Message From The Chair
Greetings to all of our partners, stakeholders, friends and beneficiaries,
As chair of the Advancement of Children Foundation for more than half of its’ existence, I remain proud to be chairing a diverse, youthful board of committed professionals. With gratitude to our founding members and committed past counsellors, we were fortunate to inherit a locally sustained civic organization with a well-intentioned mandate, history of good governance structure, and solid financial base.
Our greatest blessing for those first years being the latter; with financial sustainability being a challenge for most organizations. But when initial commitments ended, we knew that we needed to make changes to be more efficient and measurably effective. But not just financially, as we had learned from the projects we have funded, but in our mandate as well. It could no longer be good enough to just fund projects could it? Why were we not seeing more successful programs like Girls Illuminated? We realized if it was a challenge for us who inherited a solid foundation, what capacity did our grantees have to sustain theirs? What skills needed to be taught and learned?
What we had learned was, it is more sustainable to address this challenge through the transference of knowledge and skills than solely through funding. By offering technical training in advocacy and other areas of capacity building we could revitalize our organization and improve our overall impact and outcomes, and transfer that knowledge to help build capacity in the NGO sector; and focus that growth on youth development. Gaining a knowledgeable understanding of these issues moved us from problem identification to strategically focused solutions, better aligned to the needs of our beneficiaries and communities.
With innovative strategies such as our Changemakers Competition in which high school teams compete in project management and grant writing skills for community project funding. Or our social enterprise partner program Teach A Boy (TAB), which is a multinational social enterprise enfranchising technical skills training to produce locally based income generating products/services. While we should ask for help when we need it, we can also learn to help each other and to help ourselves; we can be our own resource, we can be sustainable.
We are And a new standardized frameworks for grant criteria and application form, which are now in line with international standards using USAID/ Youth Power Youth Development (PYD) Framework. Additional information on this framework can be found through links in our dropbox menu or at Youthpower.org
You may be wondering why no mention of Covid? Its only application is to emphasize the urgent need. The work continues and the challenges remain the same. In truth, Covid has taught us that innovation is even more essential as we continue to adapt our programs and activities, and grow our partnerships to meet the needs of our target youth and other beneficiaries during and beyond this crisis.
The ACF is ready for 2021. Not only is our Board excited and revitalized, so is our website. Take some of your free time to look around. Also check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Or feel free to contact us with questions at our email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Naeemah Hazelle
Chair – Advancement of Children Foundation