Board Chair

Dr. Kahaki Kimani

2023 in Review: Outlook, Progress, and Looking Ahead!

Despite the ever-changing global landscape, we have remained true to our vision: guaranteeing that all children and youth learn and prosper, particularly those who are left behind. The year 2023 will remain a special one in Zizi Afrique’s history as it marked our evolution from a small Kenyan organization to a mid-sized African organization. It was a remarkably successful year as it laid a solid foundation for us to move to our next level of impact.

Our path to leading collective impact work in Sub-Sahara Africa was clarified through the mid-term review of our Strategy 2021– 2025. Overall, we celebrate four milestones: our sharpened strategic focus; the boost in our collective impact course; the growth in leadership capacities; and the stronger organizational sustainability.

Sharpened Strategic Focus. In September 2023, Zizi Afrique completed a midline evaluation of its 2025 strategy. The overall result was that the organization was on course in most of the impact areas and even ahead in others. This externally-led process yielded 10 key reflections to guide our work through October 2023–December 2025. The findings emphasized the organization’s transformation into an ecosystem-builder, with emergent tweaks to the organizational values, advocacy approaches, and areas of emphasis. We present these reflections to the attention of our partners in a subsequent section of this report.

Zizi’s Collective Impact Course. Achieving the vision of quality, equitable, and inclusive education in Africa is an enormous challenge that can only be resolved through aggregation. Building collective energy among the players focusing on education system reforms has emerged as a strategic focus, with a call to scale the collective impact work of the organization. This clarity was obtained from the mid-term strategic review process, and now informs Zizi’s work moving forward. Our 2024 work is now based on sourcing for increased funding to African-founded and African-led organizations to work collaboratively in resolving the biggest challenges to our education. Zizi Afrique then becomes an ecosystem-builder, led by the principles of mutual growth and collective impact.

Growth in Leadership. An organizational audit in late 2022 supported by The LEGO Foundation highlighted leadership development as a priority for Zizi Afrique. With support from the Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) in 2023, Zizi Afrique implemented a leadership pipeline program for 22 staff members. We now celebrate the outcomes of this process, visible through increased self-awareness, appreciation of diverse leadership styles and postures, better team cohesion, and faster decision-making. Additionally, the Executive Director and two Directors underwent varied leadership and well-being training programs supported by our funders: Imaginable Futures and CIFF. These capacities have come in handy in making us a thriving African organization.

Stronger Sustainability. In 2023, we received our first-ever unrestricted grants. We are grateful to four of our funders for this level of trust. The Board responded by establishing a sustainability policy for the organization that guided the establishment of an endowment fund. Additionally, the organization fully operationalized the four directorates (Research, Innovations and Practice, Advocacy, and Operations). A senior management team was established, with stronger capacities for leadership, resource mobilization, and engagement.

As we celebrate these milestones, the Zizi Afrique Foundation Board expresses gratitude to our collaborators in governments across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and the new frontiers of our collective impact work in Malawi and Cameroon. We appreciate our 100+ organizational partners who believed in and worked with us, the Zizi Afrique leaders for their vision and diligence, and the Zizi staff for their tenacious focus on achieving impact for Africa’s education. We remain focused on our Vision 2025, tightening our connection to context in delivering quality education to Africa’s children.

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