Volunteers' boost as firm gets Sh7.8b to expand in Africa

CorpsAfrica Kenya Country Director Patricia Kingori-Mugendi. 

A volunteer organisation that deploys university graduates to poverty-stricken areas for a year, has landed Sh7.8 billion from the Mastercard Foundation.

CorpsAfrica recruits graduates to work with resource-constrained communities within their own countries for 11 months after a five-week pre-service training. The volunteers engage local communities in conversations and facilitate meetings to identify and address local needs in education, health, small business development, urban planning and infrastructure, agriculture and the environment.

The volunteers then co-create and facilitate projects with measurable social impact. CorpsAfrica is currently in Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Senegal, Morocco and Ghana. There are currently over 400 volunteers and on average, one volunteer impacts 500 people.

While welcoming the support from Mastercard Foundation yesterday, CorpsAfrica Kenya Country Director Dr Patricia Kingori-Mugendi said the first cohort, consisting of 14 volunteers are in Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, Kajiado and Narok counties.

“We apply what is called human-centred design (HCD) methodology and asset-based community development (ABCD), which includes empowering locals, and promoting collaboration among NGOs and development partners. This way, we recognise that all people have resources within their reach to improve their lives, but they must harness that potential,” she told The Standard.  

CorpsAfrica announced its partnership with the foundation to develop leadership skills among the youth, particularly women. The five-year partnership will empower participants to fight poverty and facilitate sustainable, community-led projects in public health, food security, education, gender, the digital economy and the environment among others. The project will also create over 80,000 jobs.

“The volunteers create a healthy environment that allows economic prosperity and independence. They listen and learn while living alongside community members, which gives them critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” said CorpsAfrica founder Liz Fanning.

“CorpsAfrica has proven its impact in rural communities and demonstrated the value of deploying young Africans to solve pressing issues,” said Mastercard Foundation Chief Programmes Officer Peter Materu. 

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