CONSIDER THIS: you can donate money to help buy tools and seed for a farmer, but if violent conflict causes that farmer to flee his home or destroys his fields, then your well-intentioned donation has no real impact.
Thus, it is imperative that we also prioritize building peace and preventing violent conflict and extremism.
Today, there are many individual efforts to support peace, attack poverty, and provide education to African communities. These efforts, though well intentioned, tend to be too narrowly focused, short term, and uncoordinated between efforts and entities. 72 Africa addresses these shortfalls by utilizing a three-pillar approach to build a solid foundation for sustainable peace, by working with and building on the grassroots initiatives of local communities, and by collaborating with local, regional, and national business, non-profit, religious, and governmental organizations.
Issues of poverty, the exploitation of natural resources, violent conflict, and refugee crises in Africa are well-known. People are often rightly motivated to work toward the alleviation of this suffering. Yet, they often fail to address the root causes of these problems.
Our 14-year track record of successful engagement in advancing peace building allows for an effective, approach to conflict resolution, mediation, and conflict prevention; Our focus on education of the future generation of leaders by offering educational curriculum at all levels of learning, training on how to identify and counter emerging conflict, and advanced research and study in conflict transformation, offers best strategy for lasting change; Our emphasis on creating economically stable environments at the grassroots level gives individuals a constructive purpose, addresses poverty, and ensures sustainable peace.
We strive to put 93% of our funding into operations in Africa. We keep overhead costs low and utilize a network of experts who are willing to work with us on a consultant basis, thus reducing the need for “permanent” staff. Also, we do not believe in recreating existing expertise, structures, and capabilities. Thus, we constantly seek out partner organizations to join us in our efforts.
Currently, 72 Africa is headquartered in the United States, with its African Operations office located in Northern Ghana. As we expand, additional offices are envisioned in each country that we serve.
Experts agree that today, most African countries are at a crossroads.
Although Africa is primed to be the next area for significant economic growth, prospects for such growth tend to be at the macro level and are not a certainty. The Sub-Saharan region of Africa will see more people joining the workforce in the next 20 years than the rest of the world combined.
The continent’s one billion-person market portends significant potential in terms of economic/government stability and consumer potential. Yet, much of the existing economic development fails to benefit rural areas and sidesteps the interests of local citizens, often damaging their wellbeing. We need to focus our economic engagement at the grassroots level in order to foster sustainable economic growth that ultimately has a positive effect on governments, battles poverty and injustice, and prevents radicalization and violence.
Many regions across Africa face several factors that make them vulnerable to violent conflict and growing extremism:
• Aid has created dependency and corruption
• There is a disconnect between modern and traditional authority systems
• Historic tribal/ethnic issues linger
• There is a lack of education on alternatives to violence
• There is a lack of purpose and future, especially in the eyes of youth
Without specific, strategic actions to build environments that identify and counter emerging radicalization and conflict, educate current and future leaders in alternatives to violence, and provide purpose and a viable future especially for youth, the potential for radicalization and violence will continue to grow and will negatively affect stability. Such actions cannot be effective overnight; thus, action now is critical. 72 Africa answers the call and is mindful of the African proverb: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is now.