Many CBOs (community-based organizations, including NGOs operating at the community level) in Africa are deeply rooted in the community and more closely connected with the local people and resources than other entities. However, these organizations oftentimes are not widely known as they function mainly at the community level, lacking the attention and support from the international community. Their great work is not commensurate with the recognition they have received.
The idea to establish AEN was incubated in 2016 when AEN’s founder, Dandan Chen, was still residing in Washington, D.C. In Washington, similar to other globalized cities in the world, there is a large number of young people interested in exploring development issues but often frustrated by the meagre opportunities to work with credible organizations doing essential work on the ground in the developing world.
Witnessing the lack of communication between the African CBOs and the international community, particularly international young people, AEN was born. With the support of professionals from the United States and a group of CBO leaders and volunteers in Uganda and Kenya, it seized the opportunity to bridge the communication gap and strengthen the connection between credible African CBOs and global talent via a unique educational approach. This approach integrates intercultural communication, organizational learning and a policy brief program.
Just like all the projects that aim high but must start small, AEN at this stage aims to collaborate with the CBOs only from two African countries: Uganda and Kenya. CBOs in other African countries are more than welcome to reach out and seek partnership with AEN, as AEN plans to work with CBOs from across Africa in the near future, but it would prefer to flesh out the work plan with them only when things get ready.
Specifics about AEN’s work, mission and development plan can be found in the following pages: