Economic Development

Challenge: Africa’s growth needs to include underserved communities.

 

There is no denying that Africa’s economies are on the rise. However, hundreds of millions of Africans are still locked in the cycle of poverty. With almost every circumstance stacked against them and financial services out of reach, subsistence lifestyles are often all even the most determined Africans can achieve. This is especially true for women and Africa’s ever-growing youth population.

 

PanAfricare’s Solution: Africa’s growth can be inclusive.

Financial inclusion: Access to financial services, and training on how to effectively use them, can at long last grant underserved Africans the opportunity to share in their continent’s rise.

Graduated Mentorship: After conducting a market assessment to determine local economic opportunities, Africare hires local trainers to teach co-operative groups the skills they need to capitalize on these market prospects. Africare also facilitates “business literacy.” What does that mean? Running a business is more than having a technical skill! Africare works to transfer knowledge on savings and investment plans, locally appropriate technology, business plan writing, microfinance applications, applying for credit, and more.
All of these skills are reinforced in our mentorship model, occurring with peer guidance in step-by-step phases. As co-ops progress through training phases, new co-ops enter the training cycle behind them, and the trained groups become mentors to the new trainees, teaching from their personal experience. This provides project participants with additional local support, and as trainees graduate, the process becomes increasingly sustainable. Through Senegal’s PRODIAKT project, local community-based organizations produced 328 business plans that received a total of $290,000 in loans, and the project participants achieved a 98% loan repayment rate.
Self-Selection: PanAfricare knows that not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, so we work with co-operatives that are already in business. This means that project participants are the community members who have already shown their desire to be involved and benefit from additional training. Targeting self-selected entrepreneurs maximizes PanAfricare’s project impact and further empowers these emerging community leaders.

Nutrition

Challenge: Enough food is not good enough.
Nearly 40% of African children under 5 are malnourished, but surprisingly, not all of those children are going hungry. Even if you have enough food to fill your belly, that food still needs to be nutritious enough to strengthen your body. This is especially important in the first 1,000 days of a baby’s development, from the mother’s pregnancy through the child’s second birthday, when growing bodies and growing minds need the proper nutrients to develop and give the child their best start possible in life.
PanAfricare’s Solution: Proper nutrition is a child’s best start.
Gardening and Cooking Demonstrations: Africare encourages families to devote small chunks of their land to household gardens. Rather than selling the garden’s produce in commercial markets, where farmers sell the majority of their crops, families use these easily maintained gardens to grow food for immediate consumption. Direct training sessions with community groups, as well as larger demonstration days, show families how they can grow diverse crops and prepare more complete and nutritious meals.
Social and Behavior Change Communication: This is the driving force behind Africare nutrition projects. Giving someone more nutritious food or a vitamin supplement does not solve a problem. 
Communities must grow more nutritious food and seek out supplementation themselves. Africare projects teach community members how to improve their nutrition, and our projects educate communities on the impact of nutrition on themselves and their children. Lastly, we empower our project participants to share this critical knowledge with their neighbors. This way, the driving force for improved nutrition ultimately becomes Africans themselves.
Vitamin Supplementation: Poor diets lead to critical deficiencies in important nutrients like Vitamin A. Malnourished children need to be supplemented with the nutrients they are lacking. Africare staff and trained extension workers educate communities on the importance of nutrition, and we mobilize community members to seek nutrition services at health facilities and to encourage their neighbors to do the same. More than half a million children under 5 have received essential nutrition services such as Vitamin A supplementation due to the activities of Africare’s Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Project in Tanzania.

Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest sanitation coverage on Earth, and roughly 70% of the population, approximately 600 million people, has no access to an improved sanitation source. In many rural areas, open defecation is still common and water-related illnesses cause incalculable suffering, often undermining many development efforts. Preventable water-related diseases claim the lives of thousands daily, but Africare knows that African nations can close the sanitation gap. PanAfricare is collaborating with its partners and with African communities to increase basic hygiene awareness, employ behavior change campaigns, rehabilitate water points and safeguard natural water reserves so that African people can thrive and lead healthier lives both now and in the future.

Women Empowerment

Many African families rely on women to care for them and to provide basic necessities for survival. As African women receive education and are recognized with a higher legal status, they provide their households with superior nutrition, stronger food security and increased access to health care. Despite the crucial investments women make in their families and the contributions they make to their communities, Sub-Saharan women constitute only 15% of the region’s landholders, and they face disproportionate challenges ranging from sexual exploitation to illiteracy and disease. Regrettably, women suffer silently in the background. But Africare knows the important role women play in reviving economies, and it knows women can be leaders.  Africare is collaborating with its partners
and with African communities to provide leadership opportunities that encourage women to participate in stakeholder committees through highly ranking leadership coaching, literacy training, business training, organizational mobilization and market access, enabling women entrepreneurs to sell their goods in the global community.

YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

Africa is the world’s youngest continent. Sixty (60) percent of its population is under 25 years of age and 75% are under the age of 35, and these numbers are continuing to trend in that direction. By 2050, almost 1 billion children will live in Africa, accounting for 37% of the world’s population under 18. This represents a pivotal time for the continent to invest in its future – to invest in its youth.

 

We see this “youth bulge” as an opportunity to shape the next generation into healthy, civic-minded citizens engaged in the social, economic, and political growth of their continent. With appropriate support youth can adopt preventative and best health practices, respect and advocate for religious, tribal and gender equity and justice, participate and play a role in the establishment of more inclusive economies, and build resilience to not just survive but thrive during health and climates shocks.
Currently, many African youths are working, but many are employed informally or for low wages, keeping them stuck in a cycle of poverty. Without the right opportunities, these young people are vulnerable to involvement with drugs, violent crime, and extremism. To harness the collective energy of Africa’s youth, we understand that we must provide the building blocks to success – life skills, education, and economic and livelihood skills.