40 years of history
Together with the local population, we remove obstacles and support them in developing their full potential.
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The ForAfrika Group was originally called JAM International and was founded 40 years ago by South African Peter Pretorius. Stranded in Pambarra (Mozambique), he experienced the terrible consequences of hunger at first hand. Children were dying around Peter every day. This drastic experience changed his life forever
- and so JAM was born.
The history of ForAfrika
The “Stiftung Schweiz ForAfrika” (formerly “Stiftung JAM Schweiz”) was established in Switzerland in 2006. It is a partner of the largest African development organization, the ForAfrika Group (formerly JAM International), which was founded in 1984 by Africans in Africa. We now benefit from almost 40 years of experience in development cooperation and have our own global logistics network and reliable partners.
It all started in Mozambique. Today, ForAfrika is present in numerous African countries. The network of our partner organizations, the ForAfrika Group, has also expanded considerably over the years. ForAfrika has been asked by UN organizations to act as an “implementing partner” for some major programmes.
Below are some of the milestones in our history.
1984: How it all began
South African Peter Pretorius was one of the first to respond to the Mozambican government’s request to the international community for urgent humanitarian aid. There was a famine that threatened almost four million people with death. Peter visited the village of Pambarra near Vilankulo in the province of Inhambane to find out how he could best help the people. He was only supposed to be on site for one day, but he was left there for ten days without food, water or other supplies. He witnessed starvation, despair and extreme poverty. Up to 30 people starved to death every day and many children were orphaned.
This experience changed Peter’s life dramatically. Together with his wife Ann, he decided to take action. This is how JAM International was born. In the beginning, the organization focused on distributing food. JAM’s first delivery from South Africa comprised 80 tons of relief supplies for Pambarra.
1985-87: Kitchen and Weisenheim
Soup kitchens are opened in Maputo, Beira and Pambarra. This ensures the nutrition of 9,500 children. The follow-up project is an orphanage for 300 children.
1991-93: Nutrition in Angola
JAM is launching the nutrition program in the town of Lobito, which is located in the province of Benguela in Angola. In the first year alone, 12,000 children are fed every day.
1994-98: Genocide in Rwanda
The genocide in Rwanda prompts JAM to help. At the same time, up to 55,000 children are already being fed in Angola.
2000-04: JAM in South Africa and (South) Sudan
JAM starts drilling wells in South Africa and feeding schoolchildren. JAM also launches its first projects in Sudan (now South Sudan). The number of children fed daily rises to 111,613. Start of cooperation between JAM and the World Food Program.
2006: Foundation of JAM Switzerland
Inspired by Peter’s work, the JAM Switzerland (now Switzerland ForAfrika) is founded by Matthias Tobler and the Bärtsch couple.
In 2006, Matthias Tobler from Switzerland got to know Peter Pretorius and the work of JAM International during a trip to Africa. Matthias was deeply moved when he heard about the plight of countless people. JAM’s effective approach to hunger inspired him. At the age of 26, Matthias founded the organization JAM Switzerland together with Anni and Florian Bärtsch to work as a partner organization with JAM International for the vision “Helping Africa help itself”.
2008: Holistic development cooperation
Cooperation with the WFP (World Food Program) in South Sudan. JAM is transforming itself from an organization focused on nutrition to a holistic aid and development organization with the vision “Helping Africa Help Itself”.
2012: 1.1 million children
In total, JAM reaches the historic figure of 1.1 million children fed daily.
2017-18: Sierra Leone and Uganda
JAM expands its projects to two new countries: In Sierra Leone, the nutrition program based on the “home-grown-school-feeding” model from Mozambique is being introduced. In Uganda, JAM is involved in the South Sudanese refugee camps with food, water and agricultural projects.
2018: A pioneer leaves – his legacy remains
This year will never be forgotten in the history of JAM: Peter Pretorius passed away at the age of 73, leaving behind an incredible legacy and big shoes to fill. Despite her grief, Ann skillfully took on the role of CEO of JAM International.
2020: The Covid crisis
The Covid crisis is hitting our project countries hard and calls for more extensive aid measures. Through increased efforts and partnerships, JAM was able to reach 3.9 million people with aid in 2020.
2021: Isak Pretorius becomes CEO
Isak Pretorius, Peter and Ann’s son, takes over as CEO of JAM International.
2022: We are “ForAfrika”
JAM is now called “ForAfrika”. The name changes, the vision grows, but the heartbeat remains exactly the same. The new name – ForAfrika – clearly sums up the vision, the mission and the goal. Everything ForAfrika does is for Africa. ForAfrika started in Africa, and many of our local employees come from the African village communities that we support. Driven by a deep love for the local people, we work for an Africa that thrives.
More about the rebranding
An Africa that thrives.
News from our work
“For me, school nutrition is a great incentive. School nutrition has helped me to stay in school myself. It has made me the person I am today. It’s not just a meal, it changes lives,” says Morgado Culembe, School Nutrition Manager in Angola, enthusiastically.
The keys to a new beginning: KITA manager Simollang Pooe has dedicated her life to creating a safe environment for the children in her community.
Fetching water: Awuru Amalia fills her jerrycan at the community well in Omugu The 68-year-old used to have to walk 15 km from home every