I’m the treasurer of a small charity in the UK, the Friends of Ibba Girls School. Our mission is to build and support a girls school in the village of Ibba in the southwest of South Sudan.
When I say small I am still referring to a charity that has raised about £400,000 ($500,000) in each of the last few years so there is quite a bit of bookkeeping for me to do.
Last weekend we held our annual open meeting for supporters. We do this as part of a commitment to openness and transparency. It is impiety to us that our donors, most of whom are regular people, can see what we have done with the money they gave us. A key element of all these open meetings is a live Skype call with the school where some staff and some pupils can talk to the donors.
The meeting also includes verbal reports by trustees, including a financial report by me (there is an echo here of the origins of audit). This year I started with the headlines.
“We’ve raised a lot of money. We’ve spent a lot of money. We need more money.”
When you boil it down, what we do is as simple as that.
In fact, since 2011 the charity has raised over £2.315 million. The school has 220 girls in 6 classes, 9 teachers, and about 20 other staff (who all get paid every month). But we want the school to grow to 360 girls which means we need more classrooms and dormitories as well as more teachers.
If you want to donate you can do so at https://www.ibbagirlsschool.org
If you happen to have contacts in a foundation or institution that has an interest in girls’ education in Africa then please contact me so we can discuss it.