Africare

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The Africare logo

Africare is a non-profit organization based in the United States which provides development aid for Africa. It was founded by Dr. Joseph Kennedy and C Payne Lucas in 1970, former Peace Corps members who had worked in eastern Niger and a Nigerien diplomat. Africare is the largest (more than $54 million in annual revenue) and oldest international NGO focused exclusively on Africa. Since 1970, Africare has been improving lives and building a better future for Africa by focusing on healthcare, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, access to water, agriculture and food security. In more than 40 years of building partnerships with local communities, NGOs, governments and the private sector, Africare has invested over $1 billion in more than 35 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Organization[edit]

The organization employs over 1,400 people, largely indigenous to the countries or to the areas where it works. More than 90% of the staff is of African descent and only about 40 staff members work at the organizations headquarters in the Washington, D.C.

Africare's programs address needs mostly in the areas of food security and agriculture, health and HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, and emergency and humanitarian aid. Africare also supports water resource development, environmental management, basic education, microenterprise development, governance initiatives, and women's empowerment.

Charity rating[edit]

Africare received a perfect four star rating on Charity Navigator, Africare meets the BBB Wise Giving Alliance's Standards for Charity Accountability and in 2011 was rated by the Chicago Tribune as a top charity in international development.

According to a CBS news story which focused on the Kony video, Africare received a score of 70 from Charity Navigator, the article compared this number to the score of 45 which was received by Invisible Children (creators of the "Stop Kony" viral video)

Mission and vision[edit]

Africare's mission statement reads, "Africare works to improve the quality of life of the people in Africa."[1]

Africare's website states that Africare's vision is, "Africare is a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to addressing African development and policy issues by working in partnership with African people to build sustainable, healthy and productive communities."[2]

Countries of operation[edit]

Africare has operated in more than 36 African countries, and is currently in 18 of them. Africare currently has active programs in the following countries:

Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

History[edit]

In 1970, when Africare was founded, West Africa was in the midst of one of the most severe droughts in its history. Among those providing help—medical aid to the Maine-Soroa town Hospital in Diffa, Niger -- were 17 American volunteers, led by William O. Kirker, M.D., and Barbara Jean A. Kirker, who named their group "Africare". The Kirkers themselves had been working in Africa, to improve African health care, since 1966, but eventually they needed more support. Diori Hamani, then president of the Republic of Niger, appealed to the United States on the effort's behalf, asking : "Why don't black Americans, whose ancestors came from the continent, respond to the needs in Africa?"[3]

C. Payne Lucas, then the director of the Peace Corps Office of Returned Volunteers in Washington, D.C. had served previously in Niger and knew the president from that time. He and others decided to form an organization to answer Hamani's appeal.

In 1970 Africare was incorporated in Hawaii, with Kirker as its founder and first president. In 1971 Africare was permanently re-incorporated in Washington, D.C.; Lucas became the executive director (later, that title changed to "president"), and Kirker joined the Board. In addition to Kirker and Lucas, other incorporators were Oumarou G. Youssoufou, a Nigerian diplomat, and Joseph C. Kennedy, Ph.D., then in the Peace Corps. It began with a $39,550 budget, a U.S. headquarters in the basement of Lucas's home and one project in Niger.

Africare first concentrated on helping to alleviate the effects of severe drought in West Africa. By the mid-1970s, Africare had shifted its emphasis to development programs in the areas of food, water, the environment and health—expanding in the late 1980s to include microenterprise development, governance, basic education and, as it became necessary, HIV/AIDS response, as well as emergency humanitarian aid.

Africare Staff[edit]

In mid-June 2002, C. Payne Lucas retired after 31 years as president and Africare hired its third president, Julius E. Coles, a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the first director of the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University and, most recently, director of the Andrew Young Center for International Affairs at Morehouse College.

Dr. Darius Mans assumed the position of President of Africare on January 4, 2010. Prior to joining Africare, Dr. Mans served as Acting Chief Executive Officer of Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Dr. Mans has over 30 years of development experience with a major focus on African countries. Prior to being tapped as Acting Chief Executive Officer for MCC, Dr. Mans was the organization’s Vice President of Implementation where he oversaw the strategic and operational approaches of MCC’s entire compact implementation portfolio of over $6.3 billion in 18 countries. Mans also served as MCC’s Managing Director for Africa, where he drove an increase in commitments to Africa by $1.6 billion.[4]

List of notable awards and honors[edit]

See also[edit]

Penelope Campbell, Africare, Black American Philanthropy in Africa. Transaction Publishers, 2011.

References[edit]

External links[edit]