Our ProgramsMicrofinance & Small Business Development, Community Libraries, Therapeutic Arts
Microfinance & Small Business Developmentwe have enabled the poorest of the poor to start small businesses.
Small business development is at the core of Global Alliance for Africa’s model for economic strengthening. By listening to our local partners, and working with them to design and implement an integrated and contextual model of lending that helps communities and households increase income, we have enabled the poorest of the poor to start small businesses and provide sustainable care and support for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS in both urban and rural locations.
Community Library Programprovides educational resources to orphans and other vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS.
Global Alliance for Africa partners with local communities to design, build, and manage libraries that are in slums and remote rural areas throughout East Africa. The primary focus of Global Alliance libraries is to provide educational resources to orphans and other vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS as a foundation for them to rise out of poverty.
Therapeutic Arts Programencouraging them to use art as an outlet for expression.
The Therapeutic Arts Program is one aspect of GAA’s multidimensional approach to addressing the needs of vulnerable children in East Africa. Its mission is to provide emotionally and physically safe spaces where orphaned and vulnerable children and youth are valued and respected as contributing members of the community, and where they can use the arts to freely express themselves, be unburdened of whatever troubles them, learn from each other, gain confidence in their skills and abilities, and experience a sense of belonging.
Community libraries in Western Kenya and in Kibera Slums, Nairobi, Kenya have already been built, as well as in Northern Tanzania on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. These libraries are providing thousands of children with educational resources to which they would otherwise not have access.
Each library has a librarian and is managed and operated by Global Alliance for Africa. Each library has a general collection, a children’s library, and a community room. All of the libraries are increasing their collection of primary and secondary school curriculum texts as listed and required for the successful completion of each grade level by the Ministries of Education in both Kenya and Tanzania. The community library in Kibera Slum, Nairobi, Kenya also has an internet cafe/resource center, which provides access to email and a wide range of online educational resources. Additionally, all of the libraries are developing outreach programs to the community through educational programs, literacy programs, conservation practices and other programs for children and adults.
It is important for the sustainability of these libraries to be intrinsically embedded in the structure of the host community, so that it will function as an indigenous catalyst that encourages education, self-reliance, and independence for all of the orphans and vulnerable children in the area, as well as for the adult populations. This cultural sustainability provides a broad underlying framework for the effectiveness of each library.
The mission of Global Alliance for Africa (“GAA”) is to design and develop innovative economic strengthening programs that enable households and communities to support orphans and vulnerable children (“OVC”) affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and to provide OVC with shelter, food security, access to health care, education, and psycho-social support.
Many households and communities that currently provide such support do so from the profits generated by small businesses that they operate. GAA’s Microfinance Program, which operates in Kenya, is designed to work with local community-based organizations and cooperatives for the purpose of identifying such households and communities which are operating businesses that are likely, with an additional capital infusion, to generate more profit.
Currently, the loan program is being reorganized and re-evaluated.
Therapeutic Arts Program
In 2006, Global Alliance for Africa implemented an arts program for orphans and vulnerable children who had lost loved ones due to HIV/AIDS in Kenya and Tanzania. Since then, Global Alliance has established permanent therapeutic arts programs in both countries. In addition, every year groups of American artists, teachers and students travel to East Africa with Global Alliance to work closely with African artists for the purpose of on-going training, and also for planning and conducting annual art camps for hundreds of children.
In order to develop a more meaningful experience for these children, in 2008 Global Alliance started a consultation with the Art Therapy Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for the purpose of training artists in Tanzania and Kenya to work in therapeutic arts with children. Faculty members from The School of the Art Institute and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. have collaborated with GAA to develop a training manual for the African artists who have agreed to become trainees, and to provide support for their therapeutic work with children.
The program currently consists of visual arts, music, dance and drama programs in locations in Kenya and Tanzania. These are in both rural and urban locations, and a diverse population of orphaned and vulnerable children benefit from these programs. Currently, approximately 200 – 400 children per month participate in the therapeutic arts programs. The para-professionals that Global Alliance works with are very capable and innovative, and have achieved significant results with the children in the program.
Vijana Business Incubation and Training Centre for Youth
From 2003 to 2009 the Vijana Centre located in Arusha, Tanzania functioned as a vocational training center for bike repair and maintenance, secretarial training, computer training, life skills, and English language training. From 2010 to 2015 the Vijana Centre was reorganized to establish a Business Incubation and Training Centre for Youth and continues today to train orphans and vulnerable youth ages 14-26 in business development and provides a period of incubation for their business to grow.
Presently, Vijana Centre has a vibrant automotive repair and maintenance project on the grounds which is under reorganization and planned for a major expansion.