Alongside Africa is a tiny charity: half a dozen people generally working from their homes in Kent to support an even smaller handful based across Uganda.
The charity’s mission and ethos is very specific. Rather than donating aid to the communities that it serves, it works to provide opportunities for people to take charge of their own development, with a view to creating self-sustaining communities in which everybody is able to make a living.
Lawrance Titterton is the charity’s Chairman. “We’re a very small organisation, and funding is extremely limited,” he says. “Nevertheless, we know that at any one time we might have six or seven hundred people reliant on us. By providing these opportunities, our impact spreads very widely.”
Alongside Africa has recently received a selection of Skype credit vouchers as a donation via the technology exchange.
Adoption of Skype has addressed what has always been a huge challenge – and expense – for the charity: the practicalities of communication.
“We couldn’t operate without it”
“We use Skype extensively,” explains Lawrance. “There are very few landlines in Uganda, and it is very expensive to call from here to mobiles. Traditionally we would be spending a couple of hours a week on these international calls.”
“Now we frequently use Skype-to-Skype or, where Internet access is poor, Skype-to-Mobile. This can be for board meetings or group discussions; for example I was using it to talk to our Finance Manager in Uganda last night, and we have a virtual meeting planned for today. This facility is invaluable; we couldn’t operate without it.”
The donated credit vouchers will in effect release the equivalent sum in cash to be used towards the charity’s latest initiative on the ground.
“We’re setting up a new street children programme, and this gets us a little bit closer to being able to start the project,” says Lawrance.
“Normally our communication costs have to come out of the charity’s main funds, or even have to be borne by our volunteers themselves.”
|Who are they?||Alongside Africa|
|Where are they?||The UK and Uganda|
|What do they do?||Help create opportunities for communities in Africa|
|How big are they?||Around 10 people in the UK and Uganda|
|What did they receive?||Skype credit vouchers|
|The outcome?||Cost savings to put towards a new street children project|
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