Africare: Early 1990s

“For almost twenty-five years, Africare’s members have fulfilled their humanitarian ideals by providing practical help to areas in need of emergency assistance or
long-term development aid. Africare has a vital role to play in the progress of the entire African continent, and I stand with you in your important work to bring relief, opportunity, and hope to those who so desperately need it.”

― William J. Clinton
President of the United States
1995

South Africa emerges from apartheid. Here, newly elected President Nelson Mandela greets supporters at the fall 2004 Africare Bishop Walker Dinner. (Photo: Gustave Assiri)

South Africa emerges from apartheid. Here, newly elected President Nelson Mandela greets supporters at the fall 2004 Africare Bishop Walker Dinner. (Photo: Gustave Assiri)

The "new South Africa." Secretary of State Colin L. Powell visits Africare-supported computer-training center in Soweto.

The “new South Africa.” Secretary of State Colin L. Powell visits Africare-supported computer-training center in Soweto.

Most of Africare’s effort during this period went toward food, water, environmental and health programs, especially in Africa’s rural areas. Child Survival programs expanded to five countries. Onchocerciasis (“river blindness”) control reached more than 800,000 people in Chad and Nigeria. HIV & AIDS assistance went to six countries. Food for Development programs improved food security in Burkina Faso and Guinea. In Egypt, Africare began a multiyear project to train young farmers and “make the desert bloom.”

Crises, too, abounded. Among them were the Rwandan genocide of 1994, related violence in Burundi, warfare in Somalia (and its government’s eventual collapse) and civil wars in Angola, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In all those situations, Africare provided rapid humanitarian aid.

Stateside, Africare’s nationwide African Development Education Program continued. In October 1990, the now-annual Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner was first held — honoring the life and work of Bishop Walker, Africare’s chairman for some 15 years, who passed away on Sept. 30, 1989. The Constituency for Africa, eventually an independent organization, was formed within Africare in 1991. The African Diplomatic Outreach Program began. And Africare launched its $20 million endowment campaign.

Both profound crisis and stunning achievement characterized the Africa of the early ’90s. Africare kept faith, as did its supporters and friends. “I profoundly believe in Africa,” declared President Nicephore Soglo of Benin, in remarks at the Africare Bishop Walker Dinner in 1994. “My firm belief is that this continent is in motion. The tragic setbacks due to the unfortunate internal conflicts in Somalia, Liberia and Rwanda certainly show that numerous obstacles remain to be overcome and that the battle of development has not been won. Those setbacks, however, will not alter the hope of numerous Africans who believe, and rightly so, that the future is for them.”

More Africare history

Early 1970s: “The task undertaken by Africare is immense”
Late 1970s: “Courage to stand firmly against great odds”
Early 1980s: “We need Africare to spread all over Africa”
Late 1980s: “A crucial threshold”
Early 1990s: “I profoundly believe in Africa”
Late 1990s: “The cusp of a new millennium”
Since 2000: “There are no Africare programs, only African programs” 

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