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Senior Nina Francisco is one of 18 finalists participating in the Miss Africa USA Pageant Nov. 13. in Silver Springs, Maryland. She is representing Angola, where she was born, though she later moved to South Africa where she became interested in equal rights issues. As a sociology major, Nina has had the opportunity to learn about a number of social struggles.

photo courtesy of Nina Francisco

Last year,  Nina interned with Universal Giving, a  San Francisco organization that works to, in its own words, “create a world where giving and volunteering are a natural part of everyday life.”  It was an experience that inspired Nina to seek venues to support her community.

The Miss Africa USA Pageant “empowers and encourages young African women leaders in the US to make a difference in their communities in Africa, in the US, and around the world.” This pageant came to Nina as the perfect opportunity to put her skills in action and work toward the cause of education reform in Africa, an issue about which she has become passionate.

The platform she has adopted in the pageant is titled “Children First”. She will focus on promoting and raising awareness of the “importance of basic education in African communities and African-American communities.” Approximately “40 percent of young Africans over the age of 15 are illiterate.” It is this shocking statistic that inspired her to focus on the need to change education in Africa.

Nina says: “I am passionate about education. I believe it is so important to empower young African people.” She chose this platform because “education in Africa means a future full of bright young people, a future full of leaders, politicians, teachers, educators, you name it.” She is currently collaborating with the MacDella Cooper Foundation that works to raise awareness of the importance of basic education in the lives of young African children. This charitable organization is dedicated to “providing youth, especially orphans and abandoned children, with an education and the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter.”

Through her work, Nina hopes to “ensure a promising future for Africa and Africans.” In the years to come she will continue to pursue her vision, and she plans to start her own social entrepreneurial business.

Nina can be supported in her cause for education reform by “liking” her Facebook page ‘Nina Francisco Miss Angola 2011’ and voting for her for the People’s Choice Award by visiting ‘’.

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