Africa Development Corps (ADC), formerly known as Visions in Action (VIA), was founded by Shaun Skelton, Andre LeCann and Charles Mutisya in 1989. While lecturing on management at the University of Nairobi during the 1988-89 school year, Shaun discovered that nonprofit organizations in Kenya had a great need for different types of volunteers; ones who worked in an urban setting, at a computer in an office, designing brochures and writing funding proposals, as opposed to the more traditional rural field work. There was a need for volunteers in nontraditional sectors of development, such as human rights, democratization and journalism. For 25 years Africa Development Corps has fulfilled this need by sending volunteers to the developing world to work for grassroots organizations working in these sectors.
The US office opened in September 1989 in a large group house in northwest Washington DC. In setting up its housing in urban Africa, ADC followed the community group house model of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in US cities. From an initial 15 volunteer placements in Kenya, over the years more than 700 volunteers have participated in Africa Development Corps programs overseas. Revenue comes from program fees, individual donations, in-kind support, foundation grants, donor grants and special events.
In the US, ADC is headquartered in the Adams Morgan area of Washington, DC, an ethnically diverse neighborhood of the city and the heart of its Latin American community. Although still primarily an urban program, Africa Development Corps has expanded its geographical areas of intervention and now offers some possibilities of rural placement. Africa Development Corps currently has five active programs in Africa: Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia.