"It's a beautiful school. Well done African Promise!"
Emily Kituri, Area Education Officer
“None of us ever thought the school would be built to this standard.”
Mercy Marigo, former volunteer teacher at Ngambenyi
This year, for the first time, we have chosen to publish our annual report as an integrated page on our website rather than to produce a printed booklet as we have done in recent years. We do so because we believe doing it this way offers the flexibility and opportunity to provide you with more engaging content and information in a way that a physical document does not.
One new school
1 millionth lunch
Record project expenditure
It was another busy and successful 12 months in our partner schools. Here are just a few highlights:
A new school at Ngambenyi
After more than 18 months of tireless work from our building team, we completed a major redevelopment of Ngambenyi Primary, our seventh partner school, in December 2016. Though not our biggest single school upgrade in terms of size or expense, we do believe that it is our best to date and has set a benchmark for future projects and our existing partner schools. We are very grateful to Hazel’s Footprints Trust who have been our partner for this project and who have provided more than £110,000 for the works.
Continued investment in infrastructure
We have continued our on-going investment in the infrastructure of our other existing partner schools both to build new facilities and replace worn out ones. This has been particularly focused at Kisimenyi Primary where we have built a number of additional classrooms, a kitchen and multi-unit staff house, bringing our total capital expenditure at this school alone to more than £250,000!
Funding of further teaching posts
In the year we doubled the number of teaching positions we fund from 8 to 16. This was both to create additional, new posts and also to take over the funding of existing posts previously funded by parents, which was necessary to ensure that the funds provided by parents were spread less thinly such that all non-government employed teachers are now paid equally. At the year end we were funding at least one additional teacher in each of our partner schools. Find out more about why we do this here
Responding to the drought
The entire East Africa region faced a severe drought in the latter half of 2016 and first part of 2017. This saw an almost total lack of rainfall in our project area for the best part of a year and resulted in shortages of water and spiralling costs of food. Despite this, we managed to maintain delivery of our lunch programme throughout the year and even extended it to reach 100 more pupils at three ‘feeder’ pre-schools serving Kisimenyi Primary School; we now feed 2,750 children every school day. The total cost of the programme in the year was around £37,500 but we expect it to be much higher in 2017/18 due to the increased price of food.
To ensure water supplies were maintained in our partner schools, we resorted to shipping in bowsers of clean water from outside our project area. In all, between January and March, when shortages were at their worst, we delivered some 150,000 litres of water at a cost of about £1,600, which was funded with proceeds from our emergency water appeal.
All-in-all, it was another record-breaking year for the charity with more funds spent on our projects and programmes than ever before, more teaching positions funded and more lunches delivered. The stats speak for themselves!
Project & programme expenditure
2015/16 = £170,348
2015/16 = 478,575
Teacher salaries funded
2015/16 = 8
Plans for 2017/18 and beyond
All our partner schools remain at various stages of their physical development but over the next 2-3 years we are aiming to complete these works and to equip all seven schools with similar facilties built to a similar standard. We estimate this will require an investment of approximately £250,000 in renovation and construction works.
We have also earmarked our likely eighth partner school. Whilst not geographically the next school in our project area, Mkamenyi Primary School is the next school most in need of our experience and expertise. It is an added advantage that the headmaster, Nicholus Mutui, is a man we know well and have a good relationship with having previously worked together at two of our existing partner schools. The problems at the school are an all too familiar story: dilapidated buildings with rusting roofs, gaping holes in unplastered walls, and crumbling, pot-holed floors; a lack of sufficient furniture forcing many children to sit on the concrete floor; and a complete absence of any water supply or food. We estimate that the works at Mkamenyi, which would benefit more than 600 pupils, could cost up to £250,000 and we hope to commence work later in 2018 or early 2019.
It was a year of exciting new ventures and opportunities on the fundraising front as we looked to reach new audiences and diversify our income. These activites resulted in total income for the year of £145,154, which fell just short of our target of £147,500.
Our first public fundraising event
Our first ever public fundraising event, a Christmas Carol Service in London, was a resounding success. Nearly 300 guests joined us at St Giles-in-the-Fields Church for an evening of traditional carol singing, entertaining performances from a gospel choir and classical soloist, as well as readings from Brian Blessed OBE and Victoria Hamilton. The evening raised a total of around £8,000. We will be hosting the event again in 2017 and we hope to add other events to the calendar in due course.
New website & media
In September 2016 we launched this brand new, mobile responsive website, kindly built for us at no cost by the talented team at Noisy Little Monkey. The site is a significant upgrade from the previous version and will allow us to deliver much more regular updates and new content. In 2017/18 we will begin using Google AdWords to drive more traffic to this website and to promote fundraising appeals, events and places in challenge events. We continue to invest in Facebook advertising to reach new audiences and ensure our content is delivered to more people.
US fundraising trip
In the summer of 2016 our CEO spent two weeks in the US meeting friends and supporters of our two ambassadors, Suzanne Payne and Carrie Hall Schalter. Suzanne is originally from Tennessee and Carrie lives in Detroit. The trip included a number of public and private engagements, including talks at Rotary meetings, a radio show interview, and a fundraising soiree, all of which offered the opportunity to build networks, reach new audiences and to further endorse the wonderful fundraising efforts of both Suzanne and Carrie.
Throughout the year we ran a number of public fundraising appeals. To raise funds to purchase water for our schools we launched an emergency water appeal that raised a total £2,033 in public donations and a further £5,000 from a trust, whilst to raise additional funds for the lunch programme in the face of unbudgeted price rise we launched a drought appeal that raised nearly £2,000. Our Christmas appeal, run in partnership with the BigGive Christmas Challenge, saw donations matched by funds pledged by a group of major donors and this raised a total of £7,885 including matching funds.
These activities and concerted efforts have helped to widen the charity’s supporter base, reduce our reliance on any single donor, and to increase the proportion of unrestricted income, which is borne out in the figures below.
Total funds raised
2015/16 = £182,764
2015/16 = 238
2015/16 = 14%
Most income from one donor
2015/16 = 33%
Plans for 2017/18
In 2017/18 we will aim to build on these achievements and are targeting a total of 500 individual donations, year-on-year donor number growth of 20-25%, and unrestricted income levels of at least 60%. We will continue to make a number of very targeted investments in fundraising including purchase of places in challenge events and a first-ever promotional film.
A lean, mean machine
We remain a very lean and small charity. Our team consists of just three members of staff: our founder and CEO Charles, who divides his time between the UK and Kenya, our long-serving Project Manager Denis, and relatively recent addition to the team as Office Manager and Administrator, Brian. We operate out of home or from a very humble, basically equipped little office space in our project area which we rent for just £40 a month. In the year we invested in a small motorbike for the project team to get around our project area – within a year it has already paid for itself in the savings it has made on the costs of hiring motorbike taxis.
Providing employment opportunities
Across our building projects we provided casual employment for more than 120 locals as masons, carpenters and labourers, totalling more than 10,500 days of paid work in an area where job and income opportunities are hard to come by. Additionally, our use of local businesses, contractors and suppliers, has further extended the impact of our work in the area. We passionately believe in employing skilled locals to do our building work rather than expecting parents to do it voluntarily or, worse still, recruiting groups of unskilled volunteers to do it.
New Chairman appointed
In December 2016, we appointed Chris Ott as a new Chairman of the Trustees to work alongside Charles. Chris spent some time in Kasigau earlier in the year to get a feel for and better understanding of our work and has written about some of his observations from that trip as a first-time visitor to the area. We expect to make additional Trustee appointments in 2017/18 to ensure the Board is equipped with the suitable skills and experience for a growing charity.READ MORE FROM CHRIS
The Trustees are pleased to report that the charity is in a healthy financial position.
The accounts for 2016/17 show a deficit of income (£145,154) against expenditure (£218,610) of £73,457, however this was due to the spending down of restricted funding accrued from previous financial years. The year closed with total funds of £75,333, of which £40,124 was held in restricted funds and the remainder in unrestricted funds/reserves.
We would like to thank the following for their support in the year.
Suzanne Payne | Carrie Hall Schalter | Allan & Nesta Ferguson Trust | Souter Charitable Trust | Educational & General Charitable Trust | PF Charitable Trust | Molitor Charitable Trust | Southworth & Co | Noisy Little Monkey | Aspect Capital | Hazel’s Footprints Trust | West Heath School | Hampden Capital
How you too can support us
Make a one-time donation by cheque, cash or card, or set-up a regular donation by direct debit.DONATE
Raise vital funds for us and help spread the word about our work. We can provide you with all the support you will need to make your fundraising a success.START FUNDRAISING
If you represent a trust, company or other organisation and would like to find out more about partnering with us we would be delighted to hear from you.PARTNER WITH US