The PartnerChildren with Future in Zambia (CwFiZ )
Children with Future in Zambia focuses on supporting the most vulnerable: the poor, people living with AIDS, orphans, and marginalised women. The organisation provides schooling, medicine, vocational training and health information.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Valerie choose to work with a small NGO called Children with Future in Zambia whose aim is to provide education to vulnerable and orphaned children while promoting understanding of the main killers in Zambia: HIV/Aids, Malaria and TB.
This was the first volunteer accountant for CwFiz and prior to this their finances were largely managed by school leavers with limited experience. The accounting systems they had in place were predominately manual and paper based. The principle aim of this assignment was therefore to review existing processes and introduce a more robust computer based accounting system.
“Visiting one of the schools the charity supported will probably be the most memorable part of my experience. It was both uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. It was uplifting to see the smiles on the children’s faces as they flicked through the books and stationery that I brought them. However, it was heartbreaking to see them sitting either hunched over benches doubling up desks, or worse, sitting on the floor. All in a building that was neither wind nor watertight.
The work was a real back to basics experience as I struggled through the piles of invoices, payment vouchers and receipts and tried to set up new systems and controls of their accounts. But if the work was back to basis the working conditions were even more so! There was no running water in the building (which meant no flushing the toilet), no air conditioning, ants running across the desk, we were ‘flooded in’ when it rained and worse of all- there was no Starbucks."
What was achieved?
Working closely with Vivian, CwFiZ's accounting clerk, Valerie helped to create a comprehensive strategy that would improve the impact, performance and accountability of the organisation as well as addressing weaknesses in their reporting, budgeting and control procedures.