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Village by Village

Village by Village

4,000 children die each day in Africa because of a lack of clean water and access to basic sanitation. School is free up until the age of 18, but many are unable to afford basic necessities such as shoes and the uniform needed to attend.

Village by Village is a small charity working in remote rural villages in West Ghana, to reduce the needless suffering and deaths of children living in poverty. Their vision is of a world where children born to families living in poverty in African villages do not die prematurely, have access to clean water, basic sanitation and are offered a chance of a better life through education.

They strive to achieve this by building schools, wells and toilet blocks, and providing information on sanitation and educating children. They are working to support a connected and educated community that sees children in poverty as vibrant, energetic, worthy kids and not as stereotypical poverty victims as depicted in many disaster relief posters.

They do this by living their organisational values. Village by Village are completely invested in their mission and the staff and volunteers in Ghana live within the communities they support, (even those without electricity and running water) rather than arriving for an afternoon in an expensive car and then returning to a comfortable hotel.

With an increasing need to expand, Neil Kerfoot, the CEO of Village by Village, required help with future planning and development for the organisation including:

A safe place to sound board new ways of working for my organisation and plan a clever path through the choppy waters.closing speech marks

Neil was introduced to Henry Abraham, at that time Chair of Siblings Together (a UK charity), and now working as a social entrepreneur in Ghana, through the Small Charities Coalition as part of our mentoring service to work on business planning.

The match has so far consisted of remote contact via phone, email and Skype, with Neil based in the UK and Henry based in Ghana, where they have shared ideas, plans and methods to support Neil to develop Village by Village’s work around this area.

Despite the match being remote, Henry and Neil also had the opportunity to meet in Ghana, which we were delighted to hear about when Neil sent the following update to us:

The photo below shows us both at [one] village's water source, a dirty pool. This is not uncommon in the villages we work in so one of the projects we discussed was aimed at reducing and educating the communities we live and work in.closing speech marks

Neil explained that Henry has been acting as a sounding board for his ideas, allowing him to gain an outside perspective and check how realistic and suitable certain ideas are for Village by Village. This has allowed Neil to tailor his plans and ideas before presenting them to the trustee board.

Neil went on to explain how this has helped him so far:

The Small Charities Coalition mentoring scheme is amazing, I could have never imagined how successful a mentor could have been. My requirement for a mentor was very demanding and the SCC found me the perfect match. The Small Charities Coalition mentoring scheme has opened up possibilities I and my Trustees would have never thought of… closing speech marks

Henry also gave his thanks to Neil and added how much he has enjoyed the match and learnt from Neil in the few months they have been working together:

Just to add my thanks too... I have much enjoyed - and learnt from - working with Neil, he's full of creative ideas whilst also having a strong delivery focus - great combination! And it was inspiring to see for myself the positive impact Village by Village is having.closing speech marks

Henry went on to explain the further benefits he has gained from mentoring Neil too:

“an insight into a new organisation and leader (Neil) that share some of my key commitments and demonstrate interesting ideas for delivery”;

“a chance to contribute to their ongoing success”;

“stimulating and entertaining conversations”;

“an opportunity by linking networks to add value for and from my existing network (particularly linking up a mentor for one of Neil's team)”.

Future Plans

The match is still ongoing and Henry is happy to continue supporting Neil where needed and we look forward to following the progress of this match.

Me daa se ("Thank you" in the Ghanaian language of Twi) Neil and Henry for sharing your experience so far, keep up the good work!


Match still ongoing.

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