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Jimmy Kolker 1

Ambassador Jimmy Kolker on why CBOs are the best investment for African development

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Firelight is honored that Ambassador Jimmy Kolker — after a long career in the U.S. government as a diplomat and at UNICEF as Chief of the HIV and AIDS Section —joined the Board of Directors in February 2017.  Below we share Ambassador Kolker’s thoughts on why he supports Firelight and why he believes funding community-based organizations is essential to development in sub-Saharan Africa. I’ve had a wonderful but unusual career – 30 years as a Department of State Foreign Service officer, [...]

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Spiwe

Improving access to early childhood education for children affected by HIV and AIDS

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Spiwe Ernest was born to a family deeply affected by the HIV and AIDS crisis that has ravaged sub-Saharan Africa.  Her mother was HIV positive, and when revealed her status to her husband, he abused her and fled, leaving her to fend for six children, including their youngest—Spiwe.  Fortunately, Spiwe was HIV negative, due to her mother’s participation in a prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) program in her community.  Spiwe’s mother, unable to take care of six children [...]

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Firelight and Graça Machel on making a better future for Africa’s women and children

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“First, listen – it is their development – not yours – and their development means that it has to come from within” – Graça Machel. This was Mrs. Machel’s parting advice to a group of philanthropists and development specialists gathered to hear her speak at an event hosted by Firelight in June.  This idea of community- and Africa- led development, not donor- or western-led, was very much the evening’s theme for how women and children in Africa will overcome the challenges [...]

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Body Mapping 2

Community dialogues from Shinyanga, Tanzania – Actively involving communities in the fight against child marriage

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In the Shinyanga region of Tanzania, Firelight is partnering with a cluster of 13 community-based organizations (CBOs) that are fighting against the scourge of child marriage and to protect and uphold the rights of girl children in their communities. Firelight and its partners chose Shinyanga because it has the highest rates of child marriage in Tanzania. What is participatory research? Participatory research is an approach to research in communities that emphasizes participation and action. It seeks to understand the world by trying to change it, [...]

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Introducing Firelight’s new board members and board chair

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Firelight is thrilled to announce the addition of three new members to our Board of Directors – Paru Yusuf, Jimmy Kolker, and Elisa de Martel.  All three of these professionals come to Firelight with a history of extensive accomplishments in politics, international development, philanthropy, and technology.  Their expertise is invaluable to Firelight, and we are truly humbled that they have joined us in our mission of investing in communities to improve the health, education, well-being, and resilience of children and [...]

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