Invest in Change

Mistakes to Avoid

In the goodheartedness that motivates us as individuals and families committed to bringing change to Africa, we are all prone to create unhealthy dependences in Africa and in the countries we have adopted. Trillions of dollars and years of efforts have been directed at Africa over the years and all too often little has changed.

At the heart of this ineffectiveness lies misdirected strategies which create unhealthy dependences rather than development. Unhealthy dependencies arise when reciprocity and responsibility are ignored, overruled or undervalued. To make sure that we emphasize relationship, reciprocity, responsibility and results in our efforts within Families for Africa, let me encourage you to avoid these five mistakes. (Source: “Building strategic relationships: A practical guide to partnering with non-Western missions” (Daniel Rickett))

Mistake 1: Make an alliance with a lone ranger.
Even though you’re convinced that this or that individual may be the next Billy Graham or John Wesley of his country, he may be a very talented individual with a self-serving agenda. Unless you’ve known this person for some time, it’s going to be hard to discern his real intentions. Bogus, questionable organizations that compete for dollars often by-pass local boards of directors or the equivalent form of accountability. Beware of fortune hunters.

Mistake 2: Send money directly to individuals.
Unless individuals are employees or contract laborers with whom you have a performance agreement and means of accountability, sending funds directly can put people in a precarious position. Although we wish it weren’t true, individuals can’t really vouch for themselves; they need others to verify their testimony. It takes a bona fide organization with a governing structure and accounting system to administer funds in an auditable and defensible manner.

Mistake 3: Finance pastors and local churches.
Foreign funding of pastors and churches has proven historically to hinder genuine indigenous growth. Why is that? Foreign funding can easily stifle local initiative by creating the assumptions that churches and their members need only rely on distant benefactors rather than learn to give sacrificially. It can cause pastors to become preoccupied with raising foreign funds, and fail to be creative in maximizing local resources. In addition, such funding creates jealousies in the local community and frees pastors and churches from accountability to the local Christian community.

Mistake 4: Give resources based only on need.
Focusing our efforts within Families for Africa only on satisfying needs will force us into running a race with no end. That’s because needs alone are insatiable. Giving and resourcing based solely on need creates a pipeline of supply that in turn raises the expectation of future need satisfaction. Needs have to be defined and boundaries set so that you can actually see results. At a minimum, giving should be based on what will enhance:

  • responsibility (the ability to meet obligations)
  • reciprocity (the ability to make distinctive and complementary contributions) and
  • results (the ability to achieve specific outcomes).

Mistake 5: Underwrite 100% of a ministry’s need.
When a ministry or kingdom-building effort relies solely on another for for financial support, the balance of power shifts heavily toward the funding source. This is a problem because unhealthy dependency thrives on the imbalance of power. The best antidote is to subsidize a strategic initiative or program rather than to fund the entire ministry.




We can help save teachers, doctors, nurses, workers, and families

HIV/ AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria are devastating entire communities and economies. Poor countries are losing their teachers, doctors and nurses. Businesses are losing their workers. Governments are losing their civil servants. Families are losing their breadwinners.

  • TB kills an estimated 2 million people each year and is the leading cause of death for people with AIDS.
  • At least 1 million people die from malaria each year, mostly children in Africa.
  • AIDS is the world’s fourth leading cause of death. Since first being reported in 1981, AIDS has killed over 25 million people. AIDS killed an estimated 3 million people in 2006 alone.
  • Globally, 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. 12 million of those live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Proven, cost-effective strategies can prevent and treat these diseases

  • Antiretroviral medication used to treat people living with HIV/AIDS costs as little as $140 per patient per year, down from nearly $10,000 a year less than 10 years ago.
  • TB can be fully cured with effective treatment that costs as little as $16 per person for the full treatment course (six to eight months) with a success rate of up to 80% in the poorest countries. TB treatment is also one of the best ways to find those who are HIV positive and keep them alive.
  • Malaria can be all but eliminated through four highly successful interventions: insecticide treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, preventative treatment for pregnant women, and treatment for those already infected. It costs as little as $2 to purchase the most effective malaria treatments.

We can save 16,000 lives every day

The internationally agreed upon goal is to halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria. Based on current estimates, meeting this goal would result in approximately 16,000 lives saved every day. U.S. leadership in fighting these three diseases must continue through a coordinated approach that utilizes both bilateral and multilateral tools. The ultimate goal should be to provide 1/3 of the global funding requirements for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria and achieve universal access to prevention, care and treatment for all three diseases by 2015. To accomplish this end, we need:

  • Additional funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and bilateral TB programs, and other programs that integrate treatment of HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria.
  • Providing the U.S. fair share for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria is critical in the fight against these three diseases.
  • Funding is also needed to address a recent outbreak of “extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis” (XDR-TB) in South Africa, which if unchecked, threatens to reverse progress made in recent years in HIV/AIDS treatment and curing TB.


1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

2. Achieve universal primary education
Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling

3. Promote gender equality and empower women
Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015

4. Reduce child mortality
Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five

5. Improve maternal health
Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases

7. Ensure environmental sustainability
Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs; reverse loss of environmental resources
Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water
Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020

8. Develop a global partnership for development
Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory
Address the least developed countries’ special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction.
Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt problems to make debt sustainable in the long term
In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth

The Millennium Development Goals set a framework for how the world could see the end of extreme poverty. In September, 2000, The United States joined with 188 nations to affirm a set of international development goals in the United Nations Millennium Declaration. The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reflect an understanding of the devastation caused by global hunger and poverty and aim for a world that is free of such suffering. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest by 2015. Our leaders committed to these goals and it is up to us, as Americans and ONE supporters, to make sure that America keeps its promises to the world’s most vulnerable people.



Education is one of the most powerful investments we can make
Education attacks poverty at its roots, and strengthens individuals, families and communities. In addition to equipping a child with the knowledge and skills needed for a productive life, a basic education offers even deeper and wider returns for health and economic growth. The internationally agreed upon goal is to achieve universal primary education by 2015. That means 77 million more children worldwide would have free access to primary education.

A growing number of countries are making real progress by investing in education.

  • Primary school enrollment in sub-Saharan Africa jumped by 20 million children from 2000 to 2004.
  • In 2005, Ghana abolished user fees across the country, and primary school enrollments rose by 14%.
  • Tanzania has used its savings from debt relief in 2000 to increase education spending and eliminate school fees. Almost overnight, an estimated 1.6 million children enrolled in school. By 2003, 3.1 million additional children were attending school. Similar results have played out in Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Education is also a key tool to strengthen young democracies
Cross-national studies have found strong correlations between mass literacy and the presence of democratic political systems, as well as between the expansion of primary education and the degree of political development. An educated citizenry that is capable of making informed decisions, voicing opinions, and holding elected officials responsible is essential for democracy to survive and flourish. Education also fosters wider community cohesion and stability, giving people more control over their lives and hope for the future. A free public education, where children can learn about civic engagement, democracy and equality, provides an alternative to other forms of organized schooling.

An Investment in basic education is an investment in women and girls
The challenges to expanding access to education are vast, particularly for girls. Many children are kept from school due to costs associated with schooling or the loss of their contribution to family income. Impoverished countries also lack the funds to train and retain qualified teachers, provide text books and teaching materials, and build an adequate number of schools. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has further weakened education systems, wiping out a generation of educators and forcing children, particularly girls, to stay home and care for sick family members. However, increasing access to education for girls can reap considerable rewards:

  • Children of mothers who receive 5 years of primary education are 40% more likely to live beyond age 5.
  • Educated mothers are 50% more likely to have their children immunized.
  • In low income countries, a young woman’s average earnings increase between 10% and 20% with each additional year of education.

Education for All – Fast-track Initiative (FTI)
In 2002, donors and developing countries established the Education for All – Fast-track Initiative (FTI), a global partnership to ensure accelerated progress towards the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015. All low-income countries that demonstrate serious commitment to achieve universal primary completion are eligible for support from FTI.