Africare News Release

 

Africare’s Kevin G. Lowther Retires

Longtime Southern Africa Regional Director and One of the Original "Architects" of Africare

CLICK HERE to read Lowther's chronicle of his life’s work as a pioneer in the field of international development (Monday Developments, April 2007).

WASHINGTON, DC, June 29, 2007 — The year was 1963. Fresh out of college and with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Kevin Lowther found himself searching for the next step. He felt a deep calling to work in Africa, but very few options existed for him to explore that calling.

"There was no career choice called 'international development,' " notes Kevin. "Foreign assistance programs were in their infancy. Only missionaries, a self-selected few, trained to be development workers."

Forty-four years later, on June 29, 2007, Kevin Lowther retired from one of the leading nonprofit organizations delivering development assistance to Africa: Africare. Since 1970, Africare has supported more than 2,000 programs and provided more than $675 million in support/assistance to the continent of Africa. And Kevin was there at the beginning. He was a member of the core group that laid the groundwork for the Africare we know today — although he would more modestly put it as just doing his part.

"When I think of Kevin I think of someone who is highly dedicated, hard working, a skillful administrator, and as someone who is willing to suppress his own ego for the common good of the organization," comments Africare President Julius E. Coles. "Not only is he one of Africare's architects, but also he has been one of the forces that has kept Africare a strong and vibrant force on the continent for more than 36 years."

Ask around the Africare office, and his colleagues will tell you much the same. They’ll tell you about a man who leads with quiet wisdom, selfless commitment and a deep passion for Africa. That passion first found expression in 1963, when Kevin entered the field of international development as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone. There, he worked as a world history teacher at the oldest secondary school in West Africa.

At Peace Corps headquarters in Washington D.C., Kevin went on to serve as Country Desk Officer for Southern Africa and later as Acting Chief of the East and Southern Africa Division. He spent several years — 1971 to 1978 —"away" from Africa as an Editorial Page Editor for the newspaper, The Keene Sentinel, in New Hampshire. And than, back to Africa from 1978 to 1983, where he served as Africare’s first Resident Representative in Zambia before taking a position in Washington, D.C., as Africare’s Southern Africa Regional Director: the position he held from 1984 until his recent retirement. In that role, Kevin oversaw more than 50 Africare-supported projects in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania. Years of work, all dedicated to the continent that first called him to service 44 years ago.

"When we began laying the groundwork in 1971, no one could possibly have dreamed what Africare would become, and what it would come to mean to people in every corner of Africa," said Kevin.

Just how much has that assistance contributed? In 2006 alone, Africare reached thousands of beneficiaries throughout some 25 countries in every major region of Sub-Saharan Africa, addressing major concerns through health and HIV/AIDS assistance, water resource development, food security and emergency humanitarian response.

Having reached a well deserved milestone, Kevin Lowther can now watch Africare — the organization he helped nurture for more than 36 years — continue to grow and reach thousands more on the continent that first called him into action.

 

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