Ashinaga Africa Initiative: Our mission and purpose
The Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) is an international leadership program that cultivates the next generation of leaders to contribute to the development of sub-Saharan Africa.
AAI Scholars have lost one or both parents and are committed to returning to sub-Saharan Africa to initiate change, innovation, and development. The AAI provides financial support for international university degrees, along with leadership training and support to develop Scholars into compassionate change-makers.
Ashinaga USA launched the concept behind the AAI by supporting three Ugandan students at Ashinaga Study Camp in Uganda back in 2013 to find scholarships and attend universities in the US. Since supporting these three “pioneers”, we have implemented programming that has been adopted by other AAI offices. We now support 21 AAI scholars in the US, at universities such as Northwestern University, University of Richmond, and Union College.
The Ashinaga USA Pilot Program
In the face of AAI’s growth in staff members and budget requirements, Ashinaga USA launched the US Pilot Program in 2020, aimed to:
- Simplify internal operations such as workflows and task allocation to minimize administrative work and prioritize tasks directly related to the AAI mission.
- Foster and maintain a relationship between Ashinaga USA and scholars that promotes independence, self-advocacy and initiative as opposed to one of dependence.
The US Pilot program aims to monitor the Scholars’ academic progress and support them when difficulties arise. Simultaneously, the pilot program aims to foster scholars’ skills and self-management in preparing for their professional development during university and beyond.
The Program Director will have 3+ years of work experience that is pertinent to the requirements of the job, will be proficient in Excel, Google Forms applications and Asana (or equivalent task management program). The Program Director will preferably have a graduate degree.
Program Director Position
The Ashinaga USA Program Director will be expected to take the initiative to find innovative ways to complete the responsibilities of the job description, within the parameters and philosophy of the US Pilot program. Graduate degrees are not required but a plus in candidates.
Scholar Programming & Support Responsibilities
- Oversee planning and implementation of annual (or bi-annual) leadership/reunion camps (“Tsudoi”) of the Ashinaga Scholars who are studying in the US. These gatherings can be remote and/or in-person.
- Organize activities based on an annual theme agreed upon with Director.
- Organize dates and lodging, connect Scholars with travel agent for booking of transportation.
- Manage all logistical details including communication and confirmation with venues, external speakers, lodging, food vendors, etc.
- Document all processes in detail in Asana.
- Complete all necessary financial reporting on expenses.
- Oversee planning and implementation of the Personal Portfolio project within the US Pilot Program. The Personal Portfolio is a “journal” kept on an excel document by each Scholar where they update their extra-curricular activities throughout college.
- Manage technical logistics of the portfolio, including Excel updates and integration with Insightly as needed. Insightly is the Scholar information database for all AAI Scholars, and the Personal Portfolio is set up to allow for exporting pertinent information to Insightly.
- Execute a plan of implementation to incoming scholars for portfolio use throughout scholars’ undergraduate studies.
- Collect scholar data from Personal Portfolio for monthly reporting and other data collection/assessment.
- Liaise with HQ and scholars as needed to ensure successful progress of personal portfolio.
- Assist Director and US Program Coordinator (this latter position is based in Uganda) in the planning and implementation of scholar curricula and programming throughout the year, including:
- Prep Year for US-bound candidates (study camp, between camps, preparation camp). Prep Year is a combination of preparatory study camps that are held the year before the student arrives to the US university. It starts in July of the year before university attendance. We support our scholars in their application to US universities, monitor their SAT tutoring program, and offer academic enhancement activities in math, English, US History, academic research methods etc. throughout that year.
- Plan scholars’ orientation upon scholars’ arrival to the U.S. before university start.
- Any other scholar programming or community events throughout the year.
- Assist Director in Ashinaga Proposal tasks. The Ashinaga Proposal is a research project that each Scholar embarks on, with the support of outside sources like university faculty/mentors, throughout the 4 years of university. It is meant to address an issue/concern in Africa and to be inspired by each scholar’s “Kokorozashi” or inner-passion and life-purpose.
- Assist Director in any other necessary student relation tasks.
- Liaise with HQ team responsible for Scholar’s Professional Development and Training (HQ-PND team)
- Design and update google forms used by US office for PND purposes.
- Review scholars' internship forms and grant requests. Consult with Senior Advisor on approval decisions as needed.
- Address professional training coaching requests and consult with HQ and/or Senior Advisor as needed.
- Responsible for monitoring Ashinaga Connect activity. Ashinaga Connect is an online platform used by all AAI Scholars to receive information about programming and important announcements. It is also where information on professional development opportunities are posted. The US Office uses Ashinaga Connect to inform our Scholars of new developments and opportunities rather than email. The Program Director will be responsible for communication with Scholars, assessment on their use of the platform, design ways to improve the value of Ashinaga Connect for our Scholars.
- Represent US Pilot program in PND-HQ meetings and consult with Senior Advisor/ Director when decisions are made that will affect the US Pilot program.
- Responsible for reporting the organization's activities (monthly Asana excel and one pager, update annual report template, internal reports as needed)
- Perform quality, monthly maintenance/updates on the Ashinaga USA website and Facebook page to ensure accuracy of information and professional image to the public.
- Send a bi-monthly social media update to HQ media team to contribute to the Ashinaga Foundation public Facebook page.
- Regularly refer to Ashinaga Foundation branding guide for all outreach and liaise with HQ as necessary for brand standardization.
- Manage the Ashinaga USA Google Account, including the company email address for public queries.
- Other duties as assigned by the Senior Advisor.
- Responsible for all accounting and finance processes involved in US office operations.
- Manage the Ashinaga USA Google Account’s Google forms for scholars and staff.
- Oversee tuition payment process including communicating with scholars and accountants/HQ every semester/term and managing all data on the Ashinaga USA Google account.
- Oversee bi-annual and annual disbursements to scholars in partnership with Accountants/HQ as needed.
- Collect Google Forms information to convey to Accountant/HQ as needed.
- Manage any other payment forms as needed including miscellaneous scholar funding, Ashinaga USA events, or other costs that may arise.
- Manage all contracts, billing, and communication with external vendors involved in US office operations including WeWork, Zoom, Asana, Chronicles of Higher Education, Altour, PayPal, etc.
- Brainstorm and implement process improvement/workflow efficiency initiatives through various innovative tools/technology on an as needed basis.
- Any other tasks pertinent to the office, as assigned by the President.