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Africare "works in partnership with African communities to achieve healthy and productive societies. Africare's approach places communities at the center of development activities. Africare believes that only through strong communities can Africa feed itself, appropriately exploit its natural resources, educate, care and protect its children, promote the economic well being of African people and live in peace." [1] Established in 1970. [2]

"In 1970, West Africa was in the midst of one of the most severe droughts in its history. Animals were dying. Crops could not grow. Villagers were fleeing their homes in search of water. Millions of human lives hung in the balance.
"Among those providing help — medical aid to the Maine-Soroa Hospital in Diffa, Niger — were 17 American volunteers, led by William O. Kirker, M.D., and Barbara Jean A. Kirker, who named their group "Africare." (The Kirkers themselves had been working in Africa, to improve African health care, since the mid-1960s.)
"Eventually, the fledgling Africare needed more support. Diori Hamani, then president of the Republic of Niger, appealed to others in the United States on the effort's behalf. He went on to pose a broader question: Why don't black Americans, whose ancestors came from the continent, respond to the needs in Africa?
"It was to C. Payne Lucas, among others, that President Diori Hamani addressed his appeal. Lucas was director of the Peace Corps Office of Returned Volunteers in Washington, D.C. He had served previously in Niger and knew the president from that time. Dialogue ensued. In addition to President Diori Hamani, Kirker and Lucas, other incorporators were the Washington-based Nigerien diplomat Oumarou G. Youssoufou and Joseph C. Kennedy, Ph.D., former Peace Corps director in Sierra Leone." [3]

Founded by C. Payne Lucas and William Kirker.

Senior Staff (2007)


Directors (2007)



  • Donald F. McHenry - Former Chairman, Africare - President, IRC Group; Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, Georgetown University; Former U.S. Representative to the U.N.


Directors (no longer at Africare)

2005 Annual Report

Select Major Funders

Related SourceWatch


  1. Board, Africare, accessed January 19, 2021.