WHY we care about what we do (and why you should too)

In a TED talk from 2009, Simon Sinek discusses how great leaders inspire action. Simon emphasizes that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” – in order to inspire action you should focus on communicating the reasons why you do work, not just what you do or how you do it.  With that idea in mind, our AIA staff has decided to share the reasons why we personally care so much about the work we do with Achieve in Africa in the hopes that perhaps we can inspire our readers to take up our cause as well.

Alyssa Snow (Co-founder/Vice President):

I am committed to the work of Achieve in Africa because I want to use my skills to help others. I believe that we’re all given talents and a short amount of time to use them, and that we should use them for the betterment of all people, not just ourselves. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunities I’ve been given – loving family and friends that support me, the opportunity to receive an education and the freedom to follow my passions. I want to do everything I can to help others to feel the same.

There is so much need in the world, and it’s hard to try to focus on one aspect to change or help above others. My hope is that by giving people the opportunity to learn and be educated, they can forge their path to make sustainable change. It’s the idea of “give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” The same can be said for healing the sick and preventing illness in the first place, or giving money compared to teaching someone a trade so they can make money. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll keep getting what we’ve always gotten. But if we get opportunities to learn or create new ways of doing things, that’s we can start making real change.

Sherrod Smith (Business Development Director):

I hold firmly that every individual deserves the opportunity pursue his/her goals in life. I believe that no person should feel that they are too inadequate to accomplish their dreams and that an individual’s economic background should not dictate whether or not he/she receives an adequate education. Achieve in Africa helps give youth in rural Tanzania, many from impoverished backgrounds, the resources and tools to pursue their goals. I find this aspect of working for AiA to be extremely gratifying.

In addition to helping individuals gain the tools to achieve their goals, AiA takes a very innovative approach in helping educate youth in rural Tanzania. I enjoy working with the members of AiA to discover new approaches to tackling the persistent issues that youth living in rural Tanzania encounter as they grow up. For instance, AiA is looking to help increase self-sustainability within the rural villages throughout Tanzania by featuring solar panels on top of the classrooms that we construct. Solar panels help decrease the cost of energy within the village thus reducing the cost of teaching the students. This is crucial as the income per households in many of the villages we work in is $90 – $100 per year. I believe AiA’s willingness to incorporate new methods of educating youth in rural Tanzania will ultimately allow the organization to make effective progress in the villages that we work in.

We will continue to post more responses in the future from other members of our AIA community, so be sure to keep checking the blog!