Dan’s Blog – End of year review and Christmas preparations

Dan Mew

If you had a chance to read my blog posts last month, you might know I recently returned from a two-week trip to Kenya and Zanzibar.

I managed to coincide the staff training and conferences we held with several volunteer groups travelling during our half-term programme, so it was great to be in-country again with volunteers for the first time since the beginning of the year.

Dan's Blog - Pamela speaking at staff training in Kenya

The groups worked extremely hard in both countries and we have received some great feedback from them, as well as confirmation that they will be travelling again!

I am now back in the UK and delighted to welcome Beth to African Adventures, who is joining the UK team as our new Finance & Admin Officer. She recently left a post with a national charity in order to work with us and I know she will fit in well.

October and November is an incredibly busy recruitment period of the year for us, so I have to say thanks in particular to our groups teams, who are travelling the length and breadth of the country in order to get our 2016 volunteers on board. I am pleased to say that 2016 will be another record-breaking year for us and everybody in the team is looking forward to the challenge of delivering another great programme of trips and meaningful volunteer work.

Dan's Blog - Westgate mixing cement at Rema

Elsewhere in the office, Tom, our Projects & Foundation Co-ordinator, has his attentions firmly focused on the 2015 Volunteer Impact Review, which measures the success we have made as an organisation over the past 12 months. It is a large project to oversee because we have to confirm exactly what our volunteers have been able to do at our partner schools. However, it is an exciting time as well because the tail-end of this initiative culminates in the publication of our 2016 Community Development Pledge, which will be ready in the New Year.

We also have one of our biggest fundraising drives of the year on – our Christmas Meal Appeal. For the past five years, African Adventures has funded Christmas parties at each of our partner projects. The sad reality is that many of the children who attend the projects will not have a proper Christmas. Whilst Christmas will certainly not be a sad time, we have gone to great lengths in years gone by to make the end of the calendar year as special as we can afford, by funding Christmas dinners – usually consisting of meat, a vegetable medley and rice with fruit to finish – to celebrate. Given that 100% of all donations goes to the projects, just £1 will fund four Christmas meals.

Dan's Blog - Christmas Meal Appeal

We need to raise £5,000 in order to fund Christmas meals and parties at each of the projects we work with. We have made a great start already, having smashed the £650 barrier and we are still in the early stretches of November but we obviously have some way to go. So whilst you’re doing your Christmas shopping, please spare anything you can, safe the knowledge that it is going to an incredibly worthwhile cause. Just click here to donate.

Alternatively, if you can’t afford to donate but still want to help, you can just create an account in support of African Adventures Foundation at Easy Fundraising. Just by shopping online – from food and drink to Christmas presents – thousands of retailers have committed to donating a small percentage of your purchase to our registered charity.

Dan's Blog - Christmas Meal Appeal

Lastly, the African Adventures team has rallied together once more and will be at the Eastleigh Christmas Market when the lights get turned on during Saturday 21st November. We’ll be selling some festive food and drink with some African souvenirs, so do pop by if you can!

All the best,