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Corporate Responsibility

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Allen & Overy's global charity partnership with AfriKids ends on a high

22 May 2014

In May 2012, A&O launched a two-year global partnership with AfriKids, a small but impressive charity that has set itself a unique defined end goal: to close its UK fundraising operations by 2018.

The partnership came to an end in May 2014, having exceeded all expectations. It has been ‘Highly Commended’ in the FT Innovative Lawyers Awards and also in the Business Charity Awards 2014.
 
Allen & Overy’s initial aim was to raise GBP250,000 to cover the cost of running AfriKids’ Next Generation Home for street and trafficked children for two years. A&O also committed to provide pro bono support to a number of key AfriKids projects both in the UK and Ghana.
 
In total A&O has contributed GBP1.37 million to AfriKids over the past two years
 
This is made up of:
 
·         Over GBP832,500 of fundraising and donations - more than trebling A&O's initial target
·         Over GBP506,000 worth of legal and non-legal pro bono support. A&O staff volunteered time on 35 key AfriKids projects
·         GBP31,500 worth of in-kind support through hosting events and providing printing and design services for AfriKids in Ghana and the UK
·         A&O also mobilised the support of Ghanaian relationship firm, AB & David, who have so far provided 350 hours of free legal advice on the ground to AfriKids
 
A truly global effort
 

“One of the things that strikes me most about the success of our partnership,” says A&O senior partner David Morley, who visited Ghana in 2012, “is the genuinely global effort from across A&O. 39 of our offices have taken part in some way – either by fundraising, volunteering or donating money – making this by far the most global charity partnership we’ve had.”

Indeed, 75 people – partners, associates, PAs and professional support staff – from across 22 offices travelled to Ghana to take part in the AfriKids Experience Challenge, living and working with families in the Upper East Region, one of the poorest parts of the world with current poverty rates of 88%.
 
A significant pro bono effort
 
“A&O’s support has given AfriKids financial stability and carried us through challenging times,” explains George Fienberg, founder and international director of AfriKids.
 
“Something that really stands out for me is the quality of the pro bono work A&O has done,” she continues. “It can often be an area where the effort outweighs the benefit to the charity, but A&O’s pro bono support – both legal and non-legal – has been high-level and planned from the outset to support our strategic goals. That’s been a real stand-out achievement for me.”
 
A key pro bono project was helping to prepare the business plan for AfriKids’ first microfinance institution, and preparing the programme for a scale-up that will allow vital support to be provided to thousands more women. Providing individuals – particularly women – with the means to earn and control their own money is one of the most effective ways of breaking the cycle of poverty and dependence. It is therefore central to AfriKids' sustainability goal.
 
The impact and future for AfriKids
 
By raising GBP250,000 (after just nine months) A&O funded the running costs of the Next Generation Home for two years, meaning:
·         59 vulnerable young people, who would otherwise have been living on the street, were given long term residential care
·         21 children were successfully resettled into safe family environments
·         20 disadvantaged street children made use of the NGH’s drop in services to access basic facilities and gain some respite from life on the streets
 
Having met the initial target, A&O was able to broaden its objectives and, in particular, support AfriKids’ social enterprise businesses in Ghana, such as the award-winning AfriKids Medical Centre and upcoming ventures in tourism and hospitality.
 
It is AfriKids’ aim that by 2018, these local activities and businesses will generate enough income to fund the child rights work of AfriKids Ghana, making it independent from overseas aid and allowing AfriKids UK to close its fundraising operations.
 
“AfriKids is such an impressive charity,” says A&O’s managing partner Wim Dejonghe, “and a rare example of an organisation that is working towards a defined end goal.
 
“David [Morley] and I both visited AfriKids’ projects in Ghana and were lucky to see first-hand the impact they’re having in this remote area,” he continues. “The AfriKids staff there, as well as in the UK, are incredible people. We’re very proud of the effort A&O has made to support their work.”
 
Georgie Fienberg concludes: “The success of this partnership has been entirely down to the hard work of A&O partners and staff. We are so grateful for all the support we’ve received. AfriKids as an organisation has been completely transformed by this partnership. We have all built relationships and achieved things that we know will having a lasting impact on both sides.”
 

​Watch a video of A&O's partnership with Afrikids

 



A&O’s partnership with AfriKids was Highly Commended in the Business Charity Awards and FT Innovative Lawyers Awards 2014 



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