cuban nonchalance, at other times of the Godfather of Soul himself. You can hear echoes of old-school rhythm and blues, then reggae, then no-holds barred funk. Four senior singer/guitarists sitting on spectacularly customized tricycles, occasionally dancing on the floor of the stage, arms raised in joyful supplication, are the core of the band, backed by a younger, all-acoustic, rhythm section pounding out tight beats. Over the top of this are weird, infectious guitar-like solos performed by young Roger Landu, (an ex-street kid the band took under their wing), who plays a one-string electric lute he designed and built himself out of a tin can.”

Their first album is entitled: "Très Très Fort" for 'Very Very Strong' or 'Very Very Loud'. A review of Très Très Fort in the U.K. Guardian can be found online.

The U.K. newspaper The Independent has this to say about Staff Benda Bilili:

“Disabled by polio, a group of homeless Congolese buskers called Staff Benda Bilili are attracting Western film-makers, musicians and internet fans with their sweet and funky music. Andy Morgan reports from Kinshasa”

“The band who are weaving spells about our ears with their dulcet rolling rumba and keening vocals are the unrecognised geniuses of Article 15, the masters of survival. They call themselves Staff Benda Bilili, which, in Lingala, the lingua franca of this vast and variegated country, means something like "the people who see beyond..."Beyond prejudice, corruption, the lies of priests and politicians, the grimy veneer of daily life."

Ricky Likabu, described as the “backbone” of Staff Benda Bilili hopes that the group will be able to use some of the proceeds from their musical success to open opening a centre for the disabled and homeless people of Kinshasa. “He also dreams of touring Africa with Staff Benda Bilili, spreading the message of communal resilience and self-help.”


Friday, May 08, 2009

MCDI - Making a Difference in Health Care


MCDI is a division of Medical Care Development Inc, Augusta, Maine. As an international NGO, MCDI has been accorded consultative status (Roster) with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. MCDI is a founding member of the CORE Group of PVO's.


The mission of MCDI is stated as follows:

"The mission of MCDI is to enhance the well-being of peoples and communities in developing nations through superior technical assistance in health and socio-economic development. We will seek to empower families with the knowledge and behavior needed to improve infant and child survival and maternal health and care.

"We develop and disseminate tools, mechanisms and strategies that improve access and management of sustainable levels of health care services. We work with a full spectrum of organizations, from grassroots community groups to multi-lateral donor institutions, to enable continuing and progressive improvement in the quantity and quality of care available and affordable to the neediest people on earth, and seek to enhance their financial ability to benefit from these improvements."


MCDI operates in the following African nations:

Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central Africa Republic
Chad, Comoros
Equatorial Guinea
The Gambia
Guinea Bissau
Sierra Leone
South Africa
Uganda and


MCDI has a wide range of interests and functions and they are listed below:


Child Survival

- Immunization
- Combating diarrheal diseases
- Acute respiratory infection
- Integrated management of childhood illnesses
- HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment
- Maternal and newborn care
- Pneumonia case management
- Malaria
- BCC interventions
- M & E


- HIV prevention care and treatment
- Prevention of mother to child transmission
- Promotion of anti-retroviral therapy
- Stigma reduction
- Home-based care
- co-infection
- School-based peer-to-peer education / outreach

Malaria Treatment & Control

- Reduction in malaria transmission through indoor residual spraying
- Intermittent presumptive treatment of pregnant women
- Proper case management of uncomplicated malaria using ACT
- Insecticide and drug resistance monitoring
- Improved diagnostic capacity
- BCC/IEC to promote compliance and bed net utilization
- M & E

Architecture & Engineering

- Health facility surveys
- Preparation of design and tender documents for facility construction/ renovation
- Equipment specifications
- Construction management
- Equipment and plant maintenance training

Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Services

- Provide disabled war victims with prosthetic and orthotic appliances
- Provide physical therapy services
- Support the social and economic reintegration of the disabled in Sudan
- M & E

Health Sector Reform

- Design of health manpower rationalization / development strategies
- Health facility demand and location modeling
- Implementation of decentralization strategies

Water Supply & Sanitation

- Construction of water supply and sanitation infrastruction, e.g., wells and latrines to reduce morbidity and mortality among children and women of reproductive age
- Improve knowledge and promote behavioral change regarding basic sanitation and disease prevention among school children and communitie
- Introduce home-based management of water quality

Health Care Financing

- Evaluation and reform of national health care financing strategies
- Health sector expenditure reviews and national accounts
- Health system and program cost assessments
- Evaluation, design, and implementation of community financing, including risk-sharing and credit schemes
- Demand for care and pricing analyses


These folks are doing a lot of good work, so if you get the chance, please drop by and take a look at the
MCDI website .

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This article is taken from the Batonga website

“Batonga is giving girls a secondary school and higher education so they can take the lead in changing Africa. We are doing this by granting scholarships, building secondary schools, increasing enrollment, improving teaching standards, providing school supplies, supporting mentor programs, exploring alternative education models and advocating for community awareness of the value of education for girls.



There is a growing consensus that the most cost effective way to help African nations reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for their citizens is to support education for girls. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan summed it up when he said, “To educate girls is to reduce poverty.”

When a woman is educated, it changes not only her life but those of her children and her family. Educating women translates to higher economic productivity, reduced child mortality, improved family nutrition and health, and increased prevention of HIV/AIDS. It greatly increases the chances of education for the next generation—for both boys and girls.

The good news is that more girls are going to primary school throughout Africa than ever before. However, prejudice, poverty, travel distance and cultural traditions keeps less than 17 percent of them from going on to complete secondary school (grades 7 to 12). And only a handful of those who graduate from secondary school go on to university, vocational school or some form of job training.

If the great advances in primary education for girls in Africa are to have a lasting impact, there is an urgent need for similar advances in secondary and higher education for girls.

West African singer, songwriter and UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo made up the word “batonga.” At a time when education for girls was not socially acceptable in her native country of Benin, Angelique invented the word as a response to taunts when she was going to school. The boys did not know what the word meant, but to her it was an assertion of the rights of girls to education.

Later it became the title of a hit song of Angelique’s in which her lyrics address a young African girl and can be roughly translated as, “you are poor but you dance like a princess, and you can do as you please regardless of what anyone tells you.” Now Angelique has given this name to a new US-based non-governmental organization that has submitted its application for non-profit 501(c)(3) registered charitable status.

“Educating girls in Africa gives them the strength and the tools they need to be the mothers of change,” Angelique said when launching Batonga. “My mother was educated and she fought for me to go to school, despite pressure from many in our extended family who argued that only boys should be educated. And my daughter is now in school. Once an African woman is educated, she fights to ensure both sons and daughters receive an education. From this is born a tradition that is passed on and grows from family to family, from generation to generation—a tradition that is going to change the future for Africa.”


Batonga’s mission is to support both secondary school and higher education for girls in Africa. We are doing this by granting scholarships, building secondary schools, increasing enrollment, improving teaching standards, providing school supplies, supporting mentor programs, exploring alternative education models and advocating for community awareness of the value of education for girls.


The work of Batonga in Africa is to:

grant scholarships for girls to attend existing secondary schools (grades 7 to 12), with continued support as they progress through university, vocational school or other skill-based adult learning activities.

build secondary schools in a limited number of communities that can guarantee that a minimum of half the students will be girls and where the school, once built, will be operated through ongoing government and community support.

increase enrollment of girls in existing schools by building dormitory facilities where distance from school to home are too great, and providing parental support and incentives that help to ensure the girls stay in school.

improve teaching standards in secondary schools by supporting internet-based distance learning, wage incentives, enhanced summer programs, mentoring by master teachers and onsite teacher-training programs.

provide school supplies in the form of textbooks, library books, teaching materials, notebooks, paper, pens, pencils and other basic items which are often non-existent or in short supply.

support mentor programs for girl students that link them with older women who can serve as guides and elder ‘protectors’ as the girls face challenges both personal and social during the course of their education.

explore alternative education models such as mobile secondary schools and radio-based distance learning for remote communities or for families with cultural restrictions on girls being sent away from home for schooling.

advocate for community awareness to promote and support girls’ education by addressing the gender prejudice and cultural traditions that restrict the empowerment of women in general, and their access to education in particular.

In choosing the individual girls, schools and communities to receive support, priority is given to the most disadvantaged populations within the target countries. Particular attention is given to girls who are AIDS orphans or whose families are affected by AIDS. They will receive scholarships as well as financial assistance so that they can stay among their neighbors, friends and extended families in their communities rather than on the street or in an orphanage.

Batonga implements its mission at a country level by working in partnership with existing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have successful onsite experience in girls’ education. Our work is guided by the input of a Board of Advisors who have extensive experience in this field.

The principle international partnership is with World Education. Using education as a primary strategy, World Education unleashes the deep instinct, drive and potential of people at the community level through groundbreaking programs that build the skills, talents and confidence they need to take control over their futures.

Batonga is supported by The Opportunity Fund, a non-profit charitable organization established by John Phillips and Mary Louise Cohen with proceeds from two public interest lawsuits. The Fund supports charitable organizations in the United States and in Africa.


World Education is an implementing partner of Batonga. Visit World Education's website to learn more about their Girls' and Women's Education Initiative