About

AfID offers every type of accountant, from anywhere in the world the opportunity to use their skills to support a broad range of non-profit organisations globally. Volunteer assignments from 2 weeks form part of our ongoing strategy to build the financial management capacity of charities in over 50 countries.

Our partners, which are a blend of international charitiess and grassroot NGOs, such as street child centres, hospitals, micro-finance institutions, conservation projects, women’s empowerment programmes and schools, are all doing amazing work to tackle extreme poverty and inequality but due to limited resources are unable to access vital financial management training.

The main focus of all AfID assignments is to develop the skills, confidence and potential of local people, enabling organisations to ultimately have the financial management capacity they need to deliver more sustainable programmes to their many beneficiaries, whilst maintaining good relations with their donors. Volunteers could be budgeting with a street child centre in Kampala (Uganda), coaching a hospital bookkeeper in Kigali (Rwanda) or financial reporting for a primary school in Kathmandu (Nepal).

The need for support from accountants is largely driven by a lack of skills at a local level, combined with the complex reporting requirements of overseas donors. When you are a headmistress, a doctor or the founder of a small NGO trying to thrive with limited resources, it can be very difficult to keep accurate records and perform your normal duties; with a different set of accounts, reporting formats and sometimes bank accounts required by each donor, you clearly need support.

It is not uncommon for our partners to spend many hours, sometimes days adding figures to complex and confusing Excel spreadsheets. In a short time, a volunteer can give back valuable time to front line staff by offering guidance, simplifying reporting methods and assisting with donor queries. In many ways the role of our volunteers is 'consulting', rather than day-to -day 'accounting' and real sustainable impact can be achieved in a far shorter timeframe than that of traditional broad-focussed volunteer placements. This means volunteering can be a realistic prospect for career-minded professionals.

With over 500 partner organisations all at different stages of development the complexity of the input required will vary from the absolute basics through to more strategic advice. There will always be a need for accountants from all backgrounds with different levels of experience. All will need to adapt the knowledge they often take for granted and adapt it accordingly so local staff can apply it in a sustainable manner. Here lies the biggest but most rewarding challenge for an AfID volunteer.

What is a Social Enterprise?

 

In these difficult times governments and charities are seeking more innovative solutions to today's social, environmental and economic challenges. This is where social enterprises can make a real difference. 

Social enterprises, like AfID are organisations that apply commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximising profits for external shareholders. They are businesses trading for social and environmental purposes and are distinctive because their social purpose is absolutely central to what they do. If they are profit making this is reinvested to sustain and further their mission for positive change.

The income AfID receive enables us to offer our capacity building services to grassroot community organisations completely free charge. Our financial independence means both we and our volunteers can discuss and advise on difficult issues in an open and honest way; establishing a very high level of trust - in a way that no donor organisation could. We are able to work independently and impartially with otherwise neglected organisations; tailoring programmes of support to meet their needs.