How do you identify your projects ?
We identify projects through our network of personal contacts on the continent. Between Heart of Africa staff and board members, we have friends in about 20 countries, many in ministry themselves. A good number of projects have been recommended to us through this growing web of direct connections.
Beyond that, ministries have come onto our radar screen through serendipity (divine appointments). Heart of Africa Executive Director, Mike Henderson, met Lucia Gunguwo, pictured on the “About” page, in a London airport. When he mentioned that he was heading to Africa to look into an AIDS ministry, Lucia replied, “Well then, you should be talking to me.” That was the beginning of a fruitful relationship with an outstanding couple in ministry in Zimbabwe.
How do you choose which projects to fund?
We look for projects that meet our criteria: 1) an African in successful ministry, 2) largely deriving operating funds locally, and 3) needing an extraordinary, “Breakthrough” project to enhance his or her ministry. We seek to verify the person’s testimony and reputation, often through a visit to their location. Beyond that we like to have an intangible connection with the person in question, an assurance from God that we can partner together in ministry.
How much of every designated gift goes to the project?
100% of every designated gift goes to the project for which it was sent. Our experience has been that if we concentrate on supporting quality projects, God brings in enough additional funds to cover our operating expenses.
What kind of oversight do you provide for your projects?
We follow up every project by both e-mail and personal visits to ensure that funds are used for the purpose for which they were given. We operate by a principle of faithfulness, in which we typically begin our relationship with a particular ministry with a small project, and only consider additional assistance to those who have demonstrated their good character and effectiveness.
Does Heart of Africa send missionaries to Africa?
Our perception is that as the African church has matured, Western missionaries have taken an increasingly limited and specialized role. Instead of sending missionaries from the U.S., we operate with a lean staff of three people with significant African experience and focus on supporting Africans in ministry.