About our work

Want to be inspired? Just spend a few minutes with Pius Kamau, the founder of Africa America Higher Education Partnerships (AAHEP), and you will be struck by his quiet but committed drive to develop partnerships between African and American institutions of higher learning. Like so many others who became founding members of the AAHEP Board, I am inspired by him to join in this effort to open up advanced educational opportunities for African women. We are a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds drawn together by this simple and daunting mission.

To paraphrase a saying attributed to a 12 year old South African lad, Nkosi Johnson, when dying of AIDS: “Do what you can, with what you have, in the place where you are.” There are many things each one of us can choose to do to enhance global understanding, to improve the distribution of resources, and to make the world better for the next generation. I can think of no worthier cause than to assist women in Africa in attaining the highest levels of proficiency in their chosen field of study. Why? Because women “hold up half the sky” and women bring others along with them. They influence family systems, community systems and on up the ladder of social structures. Not every woman will become an Edith Sirleaf-Johnson (President of Liberia) or a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate like Wangaari Maathai from Kenya. However, investing in educating women and offering them opportunities for leadership development will surely lead to improved functions in all levels of society.

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My own interest is in connecting leadership development practices with the academic experiences AAHEP students will engage in. Having worked with many aspiring leaders in the world’s newest nation, The Republic of South Sudan, I am convinced that an essential part of partnering with African institutions and civil society structures is to address the issue of leadership.

Leadership is not just an inborn quality of charisma, it is a practice of living out one’s values, being transparent, and being able to utilize a set of skills and methods to strengthen the ability of others to achieve their goals. So AAHEP seeks to involve its partners and participants in building capacity in this very critical area.

I am excited about our work and invite you to join us.

Anita Sanborn
Colorado Episcopal Foundation

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