Yale plus ONE: Alumni join forces to promote global service and advocacy

Yale plus ONE logoThe Association of Yale Alumni (AYA) and ONE, a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease particularly in Africa, are launching a strategic partnership to promote global service and advocacy by linking the Yale Alumni Service Corps (YASC) with ONE’s education and advocacy programs. The Yale-ONE partnership will begin in 2012, with the YASC Africa Project in Cape Coast and Yamoransa, Ghana, July 27–Aug. 7, 2012.

ONE policy experts, advocacy leaders, and field organizers will join with over 100 Yale alumni in Ghana. The project features direct service work with community partners, organized with AFS-Ghana, including teaching with a summer school program, a medical clinic, community building projects, and micro-business consulting. During the trip, ONE leaders will offer seminars for Yale volunteers about issues in West Africa and take corps members on site visits to examine agriculture, education, health care, and other sectors to experience the issues discussed in seminars. After they return home, Yale alumni can join in ONE campaigns for community development in sub-Saharan Africa. Together, Yale and ONE can connect more people to Africa and motivate their ongoing involvement, building a larger group of influencers than either might on its own, note leaders from both organizations.

Co-founded by U2 lead singer Bono, ONE raises public awareness to support effective policies and programs that save lives, help put children in school, and improve the future for individuals and their communities.

Yale in recent years has pioneered alumni community service initiatives, with the AYA moving from an organization merely serving alumni to one that calls Yale graduates to lives of ongoing service in their home communities and across the world.  The alumni service corps began with work in the Dominican Republic (DR) in 2008. To date, six corps totaling more than 700 alumni, students, family, and friends have served in Mexico, Brazil, China, and the DR. Ranging in age from 19 to 85, corps members have worked with local partner organizations to offer health services, arts education, and business assistance. 

“Service corps participants tell us they want to remain engaged as advocates when they return home, to take what they have learned and put it to ongoing use,” says Mark Dollhopf, executive director of the Association of Yale Alumni. “ONE has a powerful track record of education and advocacy. Our partnership will leverage Yale’s alumni network to address critical global challenges of poverty, health, and education through ONE’s high-impact campaigns.”

“We at ONE always say, ‘We’re not asking for your money; we’re asking for your voice.’ Likewise, the Yale alumni association encourages graduates to give their time and talent to strengthen community,” notes Sheila Dix, U.S. executive director of ONE. “We’re both about bringing people together to learn, serve, and develop human potential. Yale plus ONE can make a real difference in ongoing advocacy for African development.”

Yale and ONE expect the initial project in 2012 both to inspire the development of future YASC programs and to serve as a template for ONE to work with other colleges and universities. “Education is a gift that must be passed on if it is to have meaning,” Dollhopf says. “Alumni associations increasingly recognize we have an urgent responsibility to inspire alumni to action.  We hope Yale’s partnership with ONE will provide a model of alumni engagement that our peers will adapt and use.”

More information on the partners can be found on the Yale Alumni Association homepage, the Yale Alumni Service Corps website and the ONE website.