Friday, July 31, 2015

Ibiye




Here at Ripples Foundation, we pride ourselves on giving HAND UPS and not handouts. We are passionate about empowering women and alleviating extreme poverty in Africa, but unfortunately situations can arise where our work can become impossible.


In recent months we have had to stop our projects in Ibiye, Nigeria.


When we arrived in Ibiye, the women told us they needed help in procuring grinding machines for a milling enterprise, which they use to grind grains, peppers and roots.  Ripples Foundation approved their project, and secured funding from Small World, a local charity that funds local projects in Nigeria.


Ripples planned to purchase new machinery to help Ibiye women in the smooth running of their operations. The success of our women’s empowerment projects rely on the self-motivation levels of the African village women involved, and they have to possess a desire to improve their own lives and their family’s lives in order to be able to climb out of poverty. Ripples Foundation is there to lend a helping hand in a supportive role, giving them a kick-starter loan to establish the business, and providing professional training and business counselling to our women so their enterprises can grow and become self-sustainable.


When Ripples Foundation went to pay the suppliers for the milling machines the women of Ibiye requested, we found out that wanted the money to be paid directly to them so they could use it for a different project that had not been approved.. This is just not what we as a charity do - we need to know exactly where our money is going so we can assess the impact of each of our decisions on our projects. We expect the women we help to be honest and fully committed to the projects that we fund for them, and be willing to put in the hard work needed to improve their livelihoods. After talking through the situation we discovered that the women of Ibiye wanted to apply some of the funds to other businesses which we would be unable to monitor. This was dishonest and does not comply with Ripples Foundation’s values and, upon being told this, Ibiye opted out of the Women’s Enterprise Programme.


It is never a good feeling when we have to accept that we cannot make change happen in a village instantly, but we have to keep our integrity as a charity, remain true to our commitments to our donors and stick to our code of values that make us who we are.


But it’s not all doom and gloom!

But for every Ibiye there are many other villages hungry for help and desperate for support.
We continue to run projects in villages across Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana which we are still seeing great results from. Work has started on the expansion of the fishery project and the starting of a new piggery project in Iworo village, and we have our brand new Ripples Box programme in development ready to bring Internet connectivity and education to rural villages!


Make sure to keep checking back here on the blog, and on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to keep up to date with all our latest announcements, photos and videos.

Thank you for continuing to support us so we can make change happen.
Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, July 24, 2015

5 ways YOU can make a positive impact in the world!



1. Get rid of your unused items

Are you a hoarder? Do you find yourself storing clothes, equipment and toys because ‘they’ll come in useful one day’? Well today is that day!
Dig out your clutter, brush off the dust, and donate it to a worthy cause. Hand your items into your local charity shop, they are always grateful to receive donations that they can sell and use the proceeds for their cause. Charity shops don't just take clothes, you can donate books, CD's, DVD's, musical instruments - if it's in a reasonable condition then they can sell it! One man's trash is another man's treasure, and your items can raise money to help change people's lives for the better.

2. Hold a fundraising event

Have you always wanted to run a marathon? Fancy holding a tea party, jumble sale or an auction? Contribute to charity and have fun at the same time, and use your event to raise awareness and money for your chosen cause. This is fantastic way of actively showing your support and spreading the word of your favourite charity.
Start fundraising for Ripples Foundation today on Total Giving. You can even choose which project you want to dedicate your efforts to! If you live in the United States, you may wish to use Causes to start your fundraising. Simply make a profile, create your fundraising page and select Ripples Foundation as your chosen charity - it's that easy!

3. Volunteer

Have some spare time in your week? Do you want to use that time to get work experience? Why not come to Ripples Foundation and use your skills to contribute to the smooth running of the charity? We offer experience in media, administration and logistics at our UK base in Gravesend, Kent, so email us today at volunteer@ripplesfoundation.ngo to see if we have any opportunities available.
If you can afford the luxury, you could even fly out to Africa and witness the work we do on ground first-hand! There are never too many people who can help on our programmes, and every spare pair of hands will be put to good use!



4. Support small businesses

By supporting small business enterprises in developing nations you will be helping to support the economy of the country. The fair-trade mark is a clear indicator that the people who have made that product have been paid a fair wage for their work, and often means the quality of the product is higher. The prices of fair-trade products do tend to be priced slightly higher, but what’s a penny amiss here and there when you can rest assured that you are supporting fair working conditions?
The Akomi range sold here at Ripples Foundation also supports small enterprises through the businesses that the women on our Women's Enterprise Programme run. You can buy high grade Shea Butter and Moringa Powder from our Akomi range that are all hand-crafted by our village women, and which all carry the Ripples charter-mark - assuring you that all profits are sent back to our women.

5. Donate what you can

It is the easiest way to make a difference! Just by giving charities a one-off donation or committing to donate a small amount of money each month, you could be making a massive impact in the lives of hundreds of people. Unfortunately money does make the world go round, and no-one will be more grateful for your generosity than charities trying to make change happen in the world.
Donate to Ripples Foundation today, and contribute to projects that are empowering the village women of Africa to work their way out of poverty.

You can make change happen in the world!

Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Chocolate, Children and Charity




Can you remember the first time you tasted chocolate? Probably not. Well these children do.

They live in a region where cocoa bean plants are plentiful, yet they were almost teenagers when they got the opportunity to first taste the chocolate that those cocoa beans are turned into. They are surrounded by the main ingredient of chocolate, yet had no concept of the value of the raw material to people in developed countries. It's like living on a vineyard and having no idea that your grapes can make wine!

In the UK and all over the world, chocolate isn't a luxury item and we don't think twice about going into a shop to buy a bar if we get a sudden craving for a sugary treat.

Well imagine if chocolate was as hard to get your hands on as diamonds. Imagine living in a remote village with no means of transportation apart from your own two feet. Imagine having no shops within travelling distance, having no electricity in your home, and no money. Imagine if the only food you had to eat was produce that you had grown yourself. For most people this environment is alien and unimaginable.
Sadly it is the reality for thousands of people living in poverty across rural Africa, where families often survive on just $1 a day to feed their children, they cannot afford basic medical care and everyday is a struggle.

These children and their families have been stuck in a cycle of poverty that has been passed down through generations, and it is extremely hard to break out of that cycle. When you have lived in poverty for your whole life and have watched your parents and grandparents do the same, it is hard to imagine that there is another way of living.


Here at Ripples Foundation, we are showing Africa a better way.

By empowering women through work, providing education to children and medical care to whole communities, we are connecting rural villages to the rest of the world, opening the door to opportunities from around the globe, and proving that the future for Africa can be bright.

It is shocking to us that the distribution of wealth across the world is so vast, with studies showing that the combined wealth of the richest 1% of people worldwide is higher than the combined wealth of the other 99% of people on the planet. In the UK, US and other wealthier countries, we have the luxury to spend our money on whatever we like. Wouldn’t it be great if we could use that opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of people less fortunate than ourselves, and create a world of equal opportunity for all? In the words of the Dalai Lama, We all share this planet Earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other…”, and it would be fantastic to see us work together to make the world a better place.
Our goal is to spread our message of kindness and encourage people to give a little to make a big difference to people’s lives.

So how can you make change happen in the lives of children such as these and their families?



Firstly, you can donate to one of our projects and contribute towards projects that assist African villages in things such as medical care, women’s enterprise projects or educational initiatives. Visit http://www.totalgiving.co.uk/charity/bme-concern and give as much as you can - every penny you can spare will be greatly apprieciated by us here. Your donation will go towards a pool of money used to deliver Ripples Foundation projects to rural villages in Africa, and help children like those above to look forward to a life free of poverty, and have brighter hopes for the future.

Secondly, you can help us to spread awareness of our work online, and encourage more people to support our cause. Visit our website www.ripplesfoundation.ngo for more information on all our projects, and share our social media pages on Facebook www.facebook.com/ripples.foundation and Twitter www.twitter.com/ripplesngo. Check out our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/ripplesinafrica where you can take a look at some of the projects that we are running in Africa at the moment. The more people that support us, the more people we can help!

Change can happen in Africa - we just need enough people with the passion and determination to make it happen.

So the next time you tuck into a bar of chocolate, we encourage you to think of the joy that these children experienced from that simple treat, look at how much we take for granted, and ask yourself what you can do to help them live a life free from poverty.


Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Joana's First Trip To Africa: Part 2




This week we are continuing the story of our Business Development Manager Joana’s first trip to Africa in June and taking a look at the projects she visited and getting her thoughts on what she witnessed during her 2 weeks in Nigeria.


After all the excitement and celebrations at the New Yam Festival and the Medical MOT held in Ogidi village (which you can check out on last week’s blog post) there were more villages for the team to visit and Joana was introduced to the crazinesses of Nigeria with no holds barred!

The next stop for Joana and the Ripples Nigeria team was Iworo village, where Joana went to carry out an audit on the fishery project we are currently running there.





As part of our Women’s Enterprise programme, which aims to empower women through work, Ripples Foundation is building a brand new fishery site for the women of Iworo in partnership with the Oduntan family who sponsor Iworo village.

Through the extra income that our women make by starting up the business and working at the fishery, they are finally able to afford to send their children to school, buy medicines for their family and break out of living in a cycle of extreme poverty that has been passed down through generations.





The new fishery is being built in Iworo as part of Ripples Foundation’s commitment to maintaining women’s enterprise projects and providing resources that our women can use to grow their businesses. The site will feature bigger ponds, meaning that the women can farm more fish and have more room to let them grow to a bigger size so they can sell them for a higher price. We are also building an office on the new site which our women can use as a headquarters for the business, as a warehouse to store equipment, or as a place to keep records of finances and stock levels.


“The women really appreciate all the work that Ripples has been doing in partnership with Mr. Oduntan, and hope that it can continue!”




As well as a brand new site for their business, the Oduntan family have provided another resource for the women to utilize in the form of Mrs Osunmakinde, a fishery consultant. Mrs Osunmakinde runs a successful fishery herself, and invited the women of Iworo to take a look around her fishery site and learn from her expertise. 
Take a look at this video to see how the fishery development has progressed since March: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Busf9D6MArw


“I think that the fishery is developing pretty well and I think that the projects we will bring to the village will be a big opportunity for the women in Iworo.”


Joana and the Ripples team used their visit as an opportunity to speak with the women of Iworo, to resolve any issues that they may have had with the enterprise project, and to discuss the future of Ripples Foundation’s work in the village.




Happily our women did not have any problems with the way that Ripples Foundation has being managing the project, and had plenty of ideas about how the business could develop in the future.

We have big plans for the future of women’s enterprise in Iworo village, and have started to make plans for the development of a piggery business, as requested by Iworo women, to further increase the number of options women have to work with and make life better for families in the village.

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive updates from us and to see more great videos of our projects.
Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/ripples.foundation, follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/ripplesngo and join our online community on Push-Up Social via our website www.ripplesfoundation.ngo to keep up to date with all our latest news and help us spread our message across the world!

To donate towards the Women's Enterprise programme and help women like the Iworo women to work their way out of poverty, please visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/womensenterprise - any donations will be gratefully received.

Together we can make change happen in the lives of African village women!

Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Joana’s First Trip To Africa



This week has been full of changes here at Ripples! 

As you may have heard, we have undergone a transformation and changed our name to Ripples Foundation. Along with our name change we have launched a brand new website www.ripplesfoundation.ngo, where we have plenty more information, photos and videos about our projects - check it out!

But back to our projects in Africa.

Joana, our Business Development Manager, has just returned from a 2 week trip to Nigeria with Ripples Foundation’s CEO Anne Phillips. During her trip, she visited a number of villages to take a look at the projects we have running there.


The main event of the trip was in Ogidi, Kogi State, where the Ripples team visited the annual Ogidi Day New Yam Festival. The festival was full of music, culture and dance, and the team were able to see different groups performing a homage to the Ologidi, from singers and dancers, to hunters and farmers.This was Joana’s first visit to Africa, so it was great to hear and see her reactions to seeing the work first-hand.


“Despite all the poverty and difficulties, Nigerians are very proud of themselves and their culture. It's impossible to compare Nigeria to any country in Europe. I can say that in Europe we are very lucky but very spoiled, as our problems cannot be compared to the problems that Nigerians face every day. Nigerians wake up at 4 am every morning and they get home at 8 pm - most of the time with nothing to eat, or no money to buy food. You won't find a proper grocery shop, they sell everything in the streets and in the middle of the traffic. You would see children around 5 to 13 years old running after your car trying to sell everything they have to sell.”



Whilst in Ogidi, the Ripples team held a Medical MOT, which was a great success, with 450 people able to receive free medical consultations and medicines from our team of volunteer doctors and nurses.


“The Medical MOT is very important as most of the patients don't have access to medical care for a year. Some of the patients are counting the days until we come back and they ask us to do it more often. I could see the appreciation in their eyes. They are very grateful that we are doing these projects for them.”

It only costs £2 for us to ensure that 1 person can gain access to these free consultations and medicines, meaning just a small donation of £10 can give vital healthcare to 5 people!
If you would like to contribute to a healthier future for Africa, please donate at https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/donate/bme-concern and give what you can - your donation could make a huge difference to an African villager's life.


“I will never forget my trip to Nigeria, and I have a lot of moments that I will never forget. My short stay in Ogidi was very intense in so many ways as it is not everyday that you see children having fun with "nothing" where the "nothing" for me is everything for them. I will never forget their values and how they respect their elders. I will never forget the traffic and how chaotic it is. I will never forget the moment where children were crying just because they saw a teddy bear. My happiest memories of the trip will be of the children laughing around me, touching my nose, singing for me and asking if my hair was real. The best part of the trip is to come back knowing that there is a lot more we can do to help and I will do everything in my power to help them.”
To see more of the events in Ogidi, please take a look at the short video we have compiled of the Medical MOT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2nJSbkMuV4 and keep an eye out on our Facebook www.facebook.com/ripples.foundation and Twitter www.twitter.com/ripplesngo pages for photos of the day. Support us and help make change happen!
Alysha Bennett Web Developer

Morbi aliquam fringilla nisl. Pellentesque eleifend condimentum tellus, vel vulputate tortor malesuada sit amet. Aliquam vel vestibulum metus. Aenean ut mi aucto.