Blog

2020: Educated and Empowered Youth Overcoming Adversity

Jan 13, 2021

As we look back on 2020, we are struck by the impacts of the global pandemic and the rallying spirit of our global community, students, and staff. 2020 was a year that saw our students answer the call of global distress with tenacity, hard work, and service to their community. Our students, staff, and alumni demonstrated the power of an educated, empowered, and determined group of young people responding to unprecedented  challenges. We are proud of their achievements: made possible by the love, support, and commitment from you. From our family to yours, Asante Sana.

Accelerating Impact through Active Partnerships

Despite this challenging year, Asante Africa gained visibility on multiple global platforms, strengthened partnerships, and made new ties.

We partnered with BRAC as a technical expert in working with schools to bring innovative solutions to education in Uganda, especially among girls.

Simon Kinyanjui, our program coordinator in Kenya, participated in a panel hosted by FHI360. This panel, “Creating Opportunity from Chaos,” gave panelists an opportunity to discuss the challenges faced by girls and the solutions being implemented at their community level.

4 youth from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda participated in the Global Youth Economics Opportunity Summit to discuss acceleration of youth innovation and economic prosperity through enterprise development beyond the pandemic.

In Kenya, Asante Africa is actively collaborating with Teach a Man to Fish, Prince’s Trust International, Kenya Red Cross, and Tullow Oil, to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs, particularly women, in East Africa.

Recognition on a Global Scale

Our students, board members, staff, and programs gained global visibility by garnering prestigious awards and participating in international conferences.

Asante Africa received a bronze award in the Presence Learning & Teaching category from the Reimagine Education Awards for Innovation in Education.

Abdikadir Ismail, board member, teacher, and principal from Kenya, was among a group of 11 finalists for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize for launching ‘class of COVID-19.’ Abdikadir was also honored as one of the “Top 100 Kenyans 2020.”

 Asante Africa board member, Lucy Maina, shared her expertise on understanding the implications of the national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Asante Africa CEO, Erna Grasz, was recognized for her leadership and work by Exeleon Magazine, Aspioneer Magazine, Leaders Globe, Insights Success Magazine, Beyond Exclamation Magazine, and was featured in Real Leaders Podcast.

 Asante Africa team members, Anne Maina and Byrone Wayodi, attended “Life Skills Technical Assessment Workshop hosted by Room to Read & The Brookings Institute.

Our Youth Continue to Inspire

Our youth are the stars of our organization. Their creativity and entrepreneurial skills not only improved their financial and social conditions, but brought marked change within their communities.

♦ We are especially proud that so many of our young women are becoming successful entrepreneurs like Lilian who started a nonprofit organization, Doreen who runs a honey selling business, and Elizabeth who sells her crochet creations for children and adults.

 Last year several of our students graduated, ready to continue with higher education or make their mark in society. Five students graduated from university in varied fields such as medicine, engineering, accounting, and education. We are proud of their achievements and excited to see their continued success. We also saw 100% of our Tanzanian scholarship students transition from primary school to secondary.

 In a difficult year marked by the pandemic, school closures, financial distress, and increased isolation, our alumni and students have worked hard to maintain community well-being. Several student-led teams, guided by our staff, redirected resources and harnessed youth creativity to create masks and reusable sanitary pads; others made and distributed posters with safety and hygiene instructions; many set up dedicated washing stations to curb the spread of the virus. We are proud of our teams and students in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda for their tireless work.

Our Road Map to Success

Over the last 15 years, we have learned, refined, and strengthened our model based on evidence, external evaluations, and ongoing feedback from the youth, their key enablers, and the communities. The insights that we’ve gained through our work in East Africa are informing our strategic plan.

We have completed the organizational plan for 2021 – 2025

Resourcefulness Through COVID-19

As the pandemic continues to rage through our world, it has been a tough year in East Africa. Children and families in an already resources-strapped environment had to do without the basic necessities. School closures removed the safe space environment for many children. In order to keep our students motivated and continue with their educational path, Asante Africa distributed Family Essentials Package and the Youth Essentials Kits with the basics such as soaps, hygiene products, grains and vegetables, and learning materials. Our staff also worked hard to reach every beneficiary to check on their psychological and social welfare.