Africa is where the Heartbeat of ARK Started
For almost 30 years, ARK has played a unique part in bringing attention to the needs of African families affected by civil wars, generational poverty and HIV/AIDS – by working in partnerships with local communities.
ARK uses a participatory engagement approach in all our programs where members of the community participate from the start to implementation, to program evaluation and in finding lasting solutions so locals can use to keep the projects going when ARK pulls out. Locals learn how to identify and utilize their own resources effectively.
ARK partners with community and civic groups, organizations, donors and other stakeholders who assist us in accomplishing our mission goals.
ARK is a child-focused organization, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for Africa’s most vulnerable children, youth, women, and communities by partnering with them to learn strategies and skills to help themselves and others
Investing in evidence-based interventions where women have economic freedom, where children have access to education, where youth have opportunities for a meaningful livelihood and where communities define their own needs based on local priorities. This vision has been the key pillar for ARK’s strategy to reduce generational poverty
ARK journey started in 1986, amidst a civil war, when a Ugandan African youth advocate came up with the dream and an idea to mobilize villagers to find local resources to support war affected children to continue with their education.
Rhoi was determined to break the never-ending cycle of poverty that is passed down from generation to generation. Without any start-up funds, she embarked on a grassroots campaign educating villagers and anyone she could talk to, on the importance of children’s education. She raised small amounts of money to help pay school fees for war-affected children in Uganda. Her one-on-one crusade gave a voice to the youth and rural women inciting hope in every village that invited her to speak.
Relocation to the US – In the 80s the found relocated to the US. In 1988, ARK held its first fundraising event in Washington, DC to raise money for children in Uganda. At that time, ARK had not yet been registered as a nonprofit organization. The purpose was not only to continue to pay school fees for war affected children, but also to support those orphaned by AIDS.
Inaugural Milestone Event – In 1991, the ARK Foundation received its 501(c) 3 nonprofit status, during the time when Ugandan was known as the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. ARK was among the few organizations in Washington, DC to publicly campaign in support of African children affected by HIV/AIDS. We held house-to-house parties to raise money to support orphans and their caretakers. This was the year when ARK recruited its first board of directors.
First Grant – In 1992, we celebrated our first grant of $5,000 from the New England Biolabs Foundation to train families affected by AIDS in basic hygiene, community mobilization to fight HIV/AIDS and to support the construction of pit-latrines to prevent communicable diseases.
Going Regional – In 1995, ARK led a team of 12 individuals and its Board of Directors to visit villages in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to witness the devastation HIV/AIDS was waging on children, women and their families. Upon their return to the US, the board of directors voted to expand its services to the rest of East Africa.
Expanding Our Strategic Approach – ARK has evolved over the years, however, the mission has remained the same. Building on our successes and lessons learned from the field, we recognize the dynamics of Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) and their contribution to Africa’s social fabric. We focus on building partnerships with indigenous CBOs, with the goal of strengthening their internal capacity and service delivery.
ARK Foundation of Africa (ARK)
1002 Maryland Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Tel: 202-832-5420 or 202-820-7186