Trust for Africa's Orphans

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Nov 24 2008

“Addicted to aid?” (BBC Panorama, 24th November 2008)

Those who watched the Panorama programme on aid to Uganda will be understandably upset that some aid is misplaced and does not go to the poorest people who really need it. But not all aid is misplaced. Trust for Africa’s Orphans, like other reputable NGOs, carries out strict monitoring and evaluation of all its programmes.

We provide motorcycles and bicycles, not 4 x 4s, for staff working on our projects. And we are committed to three key principles:

  • We work with African communities, understanding their heritage, values and customs, and do not seek to impose European or Western styles of charitable assistance where this might cause long term cultural conflicts.
  • We work only on projects which allow orphans, and the families who care for them, to remain in their local environs. We understand the basic African spirit of community and family land ownership and do not seek to displace children or villages.
  • While our projects are run as separate and distinct programmes with clearly defined objectives and timescales, allowing us to measure the positive impact we are able to make, they are also designed to be sustainable once we have left. And yes we follow that up also.

Now the civil war in Uganda’s Northern region has ended we are helping people like 17-year-old Esther. When her parents died her uncles evicted her, her siblings and other members of her extended family from the family home and land. She is the head of the household. So Esther had neither shelter nor the ability to grow food. With our local partners, Uganda’s Facilitation for Peace and Development (FAPAD) and Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO), and thanks to support from the Baring and Ellerman Foundations who have just returned from an inspection visit to the region, we are training local people as paralegals to help cases like Esther’s.

Now her land and property rights have been restored Esther can start growing food not only for her family but also, helped by our expert advice on sustainable agriculture, to produce enough to sell and provide income.

Iain Knapman, chairman TAO
Joy Mugisha, UK coordinator TAO