Mama Hope

I have been receiving a lot of questions about the organization I’m working with, Mama Hope, so I thought I would use this forum to let you all know more about it.

Mama Hope is a San Francisco based nonprofit focused on international development.  They currently have projects in Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.  It is a relatively small and sleek organization, started in 2006 by Nyla Rogers.  The actual story is amazing and their video tells it better than I ever could.

The mission is fairly straightforward: to connect African communities and organizations to the resources they need so they can help themselves.

There is a whole field of study regarding methods of international development and their relative effectiveness.  Opinions on the subject abound in books like Half the Sky and The White Man’s Burden, two of the most popular publications on the topic recently.  A lot of the criticism comes down to a matter of sustainability.

Sustainability is actually the reason I like Mama Hope’s programs so much.  Their approach involves first listening to what a community needs before finding a method to approach it.  It seems like too many other organizations take almost a parenting role, deciding what is best for a country.  You only have to look at the abandoned fish factory in the Turkana region of Kenya to find proof that this approach does not work.

I will whole-heartedly admit to being biased, given that Mama Hope was the reason I learned so much about international development in the first place and now I am in their First Fifth program, but the success of their projects really speaks for itself.


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