Lufingo Ward Completes Five-Year Sustainable Development Program

Exciting news! Lufingo Ward has completed the Africa Bridge five-year sustainable development program!

Our program aims to help vulnerable children and their villages overcome dire poverty by developing and implementing sustainable, volunteer-based social service and economic development solutions. The unique five-year program partners with villagers beginning with a Future Search process to identify the most vulnerable children and develop care plans for them, establish farm co-ops to produce household income, and deliver training that advances the future of the entire community. This model builds community self-sufficiency.


Lufingo Ward community members, government officials, Africa Bridge Board member and staff. 

In 2013, Africa Bridge started services in the Lufingo Ward which is comprised of seven villages – Lugombo, Iponjola, Ilalabwe, Kalalo, Kagwina, Simike, and Itete. After conducting our community assessment surveys, well-being and the transect walk, the community needs were clear. The most pressing needs brought up by the community members were:


  • Child and household vulnerability due to poverty and HIV/AIDS,
  • Subsistence farming due to lack of capital, modern inputs and technical knowledge,
  • Barriers to school attendance due to poverty, weak village institutions, leadership and resources.


We had our work cut out for us. To address these issues, Africa Bridge implemented sustainable support services for the Most Vulnerable Children (MVCs), farm cooperatives to empower economic stability, and community capacity enhancement through farm cooperatives, education grants, training and mentoring. Some successes of the program include the cow co-op, which provides sustenance, economic independence, and social capital.

Lufingo children dancing proudly in their school uniforms at the graduation ceremony. 


In Lufingo we focused on the children through our Community Cares Clubs. We listened to the children, their guardians and village leaders to develop and implement community-based, sustainable social service and economic solutions that alleviate poverty and achieve lasting change. The program was rooted in local values, engaging games, and lessons for the children each month. We were able to serve 1,362 children over the five years addressing concerns of poverty, education inequities, and social insecurities, and positive health practices. Each of those children were provided school uniforms, exercise books, shoes, books, pens, pencils and rulers to help with their education. Africa Bridge staff also involved the most vulnerable children’s guardians in committee meetings learning how to best support their children. These committees gave women increased access to leadership opportunities within the community!

Another way Africa Bridge supported the most vulnerable children’s households was through farming co-ops. The avocado co-op has flourished as well, 14,000 seedlings were delivered to 140 Most Vulnerable Children’s households and 9,892 avocado trees flourished. Avocado growers in Lufingo are now managing credit and savings groups and are practicing internal lending. All avocado growers have been trained on the general management of avocado trees, including pruning, controlling insects, taking care of flowers and fruits and applying fertilizers.

In addition to the avocado co-ops, the cow co-op boasted 248 members at the end of 2017.  Within one year 47 calves were born co-op members, then gifted to new cow co-op members to begin their farming cooperative. Chicken co-ops were also successfully implemented, with 267 chickens born in just one year!  All co-op members attended monthly agricultural trainings, economic trainings, and mentoring trainings with Africa Bridge staff and community partners. This co-op program helped empower the most vulnerable children’s guardians, families and villages to achieve and sustain economic independence. Leading to more stable income, allowing for children to stay in school longer.


Lufingo Graduation attendees on June 12, 2018 in the center of the Ward at Kalalo village. 


Over the five years of service in the Lufingo Ward 2,182 1,362 (children + 820 guardians) people were positively impacted by Africa Bridge! After the five years we now know more households have sustainable incomes, more children are attending primary school, families are eating more than one meal per day, and less children are sleeping on dirt floors!


Pregnant Cows Provide Hope In Kisondela

Africa Bridge has partnered with Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB) to conducted pregnancy tests on cows. Africa Bridge staff and WOB staff traveled to all six villages in the Kisondela Ward – Mpuga, Ndubi, Lutete, Kibatata, Bugoba, Isuba – to assess Farming Co-Op members cows. By performing these tests, the staff will be able to determine the date of conception, the age of the pregnancy, and the calving dates of pregnant cows. This information helps staff members to do the following:

  • Enable an accurate feed budgeting for dry period and calving,
  • Know when to bring cows back from runoffs before calving,
  • Match dry-off dates to body condition score (BCS) and expected calving date,
  • Detect reproductive diseases early on.


Africa Bridge staff reported 64% of the forty-two cows tested are in fact pregnant! A fertile, healthy cow provides a myriad of support to vulnerable families. One cow alone can produce eight gallons of milk each day, which has the potential to provides 128 glasses of milk. This means that, in total, all of the pregnant cows in the Kisondela Ward could provide 336 gallons of milk each day, and 5,376 glasses of milk each day!


In addition to providing milk, cows are a social capital booster, helping families work towards economic independence as they use the cows to generate income. Cows provide the hope for a brighter, healthier future and will have a great impact on the Kisondela Ward!


Noel Conducting pregnancy test at Lutete Village.

                        Megan (VWB) facilitating training of care of Calf at Isuba Village.

Donate In Honor of Dad

Fathers around the world provide for their families. Fathers help to instill beliefs and discipline, serve as role models, provide guidance, and offer financial and emotional support. Today, Tanzanian fathers and grandfathers alike are doing just that!

For example, Joseph Martin is 37 years old and lives in Kisondela ward in Tanzania with his wife Fele Katani Kyamba. They care for two vulnerable children, John and Elmeda. Joseph is a smallholder farmer and sells maize, groundnuts, and sweet potatoes to provide for the family including to pay for the costs to send his children to school. When you make $1 or $2 a day, the annual $35 cost for uniforms and books is a huge commitment. Prior to Africa Bridge’s farming co-op program, he wasn’t always able to earn enough to do this.

“Before joining the Africa Bridge project, my family was in a very poor status. Eating only one meal a day and some days we went to bed without eating any food. I could not manage to pay for the education needs for my children.”

Joseph has been a participant in the Africa Bridge farming co-op for two years. Through your donations, he now has a cow that is producing milk and fertilizer, and is also raising a young calf. Joseph is busy teaching his family how to properly take care of their cows, fertilize and maintain their farm, and sell produce. With the additional help and support from Africa Bridge, Joseph’s family is able to afford basic health care, and have proper uniforms and books so that John and Elmeda can attend school regularly.

By donating to Africa Bridge, you can support fathers like Joseph Martin in their effort to raise vulnerable children in Tanzanian villages.  Please give in honor of your father to help a child become part of a family, to learn and grow.

In Community,

Sharon Brabenac
Executive Director
Africa Bridge

Africa Bridge & Fred Meyer Community Rewards

Africa Bridge is a part of Fred Meyer Community Rewards program. Each time you shop you can help us recieve a donation from Fred Meyer. To start donating follow the easy steps below:

Step 1: Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Africa Bridge at

Step 2: You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number 83387.

Step 3: Each time you shop use your Fred Meyer Rewards Card and Africa Bridge will earn a donation!

Thanks for helping us earn donations by shopping locally!

For more information on how to set up your rewards see the image below, or contact us at


Africa Bridge In Compliance With GDPR

As an international nongovernmental organization, Africa Bridge is committed to data security and privacy. On May 25, 2018, the European Union is implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to enhance the protection of the personal data of EU citizens and increase the obligations on organizations that collect or process personal data.

Africa Bridge stores donor data internally to track donor giving, communication preferences, and giving history. All donor information is stored privately for internal processing only. Donor e-mail addresses are shared with two outside parties to send Africa Bridge communications, MailChimp and SurveyMonkey. Africa Bridge is aware of the sensitivity of personal information and we assure you that we are GDPR compliant.

For more about GDPR and how Africa Bridge is helping you keep personal data protected contact Africa Bridge staff at or call us at 503-699-6162. 

Save The Date 10.6.2018


A Toast To Tanzania will take place on Saturday, October 6, 2018  from 5:30 – 9:00 PM at the Multnomah Athletic Club. Our theme this year is “Brighter Futures For All”.  Join us in supporting our local and international communities, providing brighter futures for all. This will be our largest fundraiser for the year, providing attendees with an opportunity to raise money for our programs in Tanzania. Last year more than 200 guests attended this event, and we hope to extend our reach this year. Don’t miss out on this wonderful event!

Interested in sponorship opportunities click here: Africa Bridge Sponsorship Packet.

More detailed information regarding tickets, menu, and live auction packages to come soon.

Africa Bridge Appoints New Executive Director


Sharon Brabenac will lead organization following positions with Guide Dogs for the Blind and YMCA Columbia-Willamette

PORTLAND, Oregon — April 18, 2018 — Africa Bridge today announced that Sharon Brabenac has been appointed as the new executive director for the organization. Ms. Brabenac previously held senior development positions for several non-profit organizations, including Guide Dogs for the Blind, March of Dimes, Marylhurst University, and YMCA Columbia-Willamette.

Africa Bridge implements a unique model of sustainable development in rural Tanzania. The program assists vulnerable children and helps entire villages escape crushing poverty. The Africa Bridge program has proven successful in 37 Tanzanian villages, breaking the poverty cycle for thousands and bringing hope to a region that is among the poorest in the world.

“I’m excited to join Africa Bridge and lead the organization in its commitment to realizing the potential of vulnerable children and their communities,” said Ms. Brabenac. “The challenges for this population are significant, starting with pervasive poverty and a semi-literate population. The work performed by Africa Bridge has already been proven successful and I look forward to growing the organization and extending our work.”

The villages where Africa Bridge works are very remote from the country’s coastal commercial center in Dar es Salaam or tourist areas near Arusha and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Villages and subsistence farms are widely scattered and separated by deep ravines and flood-prone streams. Roads are unpaved, and electricity and piped water are rare. There is virtually no industry and little that could be considered commercial activity. In addition, Tanzania has one of the highest rates in the world for HIV/AIDS infection and most people have little or no access to healthcare. In many villages, roughly 30 percent of the children are considered vulnerable according to Tanzania government definition.

“We’re thrilled that Sharon is joining Africa Bridge as our new executive director,” said Katie Wire, Africa Bridge board chair. “Sharon has extensive experience with non-profit development and management. Importantly, she also has a long-standing interest in East Africa and has visited the region many times, gaining familiarity with the setting and unique challenges. With Sharon’s leadership, we look forward to growing the organization and extending our impact to more vulnerable children and their villages.”

Escaping the engrained cycle of poverty is difficult. Fortunately, a little bit of money and know-how appropriately applied goes a long way. Africa Bridge provides very little direct aid. Instead, the organization teaches the villagers to help themselves. This is achieved by providing start-up capital to support committees and agricultural co-ops, but mostly through extensive training. Some of this is basic farming, some is business management, and some is entrepreneurial. Africa Bridge also delivers support and training in care-taking and social services, as well as access to education.

About Africa Bridge

Africa Bridge is a nonprofit, rural economic development organization that creates sustainable improvement in vulnerable children’s lives by providing start-up capital, education, and training resources to families. Africa Bridge is currently working in 16 villages in Tanzania. Utilizing a holistic, integrated development model, our self-sustaining programs have improved the lives of thousands of children and their families, and helped lift 37 villages out of the poverty cycle. See for more information or to donate. Become a follower of Africa Bridge on Facebook.










2017 Africa Bridge Annual Report

Africa Bridge stayed busy in 2017. Check out our Annual Report:  Annual Report FINAL 4-16-18

To catch you up to speed a little bit, we expanded Africa Bridge’s reach last year; partnering in the fall with three villages in Kambasegela Ward. In the first quarter alone, we reached 985 vulnerable children and their families to begin planning for the ward’s future and to establish leadership committees that will guide the program’s implementation.

Lufingo Ward closed out the year by beginning its final steps toward completion of our sustainable development program. While the official graduation will take place this summer, co-op membership steadily expanded in 2017 to change the economic outlook for more families. With hundreds of chicks and nearly 50 calves born last year, signs point toward continued co-op membership growth, improved household nutrition, and new family income. You helped create these important changes and we look forward to sharing the celebration with you.

Lastly, we grew the professional staff in Tanzania and moved into an improved office space. In the U.S., we recently welcomed a new executive director, Sharon Brabenac, who is partnering with Program Director Fred Urembo and the board of directors to pursue Africa Bridge’s next level of strategic growth. 2018 is off to a great start with a strong team working to make a lasting difference in vulnerable children’s lives.

We still have quite a lot of work to do, and we couldn’t do any of it without you. Thank you for your continued advocacy, belief in, and support of Africa Bridge.