Africa Volunteer Corps (New York, NY)


  • Name:Ms. Caitlin Kelley
  • Title:Executive Director


  • Organization Name:Africa Volunteer Corps
  • Address:c/o Centre for Social Innovation
    601 West 26th Street, Suite 325
    New York, NY 10001
    New York
    United States

Work Phone

  • Main phone:(212) 252-2139

Work Web

User Web and Email



  • Mission:
  • The mission of Africa Volunteer Corps (AVC) is to nurture a generation of African leaders dedicated to strengthening homegrown development by providing opportunities for practical training and job placement.

  • Overview:
  • Africa Volunteer Corps (AVC), a project of Lift Up Africa, is a Tanzanian not-for-profit that provides African youth with the opportunities for leadership development and practical professional experience while deepening the impact of local social-good organizations in sustainable community development. AVC unites passionate, qualified and culturally fluent African volunteers with African NGOs to deepen the impact of locally initiated development projects and to provide fellows with the opportunity to hone practical skills, foster mutually beneficial relationships and play a vital role in shaping Africa’s future. AVC is not simply a job training program, but creates a space for enthusiastic youth to be agents of change within their own communities.

    Many organizations are stuck in the notion of teaching a man to fish. Although this is a more sustainable model than pure hand-outs, it still assumes that people do not know how to fish. AVC assumes that the people we are working with already know how to fish, that they grew up in fishing communities, went to school for fishing, and are on the edge of the lake with fishing poles in their hands. We give them bait: tools to create a sustainable future for themselves and their own countries, by their own definitions.

    AVC’s program allows promising emerging leaders to gain exposure and experience necessary to envision a positive future for Africa and their own careers, as well as the tools to make this future a reality, by providing opportunities for volunteers to work for an entire year on local development projects. AVC matches young leaders with experienced development professionals, a process which simultaneously strengthens bottom-up social change and creates a platform for the transfer of valuable knowledge and job skills.

  • History:
  • Co-founders Caitlin Kelley and Jafari Msaki first came up for the idea for AVC when, after first studying African history at Northwestern University, Caitlin moved to Tanzania to volunteer. During her stay, she noticed that it took most of her fellow volunteers a significant portion of their time in Tanzania to adjust to the enormous cultural differences, significantly hindering the impact they were hoping to make as volunteers. She also met many dedicated, motivated, and educated locals who, with degrees in areas such as community development and social work, were more qualified to work with NGOs than the foreign volunteers who came from outside communities. These qualified and knowledgeable locals were unable to find jobs due to a lack of employable skills or job experience. One night, Caitlin and her friend Jafari Msaki began discussing the value of volunteerism and Jafari mentioned the idea for a volunteer organization. Everything clicked. Caitlin and Jafari realized the benefit of having an African service corps would be two-fold: providing skills and experience locals needed in order to be valuable assets to the workforce, while providing local support to grassroots development initiatives, strengthening their capacity. The long term benefit will be contextually relevant development efforts that are less dependent on outsiders for ideas, manpower, and funding.

    In 2008, Caitlin and Jafari began carefully assembling the advisory board and staff and designing the program. In 2011, they registered in Tanzania, secured a US 501c3 fiscal agent, and began accepting applications for AVC’s first class of volunteers.

    In 2012, the first cohort of 7 volunteers worked in Moshi town. In 2013, AVC placed volunteers in Moshi, the city of Mwanza and in rural areas of Kilimanjaro. Now in the 3rd cycle, 592 applicants vied for the 10 available positions. These 10 volunteers, with backgrounds in communications, social work, education, community development, law, and business began their service year in January, 2014, and will be matched with local organizations which work in community economic development, early childhood education, advocacy for women and children, support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, and computer technology and education.

  • Year established:2011
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:3
  • Advisory board size:9
  • Staff size:6


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:Other
  • Identification #:84179

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