Why AEF?

Hewing stones of hope out of mountains of despair African Education Fund (AEF) is a 501(c)3 organization founded to raise funds to promote and support education in sub-Saharan Africa independent of the effort – or lack thereof – of African governments.Unfortunately many wars have been fought in this part of the world. War devastates schools and, in its aftermath, hobbles education. Just as important, all too often, in this region, corrupt and inept leaders neglect education and thereby imperil the future of their people. African Education Fund therefore seeks to compensate for and counteract the effect of this deficiency by attempting to fill the void left by acts of omission or commission in the sphere of education where such a void exists.

Some countries for instance get tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue annually. But this money disappears into the yawning black hole of official corruption of epic proportions underpinned by an ethos of consumption, greed and instant gratification; an ethos that subscribes to living for the here and now as if there will be no tomorrow. The pervasiveness and dominance of a culture of corruption and consumption on the part of the government and political class is starving the populace in these countries of the funds needed for development. Many leaders routinely steal public funds to build huge gaudy mansions and set up lavish accounts in foreign banks while school buildings crumble and the educationalenterprise atrophies.

May 2009: The ruins of one of 9 students’ hostel at GSSA: a legacy of war and neglect.

The magnitude of the problem is exemplified by the recent conviction and imprisonment of James Ibori, a former governor of Delta State, Nigeria. On April 17, 2012, In a London courtroom Mr. Ibori who had pleaded guilty weeks earlier to the theft of £50 million, was sentenced to 13 years in a British prison.

At his sentencing, Judge Anthony Pitts, told Southwark crown court in London: “In the light of other matters, perhaps that £50m is a ludicrously low figure and the figure may be in excess of £200m, it is difficult to tell. The confiscation proceedings may shed some further light on the enormity of the sums involved.” Thus Ibori may have stolen in excess of $300 million from the people of Delta State, Nigeria, when he was their governor! For each thief convicted, hundreds – perhaps thousands – escape prosecution. It has been estimated that in the past 30 years over $300 billion has been lost to official corruption and theft in Nigeria. According to the New York Times (6/9/2009), “The fight against corruption in Africa’s most pivotal nations is faltering as public agencies investigating wrongdoing by powerful politicians have been undermined or disbanded and officials leading the charge have been dismissed, subjected to death threats and driven into exile.”

November 2011: AEF GSSAAA to the Rescue: “Rebuild and Restore” underway.

Corruption or not, the education of children remains sacrosanct. It is a need with a “fierce urgency of now” immediacy that must not be hostage to the folly and warped priorities of bad leadership. It cannot be delayed however inauspicious or potentially remediable the circumstances. It must not wait until inept leaders get their act together and corrupt ones clean up their act – a process that may take years to accomplish. The AEF was founded by members of the Board of Trustees of Government Secondary School Afikpo Alumni Association (GSSAAA), an organization based in the United States (www.gssaaa.org). The impetus for its founding was the need to have a sturdier and more robust platform for fundraising to enable them to address their broader objective and extend the reach of their agenda which is to promote education, particularly secondary education, in sub-Saharan Africa, starting with places where previous wars have hobbled education.

February 2011: “Rebuild and Restore” nearing completion.

Salvaging the future of Sub-Saharan Africa one school at a time. Under the auspices of AEF’s parent organization, GSSAAA, we are already rebuilding GSSA, a boys’ high school in southeastern Nigeria, a region devastated by the Nigeria-Biafra war, in the aftermath of which there was no reconstruction. The AEF, the brainchild of the Board of Trustees of GSSAAA, will continue this effort on a larger scale by rebuilding more schools not only in south-eastern Nigeria (formerly Biafra) but also in other Sub-Saharan African countries including South Sudan.

“To whom much is given, much is expected” (Luke 12:48). No compensation for members of the Board of Directors It has been said that “every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and ends up as a racket” To avoid this seemingly inescapable pitfall of “every great cause”, and to ensure that all the money raised will go into education and that there is no appearance of impropriety, no member of the Board of Directors of AEF may receive any kind of compensation from the organization. We are all volunteers and we work pro bono. Our motivation is purely altruistic. We are successful professionals who subscribe to the biblical precept that “To whom much is given, much is expected”