Asante Africa Foundation Featured in the Independent News

Sep 6, 2023

Livermore Woman Runs Nonprofit That Helps East African Youth




Samira Mwamweta stares into the camera, her white head covering illuminating her face. The Tanzanian teen is participating in a Zoom panel discussion hosted by the Asante Africa Foundation. On this day, Friday. Aug. 31, Mwamweta is one of three panelists joining from various locations in East Africa, and she has just lost her electricity.

But thanks to a powered-up computer and cell phone hotspot, Mwamweta was able to express her enthusiasm for the non-profit organization and how it has changed her life. Mwamweta spoke about what she had learned in terms of entrepreneurial and leadership skills from Asante Africa, and passed down the group’s tenet that knowledge and skills are meant to be shared by all.

“Whenever you have a chance to pay it forward, please do, because you never know who you’re transforming,” said Mwamweta, who recently led an Asante campaign that provided feminine products to women in need.

Asante Africa Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports and educates East Africa’s youth by teaching them to address life’s challenges, thrive in the global economy and be a positive catalyst for change. The group is headquartered in Oakland, with offices in Samburu, Kenya and Arusha, Tanzan.

One of Asante’s co-founders, Erna Grasz, is a Livermore resident and part of the trio of women who developed the program in 2007. Together with Emily Moshi from Tanzania and Hellen Nkuraiya from Kenya, the women share a passion for the program which is tailored to youth ages 9-12.

During a recent conversation with The Independent, Grasz spoke about the group of young panelists and their dedication to the program.

“I think what makes me so proud of them is that they are so proud to be global citizens—that people from other parts of the world are listening to something they might have to say,” she said. The panel discussion Grasz added, was a chance to “build their muscles. Because while I may be a bridge builder, these young people are the future and are going to sit at the United Nations table.”

Panelist Monica Ntayi, 22 of Kenya, responded to youth moderator Samson Nyongesa’s question about the role of technology and innovation. “Technology makes me a better global citizen. I can learn what other people are doing and I can contribute and share what I’m doing,” she said. Ntayi is a climate action and community organizer pursuing a degree in agriculture at Egerton University in Kenya. She has 65 people volunteering under her leadership who help plant trees in the community, visit orphanages and tutor in the primary schools.

“She’s on it,” said Grasz of Ntayi. “She’s a little firecracker.”

Entrepreneur and climate activist from Uganda, Ainebyoona Onesmus, 17, is a senior in high school with his own hog and cattle ranching business. He credits Asante Africa for a diverse set of acquired skills, but said resilience has played the most pivotal role.

“Regardless of the challenges or harsh circumstances. I have learned not to give up,” he said.

Boniface Loisherua, 26 of Kenya, is an alumnae of Asante Africa’s Digital Transformation program and is now a radio presenter in Kenya who focuses on creating a positive social impact through his show. He spoke to the group about the impact Asante has had on him.

“Every person has the power to change the world and make it a better place,” said Loisherua. “What is limiting us is our fear of what people will say. I’m a good example, because if I was not able to conquer my fear, I don’t think I would be here with you today.”

Grasz added, “We have a saying that Asante Africa plants the seeds through the young people. We will nurture and fertilize. And they will sink roots and allow the tree to grow.”

For more information on Asante Africa Foundation, visit



Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial