who we work with: Ace Africa

The organisation

Ace Africa focuses on all aspects of community development across five project sites in remote-rural Kenya and Tanzania. Through its child development, community health and wellbeing and community livelihoods programmes Ace is providing entire communities with the knowledge, skills and start-up to live healthier, happier and self-sufficient lives.

Their Child Development programmes provide trauma counselling, child rights education and protection, Child-to-Child Clubs, school uniforms, and sanitary pads. The Community Health projects offer HIV/AIDS prevention and care services, reproductive health and family planning services. Their Community Livelihoods Initiative teach members how to establish and maintain kitchen gardens, apply sustainable farming techniques, and engage in economic enterprise.

Ace Africa’s approach is a long-term investment in each community, typically 10-12 years to ensure each community gets to the point where they no longer need Ace Africa's input. Core to the Ace Africa approach is engaging, training and mobilising local volunteers and Ace are currently working with a network of over 7,000 community volunteers across the sites. Ace works in close collaboration with local government and partners to ensure effective use of all resources.

The project

The Innocent Foundation began working with Ace Africa in 2014 on Kome Island, Mwanza Region, Tanzania. This fifth project site is Ace Africa’s most remote yet and with it comes some new challenges:

  • In the communities of Luhiza and Nyamisuri 93% and 95% living on less than $1 a day.

  • Overall, 63% live in abject poverty.
  • The main income sources are fishing, small businesses and small scale farming, with the latter limited to growing maize and potatoes for households consumption.
  • 85% have poor diets and live in food poverty, an estimated 4% eat a balanced diet.
  • Average 44% of primary school children are orphans and vulnerable children .
  • Estimated 46% adults and 20% children showing signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS.
  • 79% are not members of support groups and receive no help from them 

The Innocent Foundation is supporting the training of six community groups over the next three years (2014-2017) in sustainable agricultural and nutrition practices and income generating activities so they can ensure their own long-term household food, nutritional and economic security.

Through the project we are providing skills and training to 120 group members (six groups) and their households (600 household members) in activities including organic kitchen gardening, dairy goat breeding and milling to ensure long-term food and nutritional security and self-sufficient in the areas of Buhama, Luhiza and Nyamisuri. Furthermore the groups are being trained in business skills, a government-backed initiative called VICOBA (village community banking) to improve their household economic security.

In addition 3,600 members of the wider community will benefit from improved food and nutritional security through skills transfer from Ace agricultural mentors and food awareness raising days.

'Before Ace training, I did not have the knowledge and skills to practice organic agriculture, especially compost making and mulching. My vegetable yields were low and I experienced hunger. With Ace organic farming training, I am now growing, harvesting and eating a variety of vegetables with my family members. I have also supported five people outside my household (three children, two People living with HIV/AIDS) with vegetables and will soon start a business. I thank Ace Africa for providing new knowledge and skills on organic agriculture. I will now train other community members and encourage them to join our support groups.'

Editha Francis a community group member in Luhiza, Kome Island