Photo Credit: Samara Private Game Reserve

Thanks to the generosity and support of our donors, board of trustees and advisory committee, Empowers Africa was able to make 25 grants to the 23 organizations listed below. 
To see a more detailed description of these grants, please click on the foundation names below. 
More About Our Recent Grants!
Empowers Africa made a total of 25 grants to 23 foundations since the beginning of 2015. We have highlighted three of these grants below so you can see the kind of work we are supporting. To learn more about the other grants, please visit our projects we support page on our website.  

Helping Farmers & Saving Cheetahs - Cheetah Conservation Fund 
Photo Credit: John Bowers
The Cheetah Conservation Fund ("CCF") was founded in 1990 and is a global leader in research and the conservation of cheetahs. The foundation's mission is to be the internationally recognized center of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems. The cheetah is currently listed on the IUCN's Red List as a vulnerable species. Since the 1990s, the dwindling number of cheetahs has been revitalized from less than 3,000 to more than 3,500 now, through the Cheetah Conservation Fund.


Empowers Africa made a grant to the Cheetah Conservation Foundation for its Livestock Guarding Dog Program, which targets reducing the human-wildlife conflict in Namibia. Approximately 90 percent of all cheetahs live outside of protected areas and, therefore, among human populations. Namibia has many farmers, and the loss of even one of their livestock can be a devastating financial blow.


CCF's Livestock Guarding Dog Program is highly effective at reducing predation rates and, thereby, decreasing the incidence of the shooting and trapping of cheetahs. CCF has been placing dogs with farmers since 1994 and research shows this program has reduced the death of livestock from all predators by more than 80 percent, and sometimes by 100 percent.  Each farmer adopts a dog and CCF teaches them how to train the dog and performs follow-up site visits to ensure the dog has proper training and medical care care, and that it is settling into its guardian role. Farmers have enthusiastically embraced the program. CCF placed nearly 500 dogs by the end of 2013.

Please click here to view the full album.
Photo Credit Left to Right and Top to Bottom: CCF; Borne to Explore; Empowers Africa; Empowers Africa; Jenna Brager; Andrew Harrington
Protecting Elephants - Big Life Foundation     
Photo Credit: Big Life Foundation

With an emphasis on preventing poaching, Big Life Foundation was founded to conserve the wildlife and the lands of East Africa. As the only organization operating on both sides of the Kenya/Tanzania border, Big Life's teams are in a unique position to coordinate the pursuit of poachers who previously have escaped arrest. The foundation recognizes that sustainable conservation can only be achieved through a community-based collaborative approach. Big Life strives to improve the quality of life for the resident Maasai people and as such employs nearly 300 local Maasai, making it the largest single employer in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem. 


We are happy to report that in the vast two-million-acre ecosystem that Big Life protects, only four elephants were lost to poaching and another seven to human conflict in 2014. Of the 11 elephants Big Life has seen die, all of the tusks have been recovered, thus keeping this ivory out of the ivory chain.


Empowers Africa is very proud to have made a grant to Big Life Foundation to fund the salaries of rangers who make up special forces protecting wildlife in Kenya and Tanzania. We are moved by their efforts and the impact they are making in Africa!


To see more photos, please click here.

Photo Credit: Big Life Foundation

Improving Access to Healthcare - LEWA Conservancy     
Photo Credit: DC Wagner

LEWA Wildlife Conservancy is a catalyst and model for community conservation.  Its 61,000-acre refuge for rhino and elephant protection in Northern Kenya is one of the largest conservancies in all of Africa. LEWA manages programs in the following areas: healthcare, education, sustainable agriculture, grazing and forestry initiatives, women's micro-credit programs and sustainable water usage initiatives. LEWA employs more than 300 employees in Kenya. In addition, over 60,000 people in LEWA's neighboring areas are positively affected by the organization's work. 


Empowers Africa made a grant to support the operation of LEWA's mobile clinic to assist further in providing healthcare to people in remote areas.  LEWA operates a mobile health clinic that works in conjunction with its four medical clinics in various rural communities. The mobile clinic provides medical assistance to more than 2,000 people living in remote and inaccessible areas around LEWA. The four medical clinics served approximately 30,000 in 2014 alone, and shoulder 90 percent of the healthcare and medical needs in the area. Services offered by the mobile clinic include health education, family planning, and treatment of ailments, immunization and nutrition checks.

We are delighted to be supporting LEWA in providing healthcare to the people of Africa!


To see more photos please click here. 

Photo Credit Left to Right and Top to Bottom: Kate Spencer; Martin Harvey; Lewa House


Empowers Africa trustees and advisory committee members recently had the opportunity to visit Ethiopia. The itinerary included visits to Addis Ababa, the Simien Mountains, Lalibela, the Omo Valley and the Bale Mountains. Please click here to see the full album of photos, or see below for the highlights of their visit. 
1. Simien Mountains
Photo Credit: Greg Lederle
The Simien Mountains are located in northern Ethiopia and are part of the Ethiopian Highlands. They are a World Heritage Site and include the Simien Mountains National Park. These picturesque mountains consist of plateaux separated by valleys and rising to pinnacles, the tallest of which is called Ras Dashen, which reaches 14,927 feet. 


The Simien Mountains are home to the majestic Gelada monkeys. Isolated high upon the meadows of the Simien Mountains, is this unique and intriguing species. In large herds, they spend the days grazing on the grasslands, communicating with one another in various falsettos and roaming the rocky ledges to which they have adapted. The Geladas are the last remaining descendants of ancient terrestrial monkeys and are a notable part of the wildlife community. 


The area will soon have a new lodge financed by African Wildlife Foundation's African Wildlife Capital ("AWC"). This lodge is one of AWC's projects that is aimed at building world-class ecotourism lodges throughout Africa while at the same time protecting wildlife, conserving land and empowering people.  


Empowers Africa Trustees have traveled all over Africa, and this was one of the most incredible wildlife adventures they have ever experienced!


Please click here for the full album of their visit to the Simien Mountains.


2. Adisge Primary School, Simien Mountains

African Wildlife Foundation, as part of its African Conservation Schools (ASC) program, is rebuilding a primary school in the Simien Mountains. The new school will include eight classrooms, new bathrooms, teachers' accommodations, a library and a kitchen. The existing primary school (Adisge Primary) can currently accommodate grades 1 to 6 and approximately 400 students. The school nearest to this area is 15 miles away in very challenging terrain that is particularly dangerous for girls. The new school will accommodate grades 1 to 8 and a much larger student body - adding grades 7 and 8 will greatly improve access to education. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2015.



Empowers Africa is making a grant to African Wildlife Foundation to supply 71 e-readers (Kindles) to the students at Adisge Primary. The e-readers are manufactured by Worldreader-a company that is working across Africa to provide schools with a "library in a box." The e-readers will be preloaded with 100 books each. Books are selected based on the age of the students, and are relevant to the Africa setting. ACS will work with Worldreader to digitize Ethiopian textbooks to have preloaded
on the e-readers. With e-readers, students will now have access to a full suite of material that includes fiction/non fiction books, textbooks and conservation resources. Covers, lights, and teacher manuals will also be included in the e-reader package, as well as options to buy additional content at $1 for two titles (one African and one international).


In addition to the e-readers, Worldreader offers low-cost energy solutions to power the e-readers. The Empowers Africa grant will also cover the cost to purchase a solar power package and charging station. This includes 50-watt solar panels and 174AH batteries; a USB hub that allows 10 e-readers to be powered at a time; LED lighting to allow study during the evening; and adaptors for charging mobile phones.


We are very proud to be working with AWF and ASC to provide education to rural children of Africa!


To view to full album of our visit to the school, click here

3. Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital - Healing Hands of Joy  
Healing Hands of Joy ("HHOJ") is a nonprofit organization that exists to bring hope, happiness and a second chance to women affected by obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. The foundation works in conjunction with the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital at its five regional centers. The Addis Ababa hospital was formed in 1974 and has since treated more than 43,000 women with obstetric fistulas. The five regional centers treat more than 3,000 cases per year.
HHOJ trains survivors as Safe Motherhood Ambassadors, empowering these women to bring knowledge back to their communities regarding this preventable and curable medical condition. HHOJ also provides survivors with education and economic empowerment by way of training and microlending so these women can find sustainable employment after their surgery and recovery. Their mission is to empower and educate women and their communities in preventing obstetric fistula. HHOJ has responded diligently to the rising number of women affected by obstetric fistula and continues to be a leader in this field. 
Empowers Africa made two grants to HHOJ that will assist the foundation in expanding its operations by opening two additional rehabilitation centers in Ethiopia. One center will be in Bahir Dar and the other will be in Yirgalem. The grant for the Bahir Dar Center will cover operational costs, such as rent, water, electricity, support staff and transportation.


The grant for the center in Yirgalem will help recovering patients establish viable income-generating sources after rehabilitation through microlending and training. The grant will fund microloans to 80 women and will provide for continued education and refresher training workshops and follow-up in the field to monitor the loans/businesses.


Please click here to view more photos of their visit. 

4. Church of Lalibela     

In a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia, some 645 km from Addis Ababa, 11 medieval monolithic churches were carved out of rock. Their building is attributed to King Lalibela - of the same name as the region, who set out to construct a "New Jerusalem" in the 12th century, after Muslim conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Lalibela flourished after the decline of the Aksum Empire. 

Lalibela is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is often referred to as "the eighth wonder of the world."


Each church was carved from a single piece of rock to symbolize spirituality and humility. Christian faith inspires many features  with biblical names even Lalibela's river is known as the River Jordan. Lalibela remained the capital of Ethiopia from the late 12th into the 13th century. After 23 years, King Lalibela completed these ancient marvels that are still being used today.


To view the full album, please



5. Bale Mountains National Park
Bale Mountains National Park contains a spectacularly diverse landscape - the high-altitude, afro-montane Sanetti Plateau rises to over 13,000 feet and includes the highest peak in the southern Ethiopia highlands. This plateau is marked by numerous glacial lakes, and is surrounded by higher volcanic ridges and peaks. The southern slopes are blanketed by the lush and largely unexplored Harenna Forest.
The park's amazing mix of habitats supports a myriad of rare species, many endemic to Ethiopia and some found only within the park. Sixty percent of the remaining Ethiopian wolves, the world's most rare canid, are found within the park; other species include the endemic Mountain Nyala, Menelik's Bushbuck, various rodent species and numerous endemic amphibians and reptiles, plus lions, rare giant forest hogs and significant numbers of endemic and rare bird species. 
The area boasts a new lodge called the Bale Mountains Lodge that was financed by African Wildlife Foundation's African Wildlife Capital ("AWC"). The lodge is one of their projects that is aimed at building world-class ecotourism lodges throughout Africa while at the same time protecting wildlife, conserving land and empowering people.

Please click here to see the full album.

6. Omo Valley    
Ethiopia's Omo River Valley has been called one of the greatest tribal lands left in the world, as it is home to the rich cultural villages of the Hamar Koke, Karo (or Kara), Mursi and Nygantatom (Bume) tribes. The Hamar Koke tribe consists of many clans, each with its own rules and taboos resulting from extreme superstitions. The Karo tribe is lively and creative, with symbolism and art abundant in its rituals. The Nygantatom tribe inhabits the west bank of the Omo River as cattle herders, crop harvesters and honey gatherers. The Mursi are Nilotic pastoralists who are often identified as the tribe who wear large lip plates.
There is no place on earth left like the Omo Valley. Traveling to this remote corner of the world is a unique experience that our Empowers Africa Trustees will never forget.
Click here to view the full album of their visit.

Empowers Africa Held an Annual Event at The Explorer's Club on April 23rd

Empowers Africa 
held its annual gala dinner at The Explorers Club in New York City on April 23, 2015. The event raised over $150,000 for human empowerment and wildlife protection in Africa. 


Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Richard Wiese, host and producer of the ABC series "Born to Explore."  The auctioneer was Eliza Osborne, executive director at the Centre Pompidou Foundation. The auction consisted of prints by Firooz Zahedi and Andy Biggs, and exotic trips to Botswana, Uganda, South Africa, Rwanda, Chad and Zimbabwe. 


The organization honored Global Witness and its co-founding directors Patrick Alley, Charmian Gooch and Simon Taylor - winners of the 2014 Ted Prize and the 2014 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Their work includes investigating and documenting environmental crimes depicted in the 2006 blockbuster Blood Diamond and the 2015 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature Virunga. All of the proceeds from the event will be granted to wildlife protection and human empowerment projects in Africa. 


Please click here for the entire album of pictures from the event.


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