Trust for Africa's Orphans

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TAO’s distinctive approach is the secret to the success of our projects. Refined over more than 20 years, our core approach has been proven to put small-scale commercial farming on a sustainable footing – creating lasting change.

Our major projects typically involve around 600 households across a District. Each household is supported through inputs and training over a period of about 3 years to establish self-sustaining farming ventures. Participants are also encouraged to share their skills with neighbours, who join in group training sessions.

Crucially, our projects ensure that the participants and their communities are helped to create the co-operatives and are trained be able to sell in the commercial market. We also address the growing problems associated with climate change, improving sustainability and enriching the land.

Most of our projects include core elements with variations for local needs – such as establishing land ownership, ensuring clean drinking water and improving understanding of sanitation, health and dietary issues.

We are also delighted to manage smaller projects. See Our projects for the full range of our work.

Key success drivers

Community involvement

Communities take ownership of projects and outcomes, defining the needs and approach, and sharing lessons learnt with other households.

Local communities define their projects’ needs and approach, ensuring they own the projects. Similarly, beneficiaries provide much of the labour and repay goats by giving goat-kids to neighbours – all building ownership and self-sufficiency.

In-depth, practical training over about 3 years ensures families and communities develop the skills, confidence and networks needed to achieve lasting change.

Where needed, families are helped to secure the ownership of their land.

TAO’s expertise and close monitoring ensure strong project and financial management and identifies when additional support is needed – e.g. linking communities with organisations giving healthcare or education support.

When neighbours see the success, they quickly want to adopt the same successful approaches, creating a multiplier effect.

House + water tank

New houses with corrugated iron roofs allow water to be collected in 5,000 litre tanks, providing clean drinking water and saving hours of carrying heavy water containers.

Typical projects

Our major projects typically include:

  • Teaching local people to train their community in agricultural skills.
  • Giving participants start-up inputs, with associated training, typically: seeds for crops &/or tree nurseries, goats &/or pigs, bee hives and farming tools.
  • Helping communities to establish local government and commercial networks and partnerships to sell their produce, and secure storage facilities and other infrastructure.
  • Supporting communities to identify environmental issues and addressing them, including providing tree seeds or seedlings.
  • Where there is a widespread problem of land dispossession, training locals as Community Legal Aid Providers to facilitate mediation of cases.
  • Educating communities about related issues, especially:
    • HIV and other infectious and water-borne diseases
    • Hygiene and sanitation
    • Land, women and children’s rights.
Goat presentation

A new goat is introduced to a woman farmer.

Depending on a community’s needs, projects may also include add-ons, eg:

  • Construction of large (5,000 litre) ferro-concrete water tanks to collect rain-water and provide clean drinking water. These tanks have high durability and low maintenance, and the construction technique can be taught locally.
  • The construction of exemplar houses and latrines to encourage others to build better houses & improve their hygiene.
  • Encouraging the take-up of vocational training.