Trust for Africa's Orphans

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Jan 22 2017

Footballing heroes support TAO

We are delighted to announce that 30 fit, enthusiastic, dedicated Footballing Heroes are going to play 5-a-side football for a whole 24 hours in a great Football Challenge to raise funds for Trust for Africa’s Orphans.

Six teams will do battle, through the night, from Friday 14th to Saturday 15th April 2017, at Yateley Manor School, Hampshire. The latest news will be posted on the TAO 24 Hour Charity Football Facebook page.

We are extremely grateful to our Director, Pete Burnham, for organised this major fundraising event.

Please support us by supporting these Heroes, via their Virgin Money Giving page.

24-hour football challenge



Aug 25 2016

TAO’s 2015 Annual Report announces new agri-business project

TAO Annual ReportTrust for Africa’s Orphans (TAO) is delighted to publish the TAO Annual Report 2015, which includes an announcement of a new agri-business project funded principally by Comic Relief.

This new three year agri-business project in northern Uganda’s Pader District reflects the great success of our previous Comic Relief-funded project elsewhere in Pader, which was completed in January 2015. The new project commenced in April 2016 and is detailed in our Current Projects.

The second highlight of 2015 was the commencement of our project to improve girls’ school attendance by making available affordable sanitary towels, which was discussed in our news piece, A simple solution to a huge problem.

Throughout 2015 we also continued our in-depth project to build community understanding of and commitment to land, women’s and children’s rights, a project generously funded by the Baring and Ellerman Foundations. Deprived of their right to land, women and children have no means to generate an income, with the result that many had only one meal a day and no way out of poverty. Previous efforts to address the deep-seated problems had failed. We are therefore delighted at the results from our in-depth work, which has been developed through very close involvement of the local community.

Chairman, Iain Knapman, said:

“I am very excited about our projects and the fundamental changes they are achieving in northern Uganda, which has such tremendous needs. We are extremely grateful for the continuing support of Comic Relief. I also particularly want to thank our primary delivery partner, TAO Uganda, for implementing our projects so successfully during 2015.”

The Annual Report was approved at our Annual General Meeting on 24 August 2016. The Chairman also announced the sad death of Richard Crowson CMG on 11 April 2016. Richard was involved with TAO from its beginning in 1993 and was Chair from 1996 until 2007. He continued as a Director until 2009 and since then been an enthusiastic Patron. TAO will miss him greatly.

Feb 23 2016

TAO welcomes new Treasurer

Trust for Africa’s Orphans is delighted to announce the appointment of Steve Peckham as Treasurer.

Steve has been a Finance Director for 17 years and brings strong accounting, team leadership, problem-solving and many other skills to his role at TAO. After qualifying as an accountant with KPMG and working in a number of its offices, Steve joined EMI Records to lead their internal audit function before acting as Finance Director in South Africa for 3.5 years. On returning to UK, he became Group Finance Director of Virgin Megastores Group, culminating in leading the management buy out of the UK Megastores business from Virgin Group in 2007.

Iain Knapman, Chairman of TAO, said:

“We warmly welcome Steve to TAO and look forward to working with him. Steve brings excellent skills and experience and we are delighted that he has joined our Board.

“We are, however, extremely sorry that Steve’s appointment reflects the retirement of Jim Rattray. Jim has been our Treasurer since joining TAO in 1999 and has provided invaluable input to our financial management. Jim was the driving force behind the development of our Monitoring and Elevation system and he regularly visited our projects in Uganda, enabling him to contribute a detailed knowledge of what works in practice to our project management and planning.

“Jim has been an enormously committed, valuable and positive member of our Board. Compassionate, altruistic and immensely generous, he will be solely missed. We wish Jim and his family the very best for the future.”

Dec 27 2015

Two Trustees needed to transform lives

Helping orphans

Our Trustees create life-long opportunities for thousands of orphans

Financial and accounting expert?  OR

Experienced in African agriculture?

As we sadly farewell two long-standing Trustee / Directors, we’re seeking two experts with experience and passion for transforming lives in Africa.

The great bulk of our funding goes to our Ugandan projects, so our UK office has only two staff members. Our Trustees / Directors therefore play a key, hands-on role. You will need to be willing to commit to Board meetings and meetings with the staff during working-hours, and to travelling to Uganda every few years for 1-2 weeks (at a time that suits you).

Treasurer: You’ll have expertise in finance and accounting matters, knowledge of the Sage accounting system, and the experience of business management in an African context needed to take oversight of the expenditure by our Ugandan partner organisations.

Agricultural expert: You’ll have the understanding of agricultural and sustainable development issues in Africa be able to help develop project plans and prepare winning fundraising proposals, and to provide oversight and input to the effective implementation of agri-business projects by our African partners.

Trustee visiting project

Trustee / Director visiting one of our projects.

We are recruiting for the above two roles. But if you’d like to help us but either don’t bring these specific skills or are unable to commit to the time required, please do get in touch to discuss other opportunities.

See our Jobs & volunteer roles page for details of roles and application process.

Dec 07 2015

A simple solution to a huge problem

A staggering 80% of girls in Uganda drop out of primary education. For 30% of these girls, the key reason is the combination of the stigma around menstruation and the unaffordability of disposable sanitary pads. TAO’s most recent project provides a simple, but highly effective solution: re-useable, washable sanitary pads, combined with awareness raising.

This issue has received a lot of media attention in Uganda, for example this New Vision article shares girls’ stories behind his tragic waste of future opportunities. It tells of girls resorting to using inadequate and unhygienic rags, suffering humiliating bullying and being forced to share latrines with boys – many of whom have no understanding of menstruation. Even at home the taboos mean girls attempt to dry the rags out of sight, with the result that they often wear dangerously damp and bacterially-infested cloth.

Millions of girls miss up to 18 days per term – including exam days. They usually end up dropping out of school. Others try to raise money to buy sanitary pads, including engaging in transactional sex, which puts them at risk of HIV and STI infection. And orphan girls have it particularly hard, often having no one to turn to for information and advice.

Overwhelming reasons to reduce girls’ drop-out rate in Uganda:

  • Over 30% of Ugandan girls have their first baby by 18
  • HIV infection rates 9x higher in girls than boys of same age
  • One of the highest maternal death rates in the world, 25% due to unsafe abortions
  • Increasing female literacy by 10% lowers infant mortality rate by 10%

For every 1,000 girls completing one additional year of schooling, 2 maternal deaths and c.45 infant deaths would be prevented.

Short video from Atan Primary School (click on caption for video)

To address this huge problem, Scott Bader Commonwealth has funded TAO to run a pilot project in Kole District to establish a self-sustaining social enterprise producing re-usable, washable sanitary pads at an affordable price. By making a small profit on the sales it will generate the income it needs to be self-sustaining.

Our project provides the sewing machines, initial materials required and provision of a secure room for production and storage of the pads. In addition, we are constructing latrines for girls. As this Guardian article reports, Ugandan Government statistics show that for every 71 pupils there is only one latrine, meaning that it’s typically shared by boys and girls.

Crucially, female teachers will also provide health education to girls, covering reproductive health and providing a comfortable environment for the girls to discuss menstruation, puberty and relations with boys.

By creating an effective and self-sustaining approach, we hope it will be adopted widely across Uganda by other local authorities and schools, and/or by the national government. Already the President of Uganda has expressed great interest in this project. Moreover, as our 22 years of working in Uganda has demonstrated, communities are likely to be quick to adopt effective models and we hope that the enterprise will be adopted to help women of all ages.

This is a pilot project, intended to explore approaches and develop ways to change attitudes, as well as establish a self-sustaining social-enterprise. This means that the project is changing as it goes along. See Current projects for further details.