Approximately 490 million people in Africa live below the poverty line, which equates to less than $1.90 per day. Moreover, these people are at high risk of contracting deadly diseases due to poor sanitation and underdeveloped health care systems. Charities around the globe are now working to improve the living situation on the continent. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for Africa?
The best charities for Africa in terms of overall impact are Self Help Africa, Frontline AIDS, and InterCare. Charities such as Farm Africa and Bread and Water for Africa do incredible work in education and helping local business owners to become self-sustainable and increase their income.
Whether you want to ensure every child in Africa has access to a good education, empower local communities to run their own successful businesses, or make sure all African communities have access to vital medical supplies, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for Africa are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.
Here’s What All the Best Charities for Africa Have in Common
The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate across Africa, focusing their efforts on ensuring the most poverty-stricken countries are given the assistance they need to improve their lives.
Many of the charities on this list focus their attention on providing local individuals with training and supplies to build their own sustainable businesses. Others focus on ensuring all vulnerable African children have access to nutritious food and a decent education. Yet they all share the same goal – to end poverty and allow people in Africa to reach their full potential.
These Are the 9 Best Charities for Africa
Below are our favorite charities for Africa:
- Self Help Africa
- Frontline AIDS
- Bread and Water for Africa
- African Children’s Fund
- Farm Africa
- International Anti-Poaching Foundation
(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)
Self Help Africa: Investing to End Poverty
Self Help Africa was founded in 2008 as a merger between Self Help Development International and Harvest Help, to assist with the food security crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the charity is tackling poverty in African countries by empowering local individuals to improve their own lives.
Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Self Help Africa spent 92% of their income on programs, 6.4% on raising funds, and 1.6% on governance.
“Investing in an economically thriving and resilient rural Africa.”
Self Help Africa
What they do: Self Help Africa financially supports small businesses run by local people in 9 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. They also link small-scale farmers with large corporate groups and markets to increase productivity and sales. In addition, they are helping vulnerable households adapt to climate change in Malawi through their DISCOVER initiative and are working to improve the outreach of vital financial services in Ethiopia.
What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, Self Help Africa has continued to empower individuals in the most remote regions of Africa. In 2020, the charity positively impacted 2.5 million people through 32 locally run projects. This has resulted in increased production for 275,741 households and improved access to financial services for 265,018 families. In the same year, the charity implemented 352,044 diversified farming systems across Africa to help locals deal with climate change.
Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Self Help Africa through their website. You can also assist the charity by supporting one of their campaigns or by joining one of their awareness events.
Frontline AIDS: Improving Access to AIDS Treatment
Frontline AIDS was founded in 1993 by Jeffery O’Malley to tackle the global AIDS crisis, especially in Africa where the disease is most prevalent. Today, the charity is dedicated to ensuring marginalized communities are given access to healthcare and AIDS treatments.
Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Frontline AIDS spent 98.4% of their income on charitable activities.
“A future free from AIDS for everyone, everywhere.”
What they do: Frontline AIDS supports communities that are often denied access to HIV services because of where they live or who they are. They particularly focus on the human rights of the LGBTQ+ community. They also develop AIDS prevention programs including the provision of condoms and clean syringes, and promote legal change to ensure everyone has access to healthcare.
What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, Frontline AIDS has remained committed to ensuring everyone has access to HIV prevention and treatments across Africa. In 2020, the charity provided 5.3 million people with HIV tests and gave 8.4 million people access to HIV prevention programs. In the same year, they also helped 9.1 million people receive sexual and reproductive health and rights services.
Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Frontline AIDS through their website. You can also support the charity by joining their AIDS Isn’t Over campaign or by raising money for their Rapid Response Fund.
InterCare: Providing Medical Aid for Africa
InterCare was founded in 1974 by Dr. David Rosenberg and Dr. Patricia O’Keefe because they were concerned about the severe lack of medical resources available in Africa. Today, the charity is tackling this issue by donating unused medical supplies from the UK.
Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, InterCare spent 89.3% of their income on charitable activities and 5.6% on raising funds.
“Reduce UK medical waste. Save lives in Africa.”
What they do: InterCare collects surplus medical goods from pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals in the UK. These are then shipped out to around 100 healthcare units in Sub-Saharan Africa, where they are needed most.
What they’ve achieved: To date, InterCare has sent $23 million worth of medical aid to Sub-Saharan Africa, which has benefited around 11 million people. In 2019, the charity dispatched 81 medical packages, weighing 9,485kg, to Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia.
Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to InterCare through their website. You can also support the charity by sending your unwanted items to InterCare to be recycled. This process raises funds for vulnerable communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Bread and Water for Africa: Improving Education Access for African Children
Bread and Water for Africa was founded in 2004 by Eugene Krizek to provide better healthcare and education prospects for African children. Today, the charity focuses their efforts on saving the most malnourished and vulnerable children in poverty-stricken countries across Africa.
Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Bread and Water for Africa spent 70.6% of their income on charitable activities and 29.3% on raising funds.
“To create better access to education, nutrition and healthcare for some of Africa’s most vulnerable children and their communities.”
Bread and Water for Africa
What they do: Bread and Water for Africa works with local organizations to fund schools, foster homes, and healthcare facilities across Africa. In Kenya, the charity financially supports the Lewa Children’s Home which has provided care and a first-class education to hundreds of vulnerable children. They also support the Kamili Organization which provides mental health support to children and adults across the country.
What they’ve achieved: To date, Bread and Water for Africa has helped put 6,581 African children through school and has assisted in finding loving homes for 2,440 orphans. In addition, the charity has provided over 2 million meals to malnourished African children and provided access to healthcare services for 750,950 people.
African Children’s Fund: Supporting Vulnerable Children in Africa
The African Children’s Fund was founded in 2006 by Dee and Peter Tyrer to support local initiatives that benefit poor and homeless African children. Today, the charity is committed to providing vulnerable African children with everything they need to stay in education and build bright futures for themselves.
Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, the African Children’s Fund spent 59.9% of their income on charitable programs and 5.4% on education, awareness, and fundraising.
“Making a difference to children born into poverty.”
African Children’s Fund
What they do: The African Children’s Fund works alongside other like-minded charities to improve access to education for vulnerable children in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. In Kenya, the charity runs Porridge Clubs to ensure all children are given nutritious meals at the start of the school day. In Tanzania, they have set up several primary schools and nurseries for disadvantaged local children and regularly distribute sanitary products to young girls in need.
What they’ve achieved: Today, the African Children’s Fund provides nutritious mugs of porridge to 2,217 children every day and provides 1,225 young girls with sanitary products every month. In addition, the charity has established 20 safe shelters for abused and neglected children and has supported the education of 3,200 children, including 160 SEN children.
WaterAid: Clean Water for Everyone
WaterAid was founded in 1981 by members of the UK water industry to tackle the global water crisis, particularly in underdeveloped countries such as Ethiopia. Today, the charity is a global organization dedicated to ensuring every individual has access to clean water and hygienic sanitation.
Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, WaterAid spent 33.4% of their income on delivering clean water services, 25.2% on fundraising, and 23.9% on sector strengthening and capacity building.
“We all need water, no matter who or where we are.”
What they do: WaterAid provides clean water services, decent toilets, and good hygiene to poor communities across Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. In Tanzania, the charity is working with local authorities to build hygienic toilet blocks and working taps in all rural primary schools. In Sierra Leone, WaterAid is working with local governments to ensure every community has a clean water system and is using town criers and radio broadcasters to promote the importance of good hygiene practices.
What they’ve achieved: To date, WaterAid has provided life-saving clean water and hygienic toilets to 29 million people across 28 countries. In 2020, the charity installed 641 water pumps and built 840,583 toilet facilities in healthcare facilities across 14 countries. After a 19 month long project, WaterAid finally managed to bring clean water facilities to 10,000 vulnerable people living in rural villages across Nigeria.
Farm Africa: Empowering Local Farmers
Farm Africa was founded in 1985 by Sir Michael Wood and David Campbell in response to the devastating famine in Ethiopia. Today, the charity is dedicated to empowering local farmers by helping them establish their own sustainable businesses.
Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Farm Africa spent 88% of their expenditure on charitable programs, 7.2% on support costs, and 4.8% on fundraising.
“A resilient rural Africa where people and the environment thrive.”
What they do: Farm Africa works to reduce poverty in Eastern Africa by helping local farmers develop and improve their own agricultural businesses. They do this by donating disease and drought-resistant crops, and livestock (particularly goats). They also provide legal assistance and improve access to large food markets. In addition, the charity has established local savings associations so business owners can apply for loans in times of crisis.
What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Farm Africa has remained dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable families across Eastern Africa. Through their Livestock for Livelihoods project, the charity has donated over 10,000 goats to women in Ethiopia and Uganda. This has resulted in household incomes doubling since 2018. In 2020, they supported 434 farmers to use modern beehives which tripled honey production and increased household income by 75%.
International Anti-Poaching Foundation: Ending Poaching in Africa
The International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) was founded in 2009 by Iraq war veteran Damien Mander after he was inspired by the work of rangers and the plight of local wildlife whilst traveling through Africa. Today, the charity is dedicated to protecting Africa’s wildlife by empowering local people.
Their impact and transparency ratings: The International Anti-Poaching Foundation holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 94% Encompass rating for finance and accountability from Charity Navigator.
“Bringing conservation and community together.”
International Anti-Poaching Foundation
What they do: The International Anti-Poaching Foundation supports local individuals to set up anti-poaching teams across Africa. They also deliver tailored training and mentoring programs to develop new wildlife crime-enforcement leaders through their globally renowned Lead Ranger initiative. In addition, the charity empowers local women to protect their own families by training them up to become members of Africa’s first armed, all-women anti-poaching unit – Akashinga.
What they’ve achieved: To date, the International Anti-Poaching Foundation has trained over 170 local women through their Akashinga program. They have also mentored 44 lead rangers that have supported and trained a further 1100 individuals. The charity now protects 1.1 million acres of wilderness which has resulted in an 80% decrease in poaching and a 350% increase in local wildlife populations.
Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the International Anti-Poaching Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by becoming a Wildlife Guardian. Alternatively, you can join one of their unique online experiences through their Own A Story initiative.
ActionAid: Protecting Women and Girls Worldwide
ActionAid was founded in 1972 by Cecil Jackson-Cole as a child sponsorship charity to provide help to vulnerable children living in India and Kenya. Today, the charity is an international human rights organization dedicated to helping women and girls living in poverty.
Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, ActionAid spent 76.1% of their income on charitable activities and 23.8% on fundraising.
“Changing the world with women and girls.”
What they do: ActionAid works with women and girls across Africa, Asia, and Latin America to challenge sexist violence and injustice. In South Africa, the charity is tackling the HIV/AIDS crisis by setting up information clubs in schools. They also protect vulnerable women from sexual violence through their Safe Cities for Women program. In addition, the charity has set up grain banks in Ghana to combat hunger and supports local COMBAT Squads to prevent violence against women.
What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, ActionAid has improved the rights of women in poor countries around the world, including in Africa. In 2020, the charity successfully reached 19,500 women in Rwanda, Ghana, and Bangladesh to help reduce the burdens of unpaid care work and helped 3,331 women in Ghana and Zimbabwe to improve their leadership skills. The charity also responded to 44 disaster events which directly benefited 11,120,000 people.
Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to ActionAid through their website. You can also support the charity by sponsoring a child in need or by purchasing a charity gift through their online store.
How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?
The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for Africa. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.
- Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
- Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission.
- Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
- Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
- Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
- Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place.
How Can You Best Support These Charities?
After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you.
Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:
- Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
- Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
- Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
- Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
- Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
- Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.
Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to Africa – based on the causes that matter most to you.
This article was written by Carla Shaik and published on Impactful Ninja