Opportunities Industrialization Centers International, Series I: Administration

Collection ID: 
Acc. 689
Collecting Area: 
* Closed Materials are available only with premission of the owner.


OIC International is a private, non-profit, voluntary organization founded in 1969 by Reverend Leon Sullivan. This organization is a direct outgrowth of the OIC movement in the United States. The mission of OICI is to contribute to the economic and social development, primarily of Third World countries, by the establishment and institutionalization of non-formal skills training programs. The OICI training model provides a innovative approach to vocational, technical and agricultural skills training that has helped the unemployed and underemployed to be self - reliant and actively involved in local communities of Africa, South America, Europe and the Caribbean.

Soon after the founding of OICs of America in 1964, news of the organizations' accomplishments and unique approach to job training attracted attention abroad. In January 1969 Dr. Folorunsho Salawu, a Nigerian physician, contacted Reverend Sullivan to discuss the possibility of extending OIC programs to Africa. In February and March 1969 Reverend Sullivan and a delegation of fifty religious and community leaders toured the African nations of Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya to determine the adaptability of the OIC program design to the employment needs of the African continent. During this period numerous job opportunities existed in Africa because of world demand for the continent's wealth of natural and agricultural resources.

However, the delegation found a shortage of skilled laborers to fill the majority of highly technical job positions. Confident that OICI could bridge the gap between the African labor force and industrial demands, a funding proposal was formulated and submitted to the United States Agency for International Development. By October 1969 U.S. AID funding was approved and a OICI Central Office was organized in Philadelphia to manage overseas activities.

The first OICI program was started in Lagos, Nigeria in 1970. The training center enrolled 70 trainees in badly equipped quarters. Dr. Salawu was appointed Chairman of the Board. Also that same year the second OIC was started in Accra, Ghana under the leadership of S. P. Dampson. By 1973 OICI training programs had expanded to include centers in Ethiopia and Kenya.

These first generation OIC programs catered solely to the needs of urban school leavers and drop-outs. Programs were reflected developed in accordance with traditional OIC concepts and principles, and reflected the employment needs of the communities they served. Program components included Recruitment, Counseling and Pre-Service Instruction (Feeder Program) to help ensure proper motivation and attitude before the start of vocational training. Feeder Program trainees were taught to respect the work ethic and the responsibilities they would undertake as well as receive instruction in basic computational and communications This pre-service training was followed by vocational skills instruction in course areas such as building trades, auto mechanics, air conditioning/refrigeration, metal work, secretarial science, catering, drafting, masonry and plumbing. At the completion of their programs the OICI job component helped graduates to obtain employment in their fields of specialization.

Between 1976 and 1978 the second wave of OICI Africa Programs opened in Zambia, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Liberia, Gambia and Togo. While programs still focused on urban youths as the target beneficiaries of vocational skills training, new programs expanded their base to include business management development and agriculture. In Togo and Gambia OICI helped shape agricultural training programs to teach rural youths practical methods and technologies appropriate to small family farms. In Sierra Leone and Lesotho public and private needs induced OIC to develop courses to stimulate entreprenurship, and upgrade skills of middle management, technical and administrative personnel.

In the 1980's a third generation of programs were established in the African countries of Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Togo, and reflect further changes in the OICI program design. Unlike earlier projects, these new programs were significantly smaller in budget design and required less long term in-country assistance than did their predecessors. After 1982 programs that used to be staffed with six to nine Technical Cooperative Team personnel, were now set up with only three. New programs also focused on job demand creation rather than job placement. Over the last decade changes in prices, world demand and natural disasters had plunged many African nations into severe economic hardship. This had resulted in a reduction of job opportunities and cutbacks in existing employment positions. OICI had to adjust the focus of its curriculum to meet the changing employment needs of African nations. New programs concentrated on the development in rural areas of a diverse
group of self-employment skills, including farming, animal husbandry, and rural vocational trades and business development.

In recent years OICI has placed new emphasis on resource development. This effort were fueled in part by a U.S. AID funding delay that occurred at OICI headquarters in 1981. Since the majority of OICI financial support came from U.S. AID, many overseas programs were adversely affected. Several projects were delayed by as much as 10 months. In order to survive OICI had to reduce its personnel by 50%, which further diminished the organizations' effectiveness to manage its field programs. In 1982 OICI commissioned two independent evaluation consultants to assess the institutional capability of the organization. The evaluation reaffirmed the fact that OICI must diversify and increase its resource funding base to include other kinds of financial support outside of U.S.AID. As a result of OICI in intensified resource development activities, the share of non-U.S. government support in the overall revenue of OICI and its affiliate field programs in 1986 rose to an all-time the high of forty percent. Funds were received from a variety of sources including the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help, the Canadian Center for International Studies and Cooperation, Operations Crossroads Africa, and various U.S. corporations.

A landmark in the history of OICI was the first African Development Conference held March 2-7, 1987 at Togo, Lome. The Conference was attended by 401 OICI program delegates from 19 OIC training centers and interest groups in 13 countries in Africa, the United Kingdom and Canada. They were joined by numerous high level officials of government donor agencies and U.S. corporations,along with representatives from OICs of America and the Opportunities Academy for Management Training. This conference brought together for the first time in one setting the entire OIC international community to undergo training, exchange ideas, and honor key supporters of the OIC movement.

Since its inception twenty years ago OICI has established eighteen training centers around the world. Several OICs in Africa have institutionalized their programs, and secured their own funds for operation, expansion and replication . without OICI financial support. However, these independent institutions remain affiliated to OICI through technical and informational ties. In coming decades OICI hopes to encourage further development of new OIC programs abroad, and to continue to provide innovative solutions and nations alternatives to problems of unemployment and underemployment in developing nations worldwide.


Organized into seven series:
  • Series I: Administration (Box 1)
  • Series II: Executive Directors' Office (Boxes 1-13)
  • Series III: Finance and Administration (Boxes 14-20)
  • Series IV: Planning and Development (Boxes 21-29)
  • Series V: Evaluation Office (Boxes 29-30)
  • Series VI: Audio-Visual Materials (Boxes 31-33)
  • Series VII: Student Files (CLOSED)

The policy-making body of OICI is the Board of Directors. These series contains the records of the Board and its advisory committees. Files are comprised of correspondence, meeting minutes, and reports for the years 1974-1987.


Series I. Administration

Box 1
Board of Directors
Correspondence, 1978-1980
Meeting Minutes, 1977, 1979-1981 (9 folders)
Membership List, 1975
Reports, 1977
OICI Industrial Advisory Committee
Correspondence, 1974-1976
Meeting Minutes and Agendas, 1975
Reports, 1974
OICI Technical Advisory Committee
Correspondence, 1976
Meeting Minutes and Agendas, 1977
Membership Lists, 1975, 1977