Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall Partners with AfricAid to Support Girls’ Mentoring Programs in Africa
$500,000 Donation Marks the Largest Single Gift in AfricAid History
Gift will support education and soft skills development for more than 6,700 currently enrolled girls.
June 29, 2021, Denver, Colorado – AfricAid is thrilled to announce a $500,000 donation from Twitter and Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall philanthropic initiative. This is the largest single gift ever received by the organization, which supports locally-led mentorship initiatives that create more equitable, just environments for girls by cultivating confidence, improving academic and health outcomes, and promoting socially-responsible leadership skills.
“Girls who participate in the mentoring programs we support are more likely to graduate, seek higher education, outperform peers on standardized tests, and have the confidence, resilience, and leadership to reach their goals in school and in life,” said AfricAid Executive Director, Jessica Love. “Jack Dorsey’s investment in AfricAid will truly create a ripple effect that will last for generations in Tanzania. These young leaders create change and become role models who empower future generations.”
AfricAid supports mentoring programs in Tanzania through its sister organization and local partner, GLAMI (Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative). Girls enrolled in GLAMI programming meet weekly with a dedicated, university-educated Tanzanian woman mentor who teaches a curriculum centered around leadership development, critical thinking, financial literacy, goal setting, health issues, and many other topics to which girls are otherwise rarely exposed. More than 70 percent of the team implementing this local mentoring programming are alumnae, sharing lived experience with the girls they now mentor.
A girl’s education is often called the world’s best investment – and for good reason. Educated girls avoid early pregnancy and child marriage, earn more money, and raise healthier families. For each additional year of secondary school a girl completes, UNICEF estimates her earning potential increases by up to 25 percent.
“These mentoring programs have always demonstrated impact, but last year, we saw the true value of this programming. While real concerns remain globally about girls returning to school in a post-COVID environment, GLAMI saw more than 99% of girls return to their education after Tanzanian schools reopened. That is an extraordinary accomplishment and a testament to the deep and trusting connection that girls and their parents maintain with their mentors,” said Love.
Nearly 11,500 girls have participated in at least one of GLAMI’s two core mentoring programs. Through the four-year Binti Shupavu program, girls in lower secondary school (ages 13-18) learn about study skills, personal leadership, health, and self-confidence with the goal of increasing graduation rates among vulnerable girls. The two-year Kisa Project is a leadership course that prepares young women in their last two years of secondary school (ages 17-21) to attend university and create positive social change in their communities. Every Kisa participant designs and implements a final team capstone project, a two-day service activity that demonstrates to the community – and reinforces to scholars – the worth of an empowered young woman.
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#StartSmall is Jack Dorsey’s philanthropic initiative to fund global COVID-19 relief, girls health and education, and efforts towards Universal Basic Income. Dorsey transferred $1 billion (28% of his wealth) to #StartSmall in 2020.
AfricAid works to improve the standing of women in society through robust, locally-led mentorship initiatives that cultivate confidence, improve academic and health outcomes, and promote socially-responsible leadership skills. In close partnership with our sister organization, GLAMI (Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative), we support mentorship opportunities that help secondary school girls in Tanzania complete their education, develop into confident leaders, and transform their own lives and their communities. https://africaid.org/