Archive for November, 2011

November 16, 2011

Facts for International Education Week

In case you couldn’t tell from the title…IT’S INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION WEEK!

In honor of this week we want to highlight the importance of education and recognize the incredible impact that quality education can have around the world.  USAID has put out an infographic that shares information about how education can help individuals overcome poverty.  It’s a great reminder that education is the foundation to human development.  Education has a far-reaching impact on our lives – whether it be through our economic, social, or physical well-being.  Below are some facts that we’d like to share from the infographic.


A child born to an educated mother is 2x as likely to survive to age five.

Educated mothers are 50% more likely to immunize their children than mothers without an education.

Every extra year of schooling increases  productivity by 10-30%.

Individual earnings increase by 10% for each year of school completed.

A girl who completes basic education is 3x less likely to contract HIV/AIDS.

Educated women re-invest 90% of their income in their family.  Men invest 30-40%.

But still today…

1 in four women around the world cannot read this sentence.

Girls make up 53% of the children out of school.

98% of people who can’t read live in developing countries.


Be grateful for the education that you have received – but continue to look critically at the improvements that must be made in education throughout the world.   As an organization, we are working hard to bring about some of those improvements, so please consider supporting us and joining us in our efforts!

Enjoy this wonderful week!

November 10, 2011

WHY we care about what we do (and why you should too)

In a TED talk from 2009, Simon Sinek discusses how great leaders inspire action. Simon emphasizes that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” – in order to inspire action you should focus on communicating the reasons why you do work, not just what you do or how you do it.  With that idea in mind, our AIA staff has decided to share the reasons why we personally care so much about the work we do with Achieve in Africa in the hopes that perhaps we can inspire our readers to take up our cause as well.

Alyssa Snow (Co-founder/Vice President):

I am committed to the work of Achieve in Africa because I want to use my skills to help others. I believe that we’re all given talents and a short amount of time to use them, and that we should use them for the betterment of all people, not just ourselves. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunities I’ve been given – loving family and friends that support me, the opportunity to receive an education and the freedom to follow my passions. I want to do everything I can to help others to feel the same.

There is so much need in the world, and it’s hard to try to focus on one aspect to change or help above others. My hope is that by giving people the opportunity to learn and be educated, they can forge their path to make sustainable change. It’s the idea of “give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” The same can be said for healing the sick and preventing illness in the first place, or giving money compared to teaching someone a trade so they can make money. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll keep getting what we’ve always gotten. But if we get opportunities to learn or create new ways of doing things, that’s we can start making real change.

Sherrod Smith (Business Development Director):

I hold firmly that every individual deserves the opportunity pursue his/her goals in life. I believe that no person should feel that they are too inadequate to accomplish their dreams and that an individual’s economic background should not dictate whether or not he/she receives an adequate education. Achieve in Africa helps give youth in rural Tanzania, many from impoverished backgrounds, the resources and tools to pursue their goals. I find this aspect of working for AiA to be extremely gratifying.

In addition to helping individuals gain the tools to achieve their goals, AiA takes a very innovative approach in helping educate youth in rural Tanzania. I enjoy working with the members of AiA to discover new approaches to tackling the persistent issues that youth living in rural Tanzania encounter as they grow up. For instance, AiA is looking to help increase self-sustainability within the rural villages throughout Tanzania by featuring solar panels on top of the classrooms that we construct. Solar panels help decrease the cost of energy within the village thus reducing the cost of teaching the students. This is crucial as the income per households in many of the villages we work in is $90 – $100 per year. I believe AiA’s willingness to incorporate new methods of educating youth in rural Tanzania will ultimately allow the organization to make effective progress in the villages that we work in.

We will continue to post more responses in the future from other members of our AIA community, so be sure to keep checking the blog!

November 2, 2011

Frighteningly successful fundraising ideas

Happy (belated) Halloween!  Before we leave October and its frightful holiday behind us, perhaps we can take some lessons away from this year’s festivities to make next year more profitable.  In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Joe Waters (blogger for shares his ideas for utilizing Halloween as an opportunity for some creative fundraising.   Waters highlights the reasons that make Halloween such a successful time for fundraising:

1. Halloween is social.  Parents parade their kids out in neighborhoods and costume parties for all ages are everywhere. Halloween is the holiday of weak ties and you should capitalize on its casual, fun and social nature.

Halloween is packed all into one exciting night. The major holidays seem to drag on forever. But Halloween has a zombie-like following that kids and adults crave like the undead love brains! Feed the need with your Halloween fundraiser.

Halloween is non-denominational. You’re not stepping on any toes by having a Halloween fundraiser. It’s not a religious holiday that’s going to exclude anyone and ruffle some feathers. It’s kind of like Thanksgiving with candy instead of turkey. Most people love it!

Halloween is part of everyone’s business model these days. Department stores, convenience stores, party stores and supermarkets, they all sell Halloween costumes, candy and decorations. They are all potential partners for your Halloween fundraiser.

Waters also presents 8 easy ways to get started with Halloween fundraisers, here are some of the ones that seemed most useful for non-profit fundraising:

1. Seasonal Halloween stores pop up everywhere this time of year. Find out which stores setup in your area from your local chamber or town hall and plan a fundraiser. Spirit Halloween, which has 900 temporary stores from Labor Day to early November, has already raised $2.5 million for children’s hospitals this month. It’s worth looking in to.

2. Wear your cause on your sleeve. If you favor a particular cause, pick a costume that reflects it.

3. Try reverse trick or treating. Instead of asking for treats, deliver information cards to  bring awareness about your cause.

4.  What’s stopping you from collecting money like UNICEF? If you show up at a neighbor’s door with a homemade coin canister for your favorite cause, will they really say no because you’re not toting an orange UNICEF box?

5. Zombie walks are dead and growing! The Chronicle of Philanthropy had a good article last week on how these lurching, gory walks are becoming popular in many cities.

Although we may have missed our chance to get in on the lucrative festivities this year, the article certainly presents some fun and creative ways to approach fundraising in the future.  Something to keep in mind for the next holiday season!