Meet and Greet- AIA's First Vocational Scholarship Recipient

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Meet Kyomuhendo John.
We want to introduce you to him, plus it is his birthday!

A few years ago, John joined Action in Africa as a volunteer and then quickly transitioned to an intern. Eventually, John became a programs assistant, where he served The Center as an art teacher. This past May, John was awarded Action in Africa's very first Vocational Scholarship to study Industrial Art and Design in Kampala. Even though his tuition is covered by AIA, he still has additional expenses such as rent, food, transportation, school supplies and more. To help offset these expenses, John creates beautiful paintings that Action in Africa sells for him. One of the greatest ways we can wish John a Happy Birthday is through promoting his artwork. By purchasing John's paintings, you are directly contributing to his tuition as well as his non-school related expenses. 

 The paintings are $30 each and come in a black frame. 
We only have 29 left, so hurry over to our website to shop now.

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Donor Spotlight: Derek Young

Derek Young has been a dear friend to Sarah Nininger, AIA's Executive Director, since high school. A few years ago, he reached out asking if AIA needed any help and if he could use his finance and technology skills to help us further our mission. Little did he know that we would talk him into not only overseeing all of our finances and but also into joining our Board of Directors. We are so grateful to have him on our team.  Derek told us all about why he loves AIA. Read the full interview below!

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How and when did you first hear about Action in Africa? Action in Africa first came on my radar in 2012 through Action in Africa's President, Sarah Nininger. We have been friends since high school and her positive, unabating advocacy for Action in Africa did not go unnoticed.

There are so many organizations doing incredible things across the globe, why do you pick Action in Africa to give to? I remember the first organization I supported years ago was Heifer International. In less than a year following my initial donation to Heifer International, I saw the dollars I donated be consumed by marketing pieces from the organization. It was disheartening to see my donation slowly transformed into thick marketing catalogs that ended up in my recycling bin. What I love about Action in Africa is their stewardship of donations. Marketing and fundraising are necessary budget-items for every non-profit, but Action in Africa is very conscientious of this spending and they use cost-effective techniques, such as digital marketing, to ensure the large-majority of each donation goes toward their programs.

What is your favorite part of Action in Africa?  Of the numerous programs and services Action in Africa provides, my favorite are their educational programs. Think of the old adage: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" - by providing and supporting education, Action in Africa is feeding Kampalans for a lifetime.

Would you recommend Action in Africa to potential new donors? I would absolutely recommend Action in Africa to anyone looking for a non-profit to support. When making a donation, you are faced with two questions: Is the cause I'm supporting an appropriate cause to support? Will this cause benefit from my donation? With Action in Africa, these questions receive a resounding 'yes.'

Anything else you would like to add? Just that I'm looking forward to seeing how the impact of this organization manifests down the road! I believe Action in Africa's impact affects the roots of life in Kampala and the benefits to the community are deep and lasting.

Lastly, please describe AIA in three words. Empowerment through education. 

Special thanks to Derek for his unwavering commitment to Action in Africa.

This post is a part of Action in Africa's "Donor Spotlight" series which intends to educate people about our work in Uganda and invite them to join the story.

Join Derek and support our work in Uganda today!

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Partner Profile - Love Button

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Action in Africa partners with companies, organizations and people across the globe to carry out our mission in Uganda. The challenges we face require collaboration and support from those outside our little AIA circle. We are grateful to work alongside a variety of extraordinary people and groups to help make progress towards our goals. This week, we are so honored to introduce you to Action in Africa's Partner, Love Button Global Movement Action in Africa's very own Mikayla Pellerin, interviewed Love Button's Executive Director, John Marino, to discuss this partnership and why it is so special. Read the full interview below. 

Mikayla: How did you first find yourself getting involved with Love Button?

John: The universe connected me with Love Button. Something was missing in my life and I was searching for purpose. Love Button sought an executive director and I sought something more meaningful. It was the perfect intersection and great timing.

Mikayla: What drew you to Love Button in particular?

John: The mission is so beautiful, inspiring and joyful- to spread love, foster loving acts of kindness and to transform and uplift the lives of our human family. It’s so simple yet so profound. I wanted in! I am privileged and grateful for the opportunity to be of service.

Mikayla: What are some of Love Button’s campaigns that you are really proud of and why?

John: The central mission of Love Button, to promote love, is so rewarding. It is powerful, noble and needed in our world. We are planting seeds of love in our communities, engaging our human family in a deeper consciousness and developing greater connectivity. We believe we are all in this together. Specific campaigns to point to include Love Button’s presence in Parkland, Florida following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  We came to be of service, to offer some comfort and to promote healing in a devastated community. Love and compassion are central tenets of our educational and outreach programs. We are developing programs and curriculum to counter shaming, bullying and exclusion in schools with our message of love. We also have integrative health programs and university partnerships to promote compassionate physicians trained in the art of linguistic healing. We are very excited about these programs.

Mikayla: What do you think was the major keys to Love Button’s success?

John: Our message of love is simple and universal. There is an incredible line of energy going through Love Button. The organization is surrounded by passionate people who exhibit a prolific way of answering the call of loving. We can see the possibilities of Love Button to inspire and to transform our world. Love is the pathway and solution.

Mikayla: What are one to two pieces of advice you could tell every non-profit director or president starting out or really trying to grow their organization?

John: Clearly identify your objectives and where you want to take the organization. Develop a strategic plan, surround yourself with talented and committed people, and execute.

Mikayla: In your opinion, what are critical attributes or skills a director of a non-profit should have?

John: Most importantly, bring a deep passion for the mission of the organization. It cannot be simply a job; the mission must be central to one’s core beliefs. The director should wake up with an enthusiasm for the nonprofit’s success. Leadership, vision, management, fund development, communications, technology and creativity are essential skills for a highly performing director. Bring a sense of humor and pause and love each day.

Mikayla: Do you or how do you see nonprofits changing in the coming years? And in addition, what kind of vision do you have for Love Button?

John: The vision for Love Button is organizational growth so we can touch more lives and be more impactful. We intend to offer more programs that cultivate loving action and will empower, educate, and uplift our human family locally and globally. We will elevate this organization to the next level, to be of greater service and an agent of positive change.

Mikayla: What drew you to choosing Action in Africa as a new campaign partner?

John: Action in Africa is an amazing organization that is making a difference. Love Button commends its impressive work and achievements. The organization’s focus on education and community development, propelling individuals to reach their full potential as leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs is inspiring to Love Button. It is such a privilege to partner with Action in Africa. We are grateful.

Mikayla: What are you most excited about with Love Button and Action in Africa’s Partnership?

John: Our organizations align well. We have a shared goal to help our human family. Action in Africa strives to educate, inspire, and empower people as does Love Button. There is so much synergy in our missions and goals and we envision many collaborations. We are especially excited to partner for the community outreach program to deliver medical services.

Mikayla: Thank you, John. We are grateful for you and Love Button. 

Our first campaign with Love Button officially launches this week. On September 1st, Action in Africa will be hosting a medical health outreach at our community center in Uganda, made possible by Love Button. At this outreach, we will be offering free HIV testing, malaria testing and treatment, deworming, antifungal treatment, and free haircuts. We are honored to have Love Buttons support with this outreach and would love to encourage you to join as well. And if we haven't already convinced you, all donations are tax-deductible and currently being matched up to $100,000 by an annonymous donor! 

Donor Spotlight - Sallie Mesker

Sallie Mesker is one of Action in Africa's biggest fans. From financially supporting AIA's Special Needs Program to visiting us in Uganda, to co-hosting a fundraiser for in St. Louis to wearing our Muganda bracelets daily, it's hard to find anyone who loves Action in Africa more than Auntie Sallie. Sallie talked with Action in Africa's Executive Director, Sarah Nininger, and told us all about why she loves AIA. Read the full interview below!

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Sarah: Sallie, how and when did you first hear about Action in Africa?

Sallie: I first heard about Action in Africa when I was in high school.  One of my very best friends from growing up, Mimi Rogers, was and still is highly involved in the organization.  From the second I heard about Action in Africa, I was intrigued. I had always wanted to go to Africa, but hadn't found an organization whose mission really resonated with me.    

Sarah: There are so many organizations doing incredible things across the globe, why do you pick Action in Africa to give to?

Sallie: While Action in Africa has always had a very special place in my heart, it wasn't until I visited The Center in the summer of 2017 that I truly understood all of the incredible work that is taking place on a daily basis.  All 14 full-time Ugandan employees live, eat, and breath Action in Africa. Each and every single day they are dedicated to creating a higher quality of life for the people of Nakuwadde. I find their passion and drive to be truly inspiring.   

Sarah: What is your favorite part of Action in Africa? (Program, service, kid, etc.)

Sallie: Before visiting Uganda, this question would have been a lot more difficult for me to answer because all of the programs and services Action in Africa offers are amazing.  But during my time at The Center a young boy with the world's best smile stole my heart. His name is Shaki. Shaki was born with cerebral palsy, but from the second I met him it was evident to me that he does not let his condition stop him from being one of the most happy, kind, hilarious, and overall incredible people. Shaki is why I am so passionate about the special needs program/service Action in Africa offers. (Sallie is pictured with Shaki on instagram with a link to this blog post) 

Sarah: Would you recommend Action in Africa to potential new donors and why?

Sallie: Time and time again I would recommend Action in Africa to potential new donors. To me, one of the most incredible aspects of this organization is how it is run by such a young group of people, Americans and Ugandans alike. The dedication and commitment of each individual on this team is enough to save a village (quite literally). Whether it is from the United States or right on site at The Center in Uganda, each morning these people wake up prepared to make a difference in the lives of the people of Nakuwadde.     

Sarah: Lastly, describe Action in Africa in three words.

Sallie: Compassionate, Selfless, and Driven. 

Special thanks to Sallie for her unwavering commitment to Action in Africa.

This post is a part of Action in Africa's "Donor Spotlight" series which intends to educate people about our work in Uganda and invite them to join the story.

Join Sallie and support our work in Uganda today!

Donate