Give the gift of a livelihood this Christmas… for less than a pint

Charity African Initiatives is looking at Christmas gifts from a different perspective this year. We are of course all aware of the charity ‘gift of a gift’ idea – you buy a present from the organisation on the behalf of the recipient and they receive a gift pack and acknowledgment for the donation, as well as the knowledge that they have made a difference.

Indeed African Initiatives’ 2012 gifts follow along the same lines: A quick scan will tell you that £5 will buy a pre-primary syllabus book for a nursery in Tanzania or £12.50 will pay for half a goat. What the charity has done this year however, is work out what the same amount would buy here in the UK.

The results are surprising; £3.30 will buy a chicken for a farmer in Ghana; in the UK this would get you a pint of beer in many establishments.  £30 would buy the school uniform and books for a Maasai girl in Tanzania – that’s got to be worth about a box set of DVDs for us. Money which we dispose of relatively casually on a week to week basis can change the lives of a counterpart in Africa, for good. Rosie Martin, Chief Executive of African Initiatives explains why the charity are looking at Christmas giving a little differently this year,

We asked our partners in Ghana and Tanzania to come up with some costs for the things their communities needed the most and it indicates the small amounts of money that can  make a real difference to people’s lives. £3.30 would buy one chicken; not much to us; but that chicken will provide eggs for a family which will also be sold at market, and potentially mean more income in the future. It made us start to wonder just how important that £3.30 is to us in comparison: a pint? A sandwich?

The charity is hoping that this approach will show people that their support can help in a very real way, however small the gift might appear at first sight. As Mrs. Martin continues,

I was asked recently just how much it cost African Initiatives to help one individual in Africa, when I worked it out, I was astounded. Last year it cost just £4.58 to change one person’s life for good.

Based in Bristol; African Initiatives is a rights organisation; challenging injustice. It works with African organisations who work with local communities in Ghana and Tanzania. If you would like to give a chicken or another gift of a gift this Christmas please contact info@african-initiatives.org.uk; 0117 9150001; www.african-initiatives.org.uk