The idea for a UK charity, which would work solely through African grassroots organisations was conceived under a mango tree, in Ghana, by New Zealand-born Mike Sansom and Ghanaian Philip Ayamba.
In 1996, Mike and Philip were both working for the same NGO (which shall remain nameless) and had been travelling from Bolgatanga to Bawku in northern Ghana when their motorbike broke down. Mike and Philip spent a whole night under the stars, discussing their vision of social justice.
Mike, who had come to international development via activism (he’d been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s), was already questioning if the BINGOs (Big International Non-Governmental Organisations) were having any sustainable impact and whether they were, in fact, the new colonialists.
Mike and Philip both agreed in ‘African solutions for African problems’ and kept asking themselves, “What if the initiatives really came from Africa, rather than from the funder?” And, so, the idea of African Initiatives was born.