Dufatanye Inshuti Z’abana Association (DIZA) is a non-profit organization created in July 1997 to support the huge number of children who had been orphaned or separated from their families by the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
Chartered accountant Jennifer was keen to use her sabbatical from KPMG as an opportunity to experience new countries and cultures first hand. She felt it was important to seek fresh challenges and share her accounting skills with a good cause. Volunteering with Accounting for International Development (A f I D) seemed a perfect way to combine these aims.
After considering opportunities in four African countries Jennifer agreed on a two month assignment supporting a Rwandan charity called Association Dufatanye Inshuti z’Abana (DIZA). DIZA provides education to vulnerable children and orphans. The charity began by supporting orphans of the 1994 genocide and has now expanded to support other vulnerable children in the community, specifically those affected by HIV/AIDS.
Eric, DIZA’s only paid member of staff, looked after the day to day running of the charity; administering funds to children, contacting donors and managing the office finances. Jennifer was to help Eric set up new systems that would allow the organisation to have more control over its financial activities and simplify budgeting and donor reporting. DIZA was in the process of constructing and opening a new local school. There was still some building work to be completed when Jennifer arrived and a lot of equipment still to buy; therefore a decision had to be made as to whether it could be opened. To aid that decision, Eric and Jennifer needed to prepare budgets to get the school ready for opening and to fully understand the impact of all the running costs.
What was achieved?
A detailed budget was prepared for 2011 and reviewed by all members of DIZA. The accountant received training in preparing budget to actual comparisons. Since Jennifer’s placement, Eric is presenting the results of budgeting to other members of DIZA on a quarterly basis. There was a clear focus throughout the placement on pricing expenditure and planning income to cover this. Jennifer was able to help DIZA with the design and preparation of a brochure to send to donors and an advert for the new school. She also compiled registration forms, set up a financial recording system for the school and an information sheet for future volunteers.
Jennifer: Whenever I went outside it took about one minute before I heard a child shout Muzungu! The very little ones smiled at me from a distance and if I walked past them they ran over and hugged my legs. Slightly older children would grin and giggle, and waited till I’ve just walked past before shouting “Good Morning, How are you?” When I replied they dissolved into laughter and shouted it again and again. All were very cute and amusing.