Global Development Course to be held at AfriKids’ office


AfriKids is proud to be hosting the Global Development Course at our London offices next month. The course, run by Ethical Events, has been attended by several of our staff and comes highly recommended for anyone working in, studying or just interested in international development. The intensive 2 week course covers a huge range of subjects including sustainable development, human security, health, education, finance in development and much more, presented by a range of expert speakers including university lecturers and industry professionals.


For more details, please see their website: or contact the course administrator, Marja, at

Blue Sky Travel is Launched!


We’re happy to announce that AfriKids’ newest social enterprise, AfriKids Blue Sky Travel Ltd. (BST) is ready for take-off!


Uniting guests with Ghana’s beautiful Upper East and Northern Regions, BST promotes responsible travel in Ghana through a range of immersive, experiential learning trips which benefit both host communities and guests, as well as unique tours and treks which bring to life the rich local culture and heritage for travellers.


The culmination of over ten years of trip management and hosting in Ghana, BST, now its own separately registered company, captures AfriKids’ wealth of industry experience, combining everything is has learnt with a unique model of immersive travel which celebrates all that this overlooked corner of Africa has to offer. In addition, BST is also a reliable logistics company, providing domestic flight, accommodation and transport booking services throughout Ghana.


So how do AfriKids and BST work together? Separately registered entities, AfriKids owns BST and outsources all of its donor and supporter trips to it, whilst BST also works closely with AfriKids in order that it can offer educational insight into international development, in a meaningful and responsible way. This is a unique enterprise/NGO partnership with a commitment to transforming the socio-economic environment of Ghana’s Upper East Region. 100% of the profits from BST fund AfriKids Ghana’s operations in-country.


If you have ever considered visiting Ghana or would be interested in learning more about our work and international development, check out our new website and learn more about the trips we have on offer, or get in touch:, +44 (0) 207 269 0750.

Live Below The Line – “Why I’ve signed up again”

AfriKids’ Head of Campaigns, Liam Nolan, write about why he’s signed up to this year’s Live Below The Line campaign and why you should too…



As the coordinator for AfriKids’ Live Below The Line efforts, it’s my job is to encourage people to take part in the challenge. It hardly seems fair to do so without signing up myself, so here I am.


I’m taking part in Live Below The Line because of what last year’s challenge taught me:


1. This is not about me

Yes, I have my own fundraising  page and it will be me taking part, but I won’t be asking for funds in recognition of my efforts. Me taking part in Live Below The Line is a way to highlight the fact that my five-day ‘challenge’ is one unwilling taken every single day of the year for 1.2 billion people world wide. This is not about me.


2. People are very generous

Friends, family and strangers all got behind my efforts and I raised over £300 last year. AfriKids is an organisation doing amazing work – I know this because I work for them in the UK and hear on a daily basis of the lives changed by my colleagues in Ghana. If I can do something personally that helps tap into people’s generosity, then I’ll give it a shot.


3. £5 does not go far

It really doesn’t. For me, a £3 supermarket sandwich deal is what I’d usually consider a cheap lunch. Trying to live off £5 for five full day’s worth of food gave me a real perspective of what ‘cheap’ means and what luxury I live my life in for the other 360 days in the year. Remembering that £5 does not go far is a cold hard reminder that – sorry for the repetition – this is not about me. 1.2 billion people worldwide face this daily.


Join me and sign up to Live Below The Line here 

Sponsored events in 2015


If you want to get involved in a challenge this year, get in touch with and ask about any of the below…


Superhero Fun Run: 17th May – a fun run for all of the family, minimum age is 8. The superhero suit is provided free of charge on race day!


Nightrider Cycle: 6th June – 100km of cycling through the starlit streets of London!


The Colour Run (these are all over the country) London: 7th June – the most fun race on the planet! Prepare to get messy!


British 10K: 12th July – the most famous 10k in Britain!


Run to the Beat: 13th September – run 10k as DJs give you your backing music!


Royal Parks: 11th October – the only half marathon in London, places sell out fast!

Local difference and the challenge of scaling up

AfriKids’ Director of Programme Funding, Sally Vivyan, writes about making a difference and the challenges of scaling up development…




Michael Hobbes’ interesting piece in New Republic caught our eye recently. In his article which implores us to “Stop Trying to Save the World”, Hobbes’ offers several cautionary tales about the current trend in development funding for bringing ideas ‘to scale’. Most poignant perhaps is the tale of the seemingly excellent ‘play pump’ idea which in some places provides a playful yet effective way of providing clean water, but when brought to scale turned out to hit challenges of maintenance, replication and even accusations of child labour!


Demand for ideas that can be scaled up is certainly high and it’s a requirement that AfriKids often stumbles against when developing funding relationships. It’s not that we don’t want to find solutions to problems that will work across northern Ghana and further afield when shared with fellow NGOs. It’s that we know it’s not that simple. As Hobbes says:


“The repeated “success, scale, fail” experience of the last 20 years of development practice suggests something super boring: Development projects thrive or tank according to the specific dynamics of the place in which they’re applied.”


An example of this hit home on a recent visit to AfriKids Ghana’s Talensi Nabdam Area Programme. Having heard the previous day about the challenges of finding viable gaps in the market for New Beginnings beneficiaries to inhabit with their new vocational skills in Bolgatanga, I was expecting to hear similar tales of woe in Talensi. But the situation couldn’t have been more different. In the village of Dakoto we met Dok (pictured centre above), a carpenter trained under the first phase of New Beginnings who had now set up business as the first and only carpenter in his home community. He is now employing two apprentices who are benefitting from the next phase of New Beginnings and the three of them are kept busy by a steady stream of work. The difference being that Talensi Nabdam is a district with a growing mining industry and therefore has growing villages with need of services that hadn’t previously existed. Yet it is just one hour’s drive away from Bolgatanga, a more established urban centre where the market for carpenters is saturated. It was a clear reminder that taking your time to understand local difference and tweaking a programme’s approach accordingly is crucial to making sustainable change. Yes we can train carpenters anywhere in the Upper East and fulfil the terms of our programme plan but if we want to really contribute to the region’s development there needs to be a more considered and flexible approach to the support we give young people.


Hobbes likens the situation to an ecosystem; “… each forest floor or coral reef, is the result of millions of interactions between its constituent parts, a balance of all the aggregated adaptations of plants and animals to their climate and each other. Adding a non-native species, or removing one that has always been there, changes these relationships in ways that are too intertwined and complicated to predict.”


His conclusion is that “Successful programs should be allowed to expand by degrees, not digits.” An approach that AfriKids is also committed to; gradually testing and expanding our programmes in a sustainable way. If you’d like to read more about the programmes set to grow in the next few years I suggest you take a look at the Family Livelihoods Support Programme and the Education Bridge.