This is a guide to all things at the intersection of Africa, Singapore and social change. Feel free to edit if you’d like to improve it!


While the depiction of Africa in the movies has been a less than positive one (think Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamonds, District 13), the reality of life is quite different. Much has been done for social change in Africa.

Africa is a nascent issue in Singapore. There is a smallish African community in Singapore, which mostly gathers at the Springbok Bazaar and the Cornerstone African Fellowship. There has possibly been a gradual reduction in the number of Africans resident in Singapore. Africa-SG social initiatives have mostly been started by non-Singaporeans, although there are several examples of people based in Singapore who have volunteered long-term in Africa.

See also Africa Events and Africa Articles.

Key People

Names are provided alphabetically, with links provided to LinkedIn accounts where available, else Facebook.
Expertise in this area is based on past or current experience, and if there is a link to Singapore in some way.

Daniel Kalai, Farheen Mukri , Gary Lee, Janick Bhavon Vatikiotis, John W Roberts, Kaushal Dugar, Kelsey Young Hargardine, Kyaw Pine, Michael Switow, Prajakta Kharkar, Willy Ong

SG Networks

Africa SG is a network of people in Singapore with an interest/involvement in Africa, especially for volunteering.

The African Society brings members together for uniquely African social events in Singapore. Its membership base is individuals who have lived or served in Africa, and it hosts an annual African Ball and social events throughout the year.

SG-linked Organisations

ROWAN Rural Orphans and Widows AIDS Network is an international non-profit which exists to equip every widow and orphan in Uganda to move from helplessness to hope, from widow to leader, from orphan to beloved child. Our heart is to partner with organizations and join hands in bringing transformational change.

Books To Read is an initiative by a group of young volunteers with a common goal to improve the learning conditions of schools in less privileged countries by increasing the accessibility of basic educational materials through the redistribution of books collected in Singapore. It is rooted in the belief that education is a sustainable means for personal and collective development, and conceived out of a desire to inspire children with knowledge that is locked in books. Through its flagship project, Project SAIL (Singapore-Africa Initiative for Learning), they worked with 6 schools in Zambia and Tanzania contributing over 13,000 books that benefited over 4,000 students.

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Heal the World is a social enterprise dedicated to creating symbiotic networks of learning and investment between the more and less developed worlds. It is currently building the Open University of West Africa and Peace Schools.

Action for God’s Lovewas set up to improve the material & spiritual lives of the poor & disadvantaged, especially those trapped in poverty, hunger, thirst, sickness and abandonment. It is a Trust Fund initiated by Mrs Rita Balachandran in memory of her husband, the late Professor Balachandran, a prominent orthopaedic surgeon in Singapore.

Sole Rebels sells WFTO fair-trade shoes from Ethiopia, that pairs recycled tires with hand-spun organic cotton. Found on the ground floor of The Cathay.

Tana River Life Foundation

SG-linked Projects

World Vision Singapore has Area Development Programmes (ADPs) in various countries (such as Ethiopia, Lesotho and Zambia) that ensure that the causes of poverty are addressed at the root over a 10 to 15-year period. In this way World Vision helps whole communities help themselves. The process is integrated and straightforward and involves the villagers right from the moment of the project’s inception.

Qi Global’s Qllaboration is basically collaboration with social and environmental impact. Qllaborations came into being when co-founders Mette Kristine Oustrup & Paul Coleman decided to turn thought into action. Their current project revolves around creating greater value for the paper jewellry created by Ugandan women.

MILART Fair-trade Designer Jewelry has a two-fold social impact, on one hand it is creating a market for impoverished artisans who live in the blind spots of development and on the other, it is creating a platform for upcoming jewelry designers, many of who come from modest backgrounds in developing countries.

SMU Pendenza is an overseas community service project by a group of SMU students. Their beneficiary is the Our Lady Of Grace Children's Home in Kenya, which is funded by Action For God's Love, a trust fund based in Singapore which funds several other charities in Third World countries of the world.

STA Travel organises voluntourism trips in Australia and Africa.

Potential Partners

Watoto Children’s Choirs have travelled internationally since 1994 as advocates for the estimated 50 million children in Africa, orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS, war, poverty and disease. Accompanied by a team of adults, the choir presents Watoto’s vision and mission through their stories, music and dance. Watoto choirs act as ambassadors to raise awareness about the plight of the orphaned and vulnerable children of Africa.

Bawa La Tumaini (english meaning-Wing of Hope) is a Fair-Trade company that works with marginalized handicraft producers in Kenya by linking them to global markets. It is currently being mentored by Patsian Low.

The Kitega Centre was initiated by the Christian Church and was implemented by Rev. Canon Silas Musoke, with the help of the Kingserve Trust in Scotland. From 1999 to 2004 the centre was under the umbrella body of the National Association for the Mentally Handicapped. In 2004 it registered as an independent NGO in Uganda. Kitega Community Centre is interdenominational and serves all people without prejudice. We aim to make the world a better place by creating a healthy environment where everyone is happy.

What’s Innovative

EVOKE is a ten-week crash course in changing the world. The goal of the social network game is to help empower young people all over the world, and especially young people in Africa, to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems.

Key Documents

Beyond Profit: Focus on Africa (Jan-Feb2011)

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