Who are our partners?
As an organization, our partnerships are an asset to our programs and the impact they have on our students and community. AEP engages in three kinds of partnerships: partnerships with individuals, communities, and organizations.
Instead of viewing the time and money given to AEP by our donors and volunteers as one time contributions, we view this as as the formation of a partnership. Individuals are able to get involved with AEP on a truly meaningful level through written exchanges with our students, volunteer trips to Kafue to meet and work with our students, and daily insight into our work via social media. By creating this strong partnership, we seek to reciprocate the generosity of our donors and volunteers by giving them the gift of insight into the world of our students and their immense potential. This cycle of mutual giving creates an ever-strengthening international community.
The three major hubs of this international community are: our founding community on the Main Line, outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; our home community in Kafue, Zambia, the site of our education resource center; and Zambian Diaspora Community in the United States. As individuals become woven into the cloth of this community, together we create opportunities to further our mission,“To empower the youth of Zambia through education and leadership, to break the cycle of poverty in their communities.”
Partnerships with other nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations are the final piece of our partner work. AEP’s executive director, Julie-Anne Savarit-Cosenza explained that, “there are some other organizations in the area, but none take the holistic approach that we do with the youth. Some organizations focus specifically on HIV, some on providing uniforms to primary students, some on entrepreneurship.... but nobody is looking at the whole child or youth, looking comprehensively at her or his challenges and looking at how to best open doors for the students so that they can leverage their potential to the fullest and take their future into their own hands.” But this approach would not be possible without partnerships with other organizations who open doors for our students that AEP could not do alone.
Julie-Anne explained further, “In this line of work it is really important not to recreate the wheel and to learn from others, so we always seek to partner when it means providing a more meaningful opportunity for our students.” For example, recently, AEP partnered with local organization, Copper Rose Zambia to teach our young women how to make reusable pads.
A culminating example of every level of partnership was seen during our Life Skills and Leadership Camp. Individual volunteers from the U.S., France, and South Africa gave their time, parents and the local community came out to support the students during their end-of-camp showcase, and partner Copper Rose Zambia joined our Life-Skills sessions. Lumuno Chongo, manager of extracurricular activities and counseling for the AEP, described the event: “Thanks to all our different partners, in this camp, the kids got to learn about different cultures and different people, so it expands their view. They learn about leadership, how to act, how to sing, they have fun with people. Most kids come from very vulnerable homes, so to have this week is very important for our kids.”
Become an AEP partner today and together we can continue to offer our youth in Zambia multifaceted opportunities that were previously unavailable and changes lives.