Our Strategy

Mariama from The Gambia
“Losing my mother during childbirth shifted my focus from wanting to be a journalist to having a deeper understanding of the socioeconomic, political, geographical and cultural determinants of poor health in The Gambia. Ashinaga has been the greatest driving force in achieving my dream of being a Global Health specialist by giving me the opportunity to study in one of the world’s best Universities, training me to be a better leader and helping me grow to the best version of myself.”


The Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) is an international leadership program that cultivates the next generation of leaders to contribute to the development of sub-Saharan Africa. 

AAI Scholars have lost one or both parents and are committed to returning to sub-Saharan Africa to initiate change, innovation, and development. The AAI provides financial support for international university degrees, along with leadership training and support to develop Scholars into compassionate leaders of change. 

We support orphaned students who are committed to returning home and initiating change, by providing access to full financial support to study at a university abroad (equivalent to an undergraduate degree). Ashinaga support covers tuition, accommodation, travel costs, and other necessary fees. 

Our approach is to effect change through grass-roots development, empowering young people to identify issues, develop solutions, and have a positive impact in their communities. We believe that the best people to change communities are the people who live in those communities, once they have the tools and experience needed to make a difference: 

  • Access to world-class Higher Education to provide knowledge, expertise, and 21st Century Skills.
  • An International Perspective to help them take a disruptive approach to identify issues and solutions in their own communities.
  • Our leadership programme that encourages Scholars to take social responsibility, collaborate, and pay benefits forward to improve the lives of others.

We focus on orphaned students because they have all experienced the psychological and economic hardship of losing one or both parents. We believe that this experience gives them a strong sense of empathy and further drive to prevent such hardships for future generations. 

Sub-Saharan Africa is a region of immense vibrancy, innovation, and growth. It has the youngest population of any region, abundant natural resources, and is experiencing rapid economic development. Even so, sub-Saharan Africa faces numerous institutional problems that challenge its ability to realize its potential. 

Our final goal is not the Scholars’ education, but that through education and training Scholars will be equipped to initiate change, innovation, and development in sub-Saharan Africa. As such, it is ultimately not us who defines the aim of this work, but the Scholars, who have a deeper knowledge of the challenges their communities, countries, and regions face. 

We believe that this grassroots, bottom-up vision of development is a complementary and urgently needed approach.