Founded in 1999 by Martin Niboh, Ph.D., a nuclear physicist and native of Cameroon, Igniting Africa empowers Africans to develop the character, competence and tools to solve Africa’s problems.
We seek to ensure that poor children all across Africa acquire the skills necessary to thrive, experience greater freedom, free-enterprise, faith, and the love exemplified by Jesus Christ, and embrace their responsibility for building up individuals from the inside out and their community from the bottom up.
Demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ – Seeking to put God’s love into action, we undertake our work to demonstrate the love and teachings of Jesus Christ. We therefore think, speak and act in ways that are consistent with the belief that God’s love, peace and grace are available to all, and that we are instruments of that love, peace and grace in our world. We believe that since “faith like a mustard seed can move mountains”, even little faith can accomplish great things, and that in faith, hope and love, respectful relationships can grow among all people in the community. Africa and the world are changed for the better by people who, like Jesus Christ, love people enough to make personal sacrifices in order to bring about that change.
Promote individual freedom, dignity and worth – We believe that every individual has the right to live in freedom and dignity. We believe that every person has something to contribute and something to gain from creating communities in which all people live in freedom and dignity. In all our work, we will seek to inspire hearts and minds in such powerful ways that they learn to reject economic, cultural, social, civic, spiritual and religious tyranny. We believe that individual freedom, dignity and worth are best achieved through free, voluntary, equitable, accountable relationships and partnerships.
Focus on the whole community – As our means of manifesting God’s love, we have chosen to create opportunities for all people – black and white, Christian and non-Christian, young and old, male and female – to be free and live decent lives. We put faith into action by working with those who strive to break the cycle of poverty and those who bring people together to solve problems as a community. In response to the prophet Micah’s call to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God, we promote the community’s commitment to greater freedom, free enterprise, faith, human rights and life-long learning.
Support sustainable and transformational development – We view our work as successful when it transforms lives and promotes lasting positive economic, cultural, social, civic and spiritual change within a community. Such success must be based on mutual trust, showing respect for people through bottom-up participation, fully shared responsibility and accomplishment, and responsible stewardship of all resources entrusted to us.
We see a Pan-African movement of humanitarian entrepreneurs who pour the profits from their businesses into humanitarian projects, expand sacrificial love, freedom, free enterprise, education, volunteerism, humanitarianism and philanthropy. Humanitarian entrepreneurs who, like Jesus Christ, love and serve the poor in their communities and work together to build up individuals from the inside out and Africa from the bottom up.
We do this by empowering Africans to tackle Africa’s problems, providing them with the finances, tools and training to build up their communities, promote economic independence and create positive, sustainable change.
Our Strategy: Bottom Up Entrepreneurship
Igniting Africa seeks to achieve its mission by establishing networks of integrated, self-sustaining projects that encourage community and economic development at the grassroots level. In partnership with local entrepreneurs throughout Cameroon, Torchbearer has launched dozens of projects, including computer technology centers, health centers, community co-op stores, farms and grain-grinding centers.
The goal of each project is to improve the economic future for rural Africans by inspiring entrepreneurs to establish businesses in their own communities and providing them with the mentorship and resources to be successful.
Igniting Africa’s success lies in its commitment to sustainability. Trainees receive a tuition-free education and a path to start their own businesses. In turn alumni of each program are expected to give back by sharing a percentage of profits and serving as mentors to our students.