African Solutions to African Problems

One of the toughest truths about international charity work is the fact that outsiders, often necessary to get a project off the ground, infuse a community with money and energy, and bring important attention to a problem, can also be misguided even with the very best intentions. Not every community wants a school where we might see fit to build one for them. Perhaps electricity being brought into a village will damage the community infrastructure. There are too many examples of beautiful and inspired plans to help that create a whole new set of troubles for a receiving community. The only way to be effective with certainty is to have projects be generated from within the community, and then find creative ways to fulfill them. That’s one of the things I love about the mission of ASAP (African Solutions for African Problems). Their model and commitment is intuitive and sensitive to community needs, even when energized from outside. Their website states it best:

African Solutions to African Problems (ASAP)

Child with baby strapped on African Solutions to African Problems (ASAP) supports community-based organizations of women caring for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS.

We are currently working with 6 pioneer community-based organizations made of up 585 women supporting 8500 orphans and vulnerable children in more than 112 community Drop-In and Daycare centres in impoverished communities in South Africa.

Etafeni playgroup project A key aspect of ASAP support is to provide capacity-building interventions that help the groups to develop their organisations, improve their services and attain their own development goals.

ASAP has demonstrated that grassroots organizations and their social networks of women are capable of scaling up and replicating effective models of care for orphans and vulnerable children.

Family standing outside rondavel Based on practical experience, ASAP has developed a unique 7-year Model of community-based intervention that builds the capacity of emerging groups to develop into mature organizations with a community network to care for the majority of orphans and vulnerable in their community.

ASAP is expanding our model to a further 6 community-based organizations. By allowing them to develop their own models of care, in conjunction with training, gardens and regular onsite capacity building visits, these organisations and their networks of women will reach an additional 12,000.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by mary christopherson on July 9, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    I really like this approach, as I think it is completely useless to be individual or country bountiful without having a clear understanding of the recipients needs and values, and without their complete involvement. I am glad you understand this, I only wish our administrations would have learned this over the years and after much failure with their insensitive approach and lack of understanding of the cultures involved.


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