How to conduct good folk high school assistance?
Since 2005, Elverum Folk High School has run an aid project in Kasese, Uganda, as well as a small one in Bwera (on the border with Congo) and among the San people in North-East Namibia.
Not all aid is good aid - although the intention may be good. There are countless examples of projects that fail because they are not followed up, there is not good enough guidance, or because an initiator falls away and the spark dies out.
We at the Africa Line try to distinguish between good and bad aid, and based on our experiences from 2005–2022, we will share the following advice:
… To the place where the funds are to be used. As a school, representatives should have been there several times.
Distance to corruption
Contact persons who show understanding for mutual trust and a clear distance from classic corruption are crucial. Zero tolerance for corruption must be shown.
Secure money transfer
Simple and secure channel for money transfer, with regular control of fees from involved banks is required.
Prepare a good joint budget for approved plans. Check the use of funds annually. Physical presence is important to follow up and see that agreements are complied with.
As a school, we cover all administrative expenses so that 100% of the money we collect goes to the projects.
In parallel with support, the recipient is required to work hard to obtain their own income. (Our aid project runs agriculture, schools and football facilities). Have a clear goal of when the financial support can be stopped / reduced and that the projects become self-run.
Spread the ownership…
… To the projects of several partners, organizations, schools and private individuals to maintain the commitment.
Hold lectures and present documentation in the form of lectures, photos, films to partners who have supported the projects.
Create opportunities for former students or contributors to travel down to work or become truth witnesses.
Do not send surplus stock from Norway to the projects. If most goods / materials are found locally, it will create better infrastructure around the projects that money is sent and traded in the local community. This is how more people benefit from the contributions.
Get more sources of income
It is important not to become dependent on one source of money. If it fails, there will be little money. Important with renewal in step with new students / parent groups.