Friday, August 31, 2012

Katherine Tate-Bradish Named Associate Expert for Sex Education and HIV Prevention

Katherine Tate-Bradish was recently appointed project leader of a new initiative to train large numbers of African sex educators in rural areas and provide the means to sustain their work through private enterprise.

An American, Tate-Bradish has many years of experience as an educator and advocate for rural women and children. In 2004, she began developing a sex education curriculum that is widely taught in Kenya and has found favor among women and youth groups. 

The curriculum includes the fabrication of sanitary napkins by local artisans. The scarcity and cost of sanitary napkins in rural areas is a major problem for local women and a significant impediment to girls’ education. 

Our sex education curriculum, she says, evolved organically with input from Kenyan teachers, high school students and women’s groups. “I call it The Sexual Health Alphabet: HIV/AIDS, other STDS, and the ABCs,” she says. In sex education circles, the ‘ABC’ concept refers to comprehensive education: Abstain, Be Faithful, use Condoms Correctly and Consistently.

The training takes six days, and includes pre-and post-testing on factual understanding, daily assessments, and group and individual practice teaching.  Most of the trainees are women farmers. Local church groups, HIV support groups, and women’s organizations also play a role.

The two-year initiative, which is now being organized by Tate-Bradish in collaboration with ACH and the Vumilia orphan’s home in Western Kenya, will provide proof of concept and seek ways to extend the curriculum to large numbers of rural educators.  Vumilia is an ACH member organization that works with women and children affected by HIV/AIDS.

An estimated 50,000 Kenyans have been taught by  local educators  trained using Tate-Bradish’s curriculum . In addition to scaling up, the project will also develop means to help sex educators sustain themselves financially.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

ACH Honored for Educational Work 

African Childrens Haven was recently named one of five top children's education non-profits by a leading personal finance website. The real credit, of course, goes to our African partners on the ground. This is really for them most of all. Read more

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pen Pals 2012 Link US and African Kids

Over the past three years we’ve been working to establish a pen pal letter program that connects African kids with students in the United States. Pen pal letters are a great way to build understanding and friendship and they mean a lot to the children who receive them. They’re also a fun way to improve writing skills.

We started with university students in 2009 and slowly expanded it to include kids as young as eight. In 2012 we’ll be working to connect 20 fourth graders in Galveston, Texas with students at the St. Philips Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya.

The first group of 2011 letters was sent to St. Philips in November and the replies should reach us in February. When they do, we’ll take them to fourth graders at the Ambassador Preparatory Academy in Galveston, Texas.

Just how important are the letters? Hear what the kids have to say about the program in a video they produced with help from their teacher, Mr. Lowie Paz.

Want to become a pen pal? Send a letter to Tell us about yourself – describe your daily life and tell us where you are from and what you do and what you like to do.

You can also help by contributing funds, providing supplies and by volunteering to carry letters. Let us know how you’d like to participate. Thanks!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Galvestonians Aid African Science Scholars

A small group of African girls with a talent for science will receive full scholarships next year thanks to the generosity of local Galvestonians.
The girls, all orphans ages 14-17, are secondary schools students in the East African nation of Tanzania.

The program, now in its second year, is organized by African Childrens Haven, a Galveston non-profit that supports projects that help African kids lead healthier, more productive lives.

“We receive support from around the country, but are especially grateful for the contributions of our neighbors here in Galveston,” says Linda Ercole-Musso the organization’s board chair.

The project recently received a $1,000 contribution from Beverly and John Frannea in memory of their daughter, Andrea Hufstedler Walker (see photo above and box below). The donation is slated to be matched by a donation from the Exxon-Mobil Foundation.
“The funds -- $2.000 in all -- will support two of our scholars in 2012,” says Ercole-Musso. “The contributions we receive from Galvestonians have really helped the program flourish,” she adds.

Other Galveston supporters include Winkie and Jerry Mohn; Susan, Robert and Harris Lynch; the Kempner Foundation; Cheri Ray; Ritchie Adoue; Sharon Gillens; Maggie Fuller; Joy Gilcrease; Elizabeth Lanier; Deb Naremore; Celia Padnos; Pam Rice; Marilyn Shultz; Cathy Stoval; Stephanie Thomas; Kellianne Vallee; Courtney Walker as well as business supporters Galveston Computer Solutions and

Andrea Hufstedler Walker, 1965 - 2010

Andrea Walker was a pilot and flight instructor who gave up flying when her first child was born. Her mother, Galveston resident Bev Frannea, says Andy never lost her spirit of adventure. “She loved sky-diving and traveling, valued cultural exchanges and taught her children to appreciate people. “Andrea, the mother of four, would have loved the fact that her memory is being honored through African Childrens Haven Science scholarship program. She and her husband owned a vacation home in Pirates Beach and were long-time residents of Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Si Mweraba … Tunalabagana!

As my amateur Luganda states above, this is not “goodbye” but “see you later.” I am writing this short note to you, my inspirational colleagues at African Children’s Haven, and to all of our many ACH donors and friends. It is with great sadness that I stepped down from my position on the ACH board this month due to a job offer and an impending move to Uganda. The job is one I feel I have been working my whole life to be considered for and it will allow me to live on the African continent – a place that has utterly captivated me since I first visited almost 10 years ago to the day.

Yesterday, while cleaning up and packing I found an old journal and flipped through the pages. On one page, written not long after my first trip to Africa, I wrote: “I am now totally fixated on going back to Africa. I think my purpose will be found there.” How serendipitous it is that exactly 10 years later I am moving to Africa to fulfill that prophecy.

Of course, leaving so many loved ones here in New York brings with it much sadness, as does leaving the ACH board. I was young and somewhat inexperienced when Ed took a chance on me and invited me to work with ACH. But, through his guidance, mentoring, and the support of his adorable wife Linda and the lovely Ginny I found my place in the organization. It has been a joy to watch ACH grow so rapidly – a powerful testament to the value of the work being done. Recent developments, particularly our membership in Aid for Africa will ensure this growth can be sustained and even accelerated.

I will forever support the work of ACH, visit its projects whenever I’m in the area, and continue to network people with ACH projects they can assist. I look forward to learning how the children benefiting from our projects are progressing and of the new ways ACH finds to enhance the support it provides.

To all ACH’s friends and donors, I thank you. Your support has enabled ACH to become what it is today and is truly making the world a better place, one child at a time.

All my love,

Skye Dobson

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dodger Helps Orphan Kids

It's been a long while since our last post. We'll be back with more regular updates soon. Meanwhile you might want to check out this story about orphan kids and a professional baseball player from the United States. It's a good news story that's sure to touch your heart...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Drought Continues for Sixth Year in Horn of Africa

Rainfall across the Horn of Africa has fallen short of expectations once again. The October/November rains in the region were projected to be heavier than usual due to El NiƱo effects, and millions of farmers and pastoralists had pinned their hopes on the weather experts being right.

Hope of improved food security was high with the rains beginning as promised in October, but there was a lengthy dry spell in November that continued into the first part of December. In their latest report, Oxfam GB said “Large parts of Turkana (northern Kenya), Somalia, and Ethiopia have received less than five percent of normal rainfall in November.” According to the report, Turkana has received just 12 mm of rainfall in the last three months.

This is the sixth successive season of poor rains in the region, which is experiencing its worst drought in 20 years. The next rains are now projected for April at the earliest. As a result, the USAID Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS-Net) predicts “food insecurity is likely to deteriorate substantially in the coming months, compounded by human and livestock disease upsurges, conflict, and higher food prices.”

After visiting affected areas, Mr. Jeremy Loveless, Oxfam GB Deputy Humanitarian Director, said “Millions of people in these areas are of particular concern as they face at least another six months of hunger and destitution.”

Tiff Harris

Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya