By Pierre Bergeron, Esq., M.Div.
Action Africa, Inc, was founded and incorporated in Washington DC in 2000 with offices located at 2903 Mills Avenue, NE, Washington DC 20018. This organization is a 501-c-3 non-profit entity that has program development and implementation both in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. In Nigeria, Action Africa worked to establish a local NGO known as “African Action on Health & Education” (an independent, registered, Nigerian NGO). In Sierra Leone, Action Africa worked to establish a local NGO known as “Action Salone on Health & Education” (an independent, registered, Sierra Leonean NGO). Action Africa works in these countries with and through these partner NGOs which in fact replicate one shared core mission.
Presently Action Africa is excited about its Computer Literacy Project, illustrated in the Power Point Presentation found on this site, which is incubating in Enugu State, Nigeria. In the first year, we were reaching 700 primary school children through mobile vans, computers, interactive boards, and teachers that were going to 4 different schools. By the end of the second year, we hope to reach 3400 children. This Computer Literacy Project can be replicated throughout sub-Saharan Africa. This project will raise the competency of primary and secondary school children by utilizing the computer to further their access to higher education and the educational and social resources of the web.
Action Africa responds to the immediate survival needs of Africans. In 2017, Action Africa sent two 40-foot containers of pandemic supplies, food and nutritional supplies to Sierra Leone and Nigeria with over $700,000 worth of pandemic supplies delivered. In Sierra Leone this helped to assist in relieving the distress after mudslides killed over 1000 people in 2017. See the Voice of America segment on this topic. Action Africa continues to collect pandemic supplies from corporations who have given generously in the past and from individual contributors. However, it needs funding to store, sort, ship, and distribute these supplies.
During the Ebola crises in West Africa in 2014, Action Africa delivered six 40-foot containers (each valued at about $500,000), which contained pandemic and hospital supplies to Sierra Leone which was devastated by the Ebola crisis with thousands of deaths. Action Africa also sent a 40-foot container of approved drugs worth more than $2 Million into Nigeria. Up to 25 medical centers and hospitals participated in the mass distribution and implementation of the program aimed at boosting immunity levels to fight off the spread of tropical diseases among the populations.
Action Africa has a long history in Nigeria beginning in 2003 when it held free medical clinics at various locations which were attended by an average of 1200 people each month, treating maternal and child welfare issues, family hygiene, and providing support for HIV/AIDS counseling, treatment and prevention. Each month, teams of medical doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, and other volunteers, were supported by Action Africa to go into rural villages teach, assess, and offer medical assistance to people.
Action Africa continued to support hundreds of school children and teachers in south-eastern Nigeria. Educational supplies including books, furniture, supplies, nutritional supplies, and scholarships were provided to support rural educational programs.
In its microenterprise programs in the country, more than 100 women and men received seed money semiannually to strengthen or build up their local businesses and thus be able to save toward their children’s future education. The mix of loans and gifts ranged from $75 - $150 per person, depending on individual cases and according to need.
In 2012, Action Africa sent one of its Washington Directors to Sierra Leone to work with the volunteers at Action Salone on Health and Education who then welcomed medical personnel from Project Cure Organization (USA) and together they did complete assessment needs of 12 government and national hospitals in the country. These assessments were necessary to ascertain the real needs of these healthcare facilities and to plan adequately toward any possible support by way of medical supplies and equipment. As a result of the assessments, Action Africa embarked on various efforts to deliver much needed supplies to some of the government hospitals as well as some private hospitals. Action Africa delivered three 40-foot containers of much needed medical equipment and supplies into the country before the Ebola crises hit the region.
From the very beginning, Action Africa has worked with local schools in Bo, and Lunsar, Sierra Leone, to promote primary and vocational education. The Josephine Bakhita School for the Poor has received regular assistance and support from Action Africa since 2005. Later, schools in the Masimera and Kailahun areas received supplies and equipment support from Action Africa.
A microenterprise program supported by Action Africa has also been based in Lunsar, Sierra Leone. An initial group of 25 women received seed money and supporting funds to grow or initiate local businesses in the area. Another group in the Masimera area is working on a Palm Plantation farm, all with assistance and support from Action Africa.
Washington, D.C.: From the very beginning of this organization, as part of its commitment to the citizens of this city that hosts our office, we initiated programs that addressed certain neighborhood needs. We discovered that many newly arrived African immigrants in the area do not even know how to begin sorting things out unless they have immediate family members already living in the area. Typically, Africans are not quick in expressing personal and family needs, including hunger and serious medical needs. It is even harder for them to show up at public locations, to fill out forms, and tell their stories. Many immigrant children have suffered so much due to this social and cultural baggage. Action Africa stepped forward in these matters. We partnered with some local church communities and charity groups. Monthly supplies of educational and household goods received as gifts-in-kind go toward our local outreach programs. Food and nutritional supplies have also been received and distributed. Consequently, Action Africa provided the following support outreach to newly arrived immigrants from Africa: a hospitality program to assist immigrant families; an educational support program that provide books and study materials when available; a food and nutrition program that responds to new immigrant family needs; a cultural awareness program that promotes awareness and respect for one’s heritage as well as people of other ethnic origins; a job preparation and referral program, including support outreach to immigrants who decide to return to homelands to take up leadership positions among their people; a capacity building program to assist small immigrant associations form themselves into viable corporations. Action Africa, led by a team of relief and development professionals, works to increase sustainable economic self-sufficiency for sub-Saharan youth and families through the provision of medical, educational, and business development activities both in Washington, D.C. and sub-Saharan Africa.
ACTION AFRICA MISSION – GOING FORWARD: Action Africa is an energetic and proactive non-profit response by Africans and friends of Africa to the challenges facing children and families in rural villages of sub-Saharan Africa in the vital areas of health, education, economic generativity, and human rights. Our strategic plan consists of the following:
1. Continued development and expansion of the Computer Literacy Project in Enugu
State, Nigeria, and throughout Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and sub-Saharan Africa. (see Power Point Presentation on this website.) This program will be expanding its reach from the initial registration of 700 children in the first year, to an estimated 3400 children in the second year, with additional funding.
2. Ebola continues to strike sub-Saharan Africa, with most recent cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo. People have already died. In response we are seeking continued development and implementation of our demonstration project known as “African 360 Health Solutions” currently in trial mode in a region of Nigeria and intended for expansion in other parts of Nigeria, Sierra Leone and sub-Saharan Africa. We are working in conjunction with our partners African Action on Health and Education (AAHE) in Nigeria and Ladlas Prince LLC, a Service Disabled and Minority Owned Business in Michigan, US. African 360 Health Solutions (A360HS) is an electronic-based program for gathering, analyzing and disseminating critical health information through the utilization of low wattage, solar and battery powered computer systems. It is significant that this program can be utilized in the cities as well as the hinterlands which are not connected to the national electric grid. This project has four goals:
- A360HS protects sub-Saharan Africa as well as the rest of the world from pandemics, through a computerized early warning system for pandemics.
- It strengthens the health sector through computerization of doctors’ offices, community hospitals and in-house pharmacies, community pharmacy stores, community retail outlets, banking/financial and insurance services, capital/credit access for healthcare entrepreneurs.
- It increases job sustainability.
- It uses eco- friendly energy sources.
3. Action Africa Inc. currently collects pandemic supplies from corporations who have given generously in the past and from individual contributors. However, it needs funding to store, prepare, ship, and distribute in Sierra Leone and Nigeria these supplies.
4. Action Africa Inc., through its partners in Sierra Leone, Action Salone in Health and Education, and in Nigeria, African Action on Health and Education, has access to two tracts of lands that in Sierra Leone and Nigeria can be developed to produce innovative farm techniques such as the development of multi-year planting and harvesting, the upgrading of raw products in the development chain, and the development of microenterprises to see these products.
5. For the DC metropolitan area, Action Africa Inc. has developed a two-week workshop proposal entitled “Culture Crossroads: An Intensive Two-week Program for African Immigrant Families in the Washington Metropolitan area.” The goal of the program is to help both immigrant African parents/guardians and children identify and begin resolving conflicts stemming from traditional African value systems and the American culture. Funding sources are being sought to implement this program on a rotating basis to benefit youth and families.
Summarizing, it is important to say that the vast majority of the accomplishments of Action Africa has been shouldered by individual benefactors, families and friends, who often remain silent in their support. In silence too, we recognize them and continue to appreciate their generosity and commitment. The thousands of families and children who have been served through this organization will forever thank these good people. It is also with the same heart filled with appreciation that I must mention the several dozens of volunteers and fill-in staff who continue to serve the organization on two continents. Some serve on the various boards, and others on the committees and operational staffs. None of the accomplishments mentioned above would have been possible without their dedication and service.