Amref Health Africa: 2014 – 2016
In October 2014, A&O began a two-year global charity partnership with Amref Health Africa, an organisation that brings sustainable health access to communities across Africa.
The partnership’s initial focus was a project to reduce the number of school-age girls becoming pregnant in a rural region of Tanzania, thereby keeping more girls in education and helping to break the cycle of poverty there.
Three years since the partnership has ended, its impact has gone far beyond that, achieving systemic change at local government level as well as within communities.
A&O contributed a record GBP1.72 million to Amref, raising GBP930,000 – nearly four times the initial target – and providing GBP770,000 of pro bono volunteering time and GBP16,000 of in-kind support.
The partnership was Highly Commended in the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards 2017 and the Business Charity Awards 2016.
Frances Longley is the CEO of Amref Health Africa in the UK: “A&O has an incredible philanthropic and pro bono profile, as well as a big international network, so we had high expectations for the relationship. In fact what we achieved through this remarkable partnership surpassed everyone’s expectations. Without A&O’s expertise, I don’t think we’d have achieved such lasting and systemic change in these areas.
“The advocacy project has had a significant impact, but the pro bono support wasn’t limited to that. A&O delivered 27 projects for us, including giving us advice on data protection and holding workshops on corruption and managing liability. This enabled us to review and develop our policies and ensure we have robust procedures in place. A&O’s in-kind support – for example designing and printing Amref’s annual review for two years – allowed our small team to focus their time and resources on our community programmes.
A lasting impact
The A&O volunteers who visited us in Tanzania were so inspiring – in particular, Wim Dejonghe. His emotional and inspirational speech during his visit in 2016 really moved the young people here and has stuck with me. I often think about his words: “Youth should be the architect of their own lives and destiny"
Nyerere Jackson, project manager for the ‘Afwa Kwa Vijana’ project in Meatu
We set out to support 32,600 young people but have now reached more than five times that number across two regions of Tanzania – Meatu and Handeni - training hundreds of health workers and refurbishing health facilities across the regions to provide youth-friendly services.
Frances Longley is the CEO of Amref Health Africa in the UK
Three years on, what impact has the partnership had in Meatu and Handeni?
Overall, Amref has now reached 158,698 young people across Meatu and Handeni – more than five times the number it set out to – with improved access to sexual education and health services. Systemic change is happening within communities to value education over early motherhood and marriage, and to replace violent traditional practices like FGM/C with Alternative Rites of Passage ceremonies.
- Using the advocacy toolkit, Amref has secured a commitment from the local government for an 18-fold increase in public spending on sexual and reproductive health services. In 2017/18 the budget had increased to TZS36 million (approximately USD15,500) and was rising.
- Amref also used the toolkit to train 25 youth groups and 75 out-of-school youths on grassroots advocacy, helping them to campaign for quality information and services and hold decision makers to account.
- Community elders have publicly denounced FGM/C and introduced an Alternative Rites of Passage ceremony for girls. No FGM/C procedures were reported across 2017/18 within one of the main tribes in which it had previously been rampant.
- Comprehensive sex education has been incorporated into the curriculum of all 134 schools in Meatu. To date, over 89,240 in- and out-of-school youths have received sexual and reproductive health education through Amref’s after-school clubs, peer outreach and community activities.
- Early pregnancies have decreased significantly – no school drop-outs as a result of pregnancy were recorded in Meatu in 2017.
- 105 health care providers have been trained and 47 health facilities are now providing youth-friendly sexual health services across the district.