One of the premier charity organizations in Zimbabwe, and beyond, is Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa’s Higherlife Foundation. Strive Masiyiwa and his wife Tsitsi Masiyiwa, founded the charity in 1996 making this year its 26th year of operation. To date they have supported over 250 000 young people through scholarships and leadership training. They have so far committed over US$100 million towards rural development by creating jobs and sustainable livelihoods. They have invested over US$60 million in healthcare and crisis responses. Every year they reach over 68 000 young people via mentorship programs for leadership and livelong development. They are also working towards attaining 50 percent gender parity across all their initiatives. Let us get into more detail about the Higherlife Foundation.
Who Is Higherlife Foundation?
The Higherlife Foundation is a charity organization which believes in community and national transformation through availing the right opportunities. Their vision is to provide a platform for people to fulfil their God given purpose. Their mission is investing in human capital to build thriving individuals, communities, and sustainable livelihoods. Their core values are faith in God, love, integrity, knowledge, accountability, collaboration, and responsive leadership.
Their operations span across 5 countries namely Zimbabwe, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Lesotho. Zimbabwe is where the Higherlife Foundation runs its biggest operations. They have offices in all the ten provinces in Zimbabwe. Some of their partners are Econet Wireless, Liquid Telecom, Delta Philanthropies, End Fund, Yale African Scholars Program, African Philanthropy Forum, and World Vision International Zimbabwe.
What The Higherlife Foundation Does
The Higherlife Foundation seeks to increase access to quality education to help young people thrive. The initiatives are all-encompassing including paths such as university, vocational training, or entrepreneurship. One of their initiatives is High-Flyers. The High-Flyers program entails identifying talented young people from primary to tertiary level. The selected students are then furnished with university preparation, career development, leadership development, alumni support, and student life support. This is where the Joshua Nkomo Scholarship and Capernaum Scholarship come in.
The scholarship is meant for orphaned or disadvantaged children aged below 21. The child could have either lost one or both of their parents. It could also be that they would have lost their breadwinner. Being disadvantaged refers to children whose parents are alive but old or unable to financially cater for them. The scholarship options span from day and boarding government schools, to non-government and mission schools in Zimbabwe. Exceptions to the criteria are possible if authorized by the Patrons.
Joshua Nkomo Scholarship
This is a scholarship for students needing financial assistance to proceed to tertiary education. This is for students who would have excelled in their Advanced Level ZIMSEC or Cambridge exams. A minimum of 14 points is required for eligibility, for both males and females.
Under Higherlife Foundation’s education program are Ruzivo Digital Learning and the Delta Doctoral Fellowship. Ruzivo Digital Learning is an interactive online learning platform for primary and secondary school students in Zimbabwe. Its goal is to plug teacher and textbook shortages in schools. The Delta Doctoral Fellowship is for supporting strategic research in selected disciplines.
The overall thrust here is championing a gender equal world. Sub-Saharan Africa has over 49 million girls not in primary or secondary school. 31 million of that number is out of secondary education. This impedes their likelihood to access lifelong opportunities. The problem is exacerbated by child marriages. In the same region, 4 in every 10 girls marry before they turn 18. With that background, the Higherlife Foundation seeks to equip girls with relevant information and support.
Their aim is to facilitate good education, good health, safety, economic empowerment, problem solving skills, and positive self-images for the girl child. The Higherlife Foundation does this through scholarships, promoting STEM education, sexual and reproductive health interventions, social, digital, and financial inclusion, mentorships, internships, and industry linkages.
The goal is investing in health to strengthen livelihoods. Their operations towards this started in 2008 when they intervened in the cholera epidemic that hit at the time. They did so by forming the National Healthcare Trust. 10 years later, in 2018 another cholera epidemic struck and they intervened again. Those two experiences cemented their footprint in emergency responses, health, and nutrition initiatives.
The summary of their health initiatives or focuses is emergency response, health promotion, education, training, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), cholera response or elimination, and nutrition. They do all this with the support of volunteers under a volunteer scheme called #ThisIsMyHome. They formed this volunteer scheme in 2018 after having noticed the efficacy of volunteers during crises.
Rural Transformation And Sustainable Livelihoods
Promoting entrepreneurship to drive economic growth and strengthen livelihoods. That is the mainstay of the Higherlife Foundation’s work towards rural transformation and sustainable livelihoods. They identify opportunities where they can support communities in enhancing their food security and livelihoods. They do so via loans, capacity building, and project implementation and monitoring. Some of the previous work they have done include availing concessionary loans to marginalized people, rolling out feeding programs, and setting up of nutrition gardens. They also launched the Reimagine Rural initiative in 2019. This initiative mainly targets women and young people and is meant to cultivate economic activity in rural areas.
Leadership And Lifelong Development
The Higherlife Foundation is passionate about raising the next generation of Africa’s leaders. This comes from a realization that Africa seriously needs principled leadership. Africa’s many challenges mostly stem from poor leadership. As the foundation rolls out its leadership and lifelong development initiatives, they use the STAR leadership philosophy. STAR stands for Servant leadership, Tenacity, Accountability, and Responsibility.
They target rising leaders from as early as primary school right up to adulthood. They have STAR Leadership Academies where the training of these rising leaders is conducted. They have Young and Dynamic which is an online mentorship program for one on one or groups. This is done through video conferencing. They also provide leadership training and mentorship to students and professionals.
The Higherlife Foundation has offices in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Lesotho. Their physical head offices in Zimbabwe can be found at Suite 5, Westgate House East, David Frost Way Westgate in Harare. You can also call on +263 772 222 922 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is a good place to get comprehensive information. You can find download their latest research papers or findings on the website. You can engage them on social media on as well.