ACE Africa was established in Kenya in 2003 with only four staff members: a U.K. expatriate and three Kenyans. They had a tall order, as the city of Bungoma, Kenya was near the point of collapse in 2003. Nearly one in three households in the community were infected with HIV/AIDS and all government and community structures were falling apart. ACE Africa began their work and 14 years later, Bungoma is a drastically different place.
Focus and Work
ACE Africa focuses on three core areas to improve a community over the long term: child development, community health and wellbeing and community livelihoods. Using specific programs to mold projects to communities in Kenya and East Africa, ACE Africa has grown from four to 58 staff indigenous to Africa and 12,500 community volunteers. ACE Africa is a registered NGO in Kenya, the United Kingdom, the United States and Tanzania, employing small staffs in each country. The organization has also partnered with investment banks, world-leading universities, Dame Judi Dench and other NGOs and international organizations.
In 2010 the Star Foundation, an independent charity founded in London by a wealthy Saudi Arabian family-owned business conglomerate, awarded ACE Africa with an Impact Award. The award was given for the organization’s work in rural Kenya to reduce the spread and increase the treatment of HIV/AIDS. ACE Africa began by opening testing centers and educating the community at all levels about the spread of HIV/AIDS and the necessary treatment. They also educated the population about the importance of a healthy diet, which can improve health increase the productivity of a village. As of 2010, ACE Africa had helped to improve the lives of more than 300,000 children in Kenya.
ACE Africa has begun to branch out of Kenya into the north of Tanzania. In 2014 the organization began working with the Innocent Foundation in Tanzania. According to the Innocent Foundation, the project will last 10 to 12 years. When the project began in 2014, over 93 percent of the wage-earners in the villages where ACE Africa and Innocent are working earn less than $1 a day. Nearly 44 percent of the children in the schools are orphans, and it is estimated that only 4 percent of the villagers eat a balanced diet.
ACE Africa and the Innocent foundation will work with six community organizations within these villages to improve the quality of life. Training the locals ensures that skills will stay and flourish within the community. ACE Africa is working closely with the Tanzania government and more than 7,000 local volunteers to see that this plan succeeds.
ACE Africa’s Impacts
ACE Africa has improved the lives of more than 1 million children through their programs. The organization has helped to establish more than 500 community garden clubs, resolved more than 12,000 cases of child neglect and abuse and engaged nearly 100,000 children in school guidance programs. ACE Africa has screened roughly 100,000 people for HIV/AIDs and has helped around 80,000 people seek treatment and counseling. As part of their community livelihood programs, ACE Africa has trained more than 35,000 people on the proper techniques for sustainable farming. This has allowed approximately 87,000 kitchen gardens to be established. ACE Africa also works with partners and third-parties to research better techniques to help people and make their projects more efficient.
In 2017 ACE Africa-founder Jonna Waddington was invited to the Sustainable Development Goals for Africa conference, where the United Nations development plan for Africa through 2030 will be discussed. With six awards and international cooperation and recognition from the United Nations, it appears that ACE Africa will continue to make a positive impact on the world.
– Nicholas Anthony DeMarco