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Street Child: one year into our Global Charity Partnership

Halfway through our partnership, we look at progress with education in Sierra Leone and fundraising successes.

At the halfway point of our Global Charity Partnership with Street Child, A&O has contributed over GBP800,000 to the charity – including GBP660,00 in cash, with the rest in pro bono and in-kind support. This means we are well ahead of schedule to reach our overall target of GBP1m.

Our partnership with Street Child focuses on improving the life chances of children, particularly through education.

GBP500,000 of A&O’s funding is supporting Street Child’s work in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, where education outcomes are very poor, especially for girls.

Nearly a quarter of all children there never finish primary school, and those who progress to secondary education often face economic barriers as families struggle to cover the costs.

Progress in Sierra Leone

Our funding is supporting Street Child to transform 40 primary schools into productive learning spaces through renovations and teacher training, and to enrol 1,500 girls into secondary education.

In the first year of our partnership, Street Child has enrolled 750 girls into school and helped to cover the cost of uniforms and school materials. Over 420 girls have received additional support through one-to-one counselling, and campaigns have been implemented in schools across five communities to address gender-based violence.

Through Street Child’s Family Business for Education scheme, 500 business grants have also been distributed to the girls’ families to help cover ongoing schooling costs, with 93% going to women.

The grants are provided alongside training and mentoring for the families to develop business plans that will create sustainable sources of income. As well as helping with education costs, this has wider benefits such as improved nutrition and quality of life for the whole family.

Work to transform rural primary schools is also well underway. Three schools have been successfully renovated and 80 teachers across all the schools have been trained in education methods that help children catch up with basic literacy and numeracy. Teaching and learning materials have been distributed to all 40 schools, including tarpaulins, paper, chalk and pencils.

Members of the local community have also been involved in renovating the schools to embed a sense of ownership and to ensure their continued upkeep.


One of the beneficiaries is 14 year-old Fatou* from the Kenema District. She sat her National Primary School Examinations in 2020, but her family’s low income from subsistence farming meant she was unable to enrol into secondary school.

“My parents tried everything to pay my school fees, even taking out a loan,” Fatou says, “but they couldn’t raise the money so I had to drop out and help on the farm.”

Through Street Child’s programme, Fatou has now been enrolled back in school to start her junior secondary education and been given a support package of a bag, uniform, shoes, exercise books and a hygiene kit.

Her family have also received a business grant, which they have invested in their rice farm to improve yields, as well as starting a business selling biscuits and snacks in their village, putting the family in a more sustainable financial position.

Responding to the crisis in Ukraine

“Having met the GBP500,000 funding target for the Sierra Leone project, the rest of our contributions go to Street Child as unrestricted funding,” says Kate Cavelle, A&O’s Head of Pro Bono and Community Investment. “This allows Street Child to respond quickly to emergency situations, like in Ukraine.”

Ukraine is Street Child’s first response in Europe but the team is drawing on extensive experience of conflict and crisis environments elsewhere in the world.

As Tom Dannatt, Street Child’s CEO, explains: “In our experience, local organisations know how to deal with these emergency situations best. They have established relationships with their communities and know how to source essential items quickly and usually more cheaply.”

Often in emergency situations funding is concentrated within large international NGOs, which means local organisations on the frontline are operating with limited funds.

“Our emergency appeal is channelling 100% of donations to local, vetted organisations who are providing support both in Ukraine itself, and also on the Romanian and Moldovan borders where the gap between the need and the aid being provided is greatest,” Tom says.

“They are catering for basic humanitarian needs but also setting up safe spaces and opportunities for displaced women in particular to lead activities, as well as trying where possible to keep learning alive.”

Fundraising and pro bono contributions

Fundraising efforts have been taking place right across A&O to support Street Child’s work. June saw more colleagues than ever participating in the ‘Around the World Challenge’, raising nearly GBP44,000.

“In addition to all the great fundraising being done by our teams, the aim of all our Global Charity Partnerships is also to provide pro bono support, using legal and non-legal skills, to help set the charity up for more success in the future,” Kate says.

So far in the partnership, A&O lawyers have advised on a number of contracts and partnership agreements, as well as acquiring public interest status for Street Child Switzerland to enable tax-deductible donations.

On the non-legal side, a project is beginning to integrate Street Child’s core people values into its performance management framework and recruitment process. ‘In-kind’ contributions have included hosting a launch event for Street Child’s first ever Ramadan campaign, which generated GBP56,000 in income for the charity.

A team visit to Sierra Leone

With Street Child’s programme well underway in Sierra Leone, a team of 11 people from across A&O will visit the country’s Eastern Province to learn about the charity’s work there.

“The aim of the trip is to enable colleagues to get a better sense of the impact of Street Child’s work on children and communities,” Kate says.

The group will visit rural schools, which are in the process of being transformed by A&O’s funding, and meet some of the children and families benefitting from the programme.

“Everyone who goes on the trip has a role, when they come back to A&O, to be an active champion and mobilise efforts to support Street Child within their offices and regions,” says Kate.

Megan Poulton, a PA in our London office, is one of the trip participants: “Hearing about the girls deprived of an education made me want to give my support however I can. I’ve been involved in fundraising for Street Child so the opportunity to see their work and meet some of the people they support was something I didn’t want to miss. I think the experience will stay with me for a long time.”

What’s next for the partnership?

With one year remaining, A&O’s next big fundraising campaign is ‘First Hour, First Day’, where colleagues can donate the first hour or first day of their pay in January 2023 to Street Child.

The previous campaign saw 900 people contribute GBP468,000. “We’re hoping we can match that again this year,” says Kate, “and get over the GBP1m target. We’ve seen so many crises this year – not only in Ukraine, but also the flooding in Pakistan, and earthquake in Afghanistan – hampering Street Child’s existing efforts to continue girls’ education there.

“We want to do as much as we can to support Street Child’s work to keep children safe and in learning, in some of the most difficult situations around the world.”