Last week, I was asked to go and visit the Mums for Mums centre to help them to help them out with the redevelopment of their website. Mums for Mums is a local NGO which helps women into work by giving them training and childcare, plus much more. They’ve recently won a grant of 100,000 USD from the Stars foundation to expand their activities. This is a huge amount of money for a relatively small NGO in Ethiopia.
They’d like to revamp their existing website so they can better advertise the work and projects they’re able to undertake with the new funds. The current site was built by a VSO volunteer when she was working in Mekelle a few years ago – she worked at the Computer Science department at the University and started the elearning project that I worked on last year. As she has now left Ethiopia, I feel it would be more appropriate if the office staff could keep the site up to date themselves, rather than depending on someone abroad to do this for them.
My first task in this work is to write a proposal they can send to Stars, so at least they can show they’ve started thinking and planning how their website will be renovated.
Updating the site to use a content management system (not sure which one we’ll use yet) and training the staff will be straightforward enough. The more complex facility that they’d like is the ability for people to donate money online, as they receive many offers of donations, often from people in the UK. Currently there are two ways in which money can be donated. Either by transferring money directly into the Mums for Mums bank account in Mekelle, or by donating through a partner charity (Friends of Ethiopian Children in Need – FECIN) in the UK.
Neither of these methods are ideal, transferring money directly by international transfer is expensive (approx 40 GBP per transfer) and so is only appropriate for very large donations. Using a partner charity in the UK means they are dependent on this other charity.
We had a discussion about how we can find a solution for this, but is difficult as Mums for Mums is not a registered charity in the UK and so can’t use (for example) the JustGiving website. Registering as a UK charity may be a solution, but they’ll need representation in the UK, plus all the associated paperwork.
If anyone has any suggestions as to how we could find a good solution to this problem would be gratefully received. There must be many other NGOs around the world who receive donations from the UK without being registered as a UK charity, so we’d be interested to hear any possible solutions. Please either leave a comment below or email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org)