Grey Mist Lifting

A Weekly Blog About Lives Changed Through Eye Care

Pat Ferguson, former President and CEO

Options are available to help developing African countries (Part 2 of 2)

Ultimately, Operation Eyesight’s goal in Africa is to help each country achieve a comprehensive health care system that includes eye care – one that they can sustain without foreign support. Our commitment to sustainability – both fiscal and programmatic – will ensure that these collaborative projects and programs will continue long after our departure.

As professional capacity increases, Africans are more able to care for one another. (Photo by Wairimu Gitahi.)

Our regional director for Africa, Ghanaian ophthalmologist Dr. Boateng Wiafe, has worked closely with the ministries of health in Zambia, Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana for many years. He and his staff have discovered that such collaboration within existing health systems encourages local leaders to manage their own affairs, while creating models that can be replicated in other regions.

Operation Eyesight empowers Africans to take care of Africans,” he says.

In her 2009 book, The Challenge for Africa: A New Vision, the late Kenyan activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai wrote, “The challenge for [Africa’s] leaders, both governmental and nongovernmental, is to acknowledge and then channel Africans’ capabilities and energies into effective action for development.”

We believe international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) that choose to support and build on resident expertise can create long-term sustainable solutions that respect and steward the talents and abilities inherent in Africans. Developing countries understand their social and economic challenges and usually have the expertise to solve their own problems. They may only lack sufficient human and financial resources, and that’s where we can help.

Operation Eyesight has had notable success using these strategies. We invite other INGOs to contact us to learn more about our approach to sustainable development.

We have many great stories to share with you about the difference our donors have made in Africa and India… check out Success Stories today!

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    2 Responses to Options are available to help developing African countries (Part 2 of 2)

    I’m glad to see that your goal includes sustainability and not just a one-time act. A lot of aid money is used inefficiently when it goes to non-sustainable programs. Sustainability is so important.

    Also, I am a supporter of donating used eyeglasses. Let’s do all we can to give others the gift of sight (or corrected sight).

    Hi Peter, thank you so much for your comments. Sustainability is absolutely essential when it comes to international development and we are very glad to hear you agree. :)

    As for used eyeglasses, Operation Eyesight actually stopped collecting them in 2003. Pat Ferguson, our president and CEO, has written a blog post on such topic and our decision to stop the program. You can read it here –

    Furthermore, here’s another article on the same topic of donating used eyeglasses that you may find interesting.

    We would love to hear from you further and thanks again for dropping us a line! Have a great weekend.

    -Ming Emma Ko, Online Communications Specialist

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