Voices of the Bay

Anne Wells Turned a Dream Into a Mission For Change

After fulfilling her dream of visiting Africa, Anne Wells founded Unite the World with Africa

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Anne (Merriman) Wells of Little Compton is a third generation seasonal resident who grew up dreaming of traveling to see African wildlife. Her dream was realized in 1991 during a college semester in Tanzania with the School for International Training.
It was the people who captured her heart. So Anne founded the social enterprise Unite the World with Africa LLC, with 100% of their proceeds supporting the work of Unite the World with Africa Foundation, a 501c3 tax-exempt public charity. Programs focus on health, education and microfinance for the people of Tanzania. Ongoing projects range from funding a Maasai Health Education and Screening program to supporting the daily work of Sister Crispina Mnate, founder of St. Joseph’s Orphanage and The Heaven School.

A graduate of Kenyon College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology, Anne also attended for one year the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and worked at Time Warner as a writer and editor. Along with her husband David and their daughters Lila, Harriett and Katharine, Anne cherishes the abundance of Little Compton’s natural resources of land and sea, and time spent there with a supportive circle of friends and family. To learn more, visit UniteAfricaFoundation.org. Anne, who is available for speaking engagements can be reached at Anne@UniteTNZ.org

I was the kid who dreamed of Africa and Elsa. I still love the wildlife but I believe that the key to protecting all the sentient beings is by empowering all the people. Any living creature will not be destroyed if humans can care for themselves and their children. You cannot ask someone to not destroy a threat if their child is starving. By investing in people we will be protecting and helping everyone.

We have two organizations, Unite the World with Africa is a social enterprise LLC and Unite the World with Africa Foundation, a 501c3 tax-exempt public charity. The LLC has two arms; one is a service safari called Unite Tours. We combine any type of wildlife luxury and adventure safari with field experience to go into villages and meet the children and the people in an authentic way. Most safaris go into the bush, you see the animals, you leave. But if travelers have a chance to meet the children and the people it is always the highlight of their trip. I always say, “If you don’t want to know, don’t go. But once you know better, you have to do better.” I am always prayerful the experience will plant seeds and lead more people to get involved over time. We also buy and sell product from Tanzania Maasai Women Art. Their beading is phenomenal. 100% of our proceeds fund the foundation’s work.

There is a space for everyone who has a heart for service. Everyone can be part of the solution in a big or small way, be it buying jewelry or going on safari or more. Our goal is to go deeper with the people and our projects to ensure their long-term success. They are the ones who are going to change their community not us. It’s not ours to change but if we can give them health, opportunity and comprehensive education we can give the women and the girls a voice to know they can say no to the sugar daddy who wants to get them pregnant and to drop out of school.

What I am doing is not just [the work of] one woman but it’s a community of people. Our family [is] obviously at the forefront, with my husband and my sister Kim involved, but three of our board members, Heidi Jagoda Samson, Robert Chartener and Serena Alvarado, are here in Little Compton. The people and places like the Art Café have been wildly supportive. It is an extraordinary, very generous, thoughtful, community committed to global service and I am so very grateful. –Nina Murphy