Frequently asked questions

Who we are and how we work

Why did you change your name?

Our name was confusing for anyone who didn't know our work as we started each conversation clarifying that we don’t actually "send cows" but instead provide a range of sustainable anti-poverty solutions that really work for the farming families we work alongside.

The Send a Cow name described our heritage well, but it no longer accurately reflects our organisation today or expresses the incredible impact that training farmers can have on their communities.

How did you decide on the name Ripple Effect?

When we asked families what they most valued from working with us, they talked proudly of how they have become teachers and donors themselves, able to share what they have and what they know with their families and communities. Our comprehensive research also showed that this ripple effect resonated with donors and funders who are encouraged by evidence that shows their money will have an effect that spreads beyond immediate programme participants. The conclusion was that we should emphasize we are an organisation that does targeted work on the ground, which has a huge impact.

Our programmes are designed to support the sharing of skills and knowledge – and we know that for every family we work with another 3 families benefit. That's why we've changed our name to Ripple Effect, reflecting how the benefits of our work multiply across African communities and from generation to generation.

Learn more about our 2030 strategy

How can someone in Africa apply to Ripple Effect for help?

They will need to apply to their local Ripple Effect office in Africa. Each country where we work (Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia) has a programme office you can contact.  If you are interested in applying, please call us for details of the relevant country office or email us at info@rippleeffect.org.

How can a group apply to Ripple Effect for funding?

We work with our planned programmes and cannot offer funding or other support outside our programmes. To explore possibilities for funding, you can get in touch with our office in the UK or US, or enquire from any of our country offices.

What do you mean by "organic" or "sustainable" farming?

We train farmers in natural farming methods that meet the needs of present-day farmers without damaging the potential of the land for future generations. This involves integrating livestock and crops, so they are mutually beneficial. Techniques include: using manure to make compost and enrich the soil, and making pesticides from animals.

Why do you give livestock, and not just crops and training?

Livestock eats grass and farm by-products that cannot be digested by people and convert them into milk, meat, and eggs. Dairy products, in particular, are a very effective way of restoring malnourished people to health, fast.

Furthermore, animal manure is an excellent natural way to enrich the soil, so farmers can grow much higher yields of crops and vegetables. By keeping animals as well as growing crops, farmers spread their risks. They use their animals as a type of 'savings bank', selling a calf when a need such as a medical bill arises.

Are you a Christian organisation?

Ripple Effect is not a Christian organisation but remains proud of its Christian heritage. When our founding farmers sent the first cows to Uganda, they did so as a practical way of expressing their Christian faith and this heritage lives on.

Some of our founding farmers are still working with us today, helping families in the six countries where we work, to work their way out of poverty for good. Their knowledge and experience have been invaluable, helping us grow into a practical, innovative charity.

We work with all faiths and none and are deeply committed to helping others, regardless of their religion, putting their needs before our own and creating a more just and balanced world.

How does the pass-on system work?

All farmers we work with undertake to pass on a gift. This is either the first female offspring of their gift animal to a family in their community group or another group working with Ripple Effect. Or if they receive gifts such as beehives, they pass on money from the first harvest of honey they sell. Farmers also pass on the skills they learn, such as sustainable farming techniques, to their neighbours. So our work goes on multiplying.

Why should we support Africa when there are so many issues/needs in our own country?

No person should live in poverty or go hungry wherever they live in the world, whether that’s the UK or Africa. Working across six countries, and with 80% African staff, our specialisation at Ripple Effect is helping communities in rural Africa to thrive and that’s where we know we can make a real impact. A lot of our supporters choose to support both charities in the UK and Africa.

What are your policies on Safeguarding?

Ripple Effect is committed to safeguarding the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and protecting them from all abuse. Ripple Effect is committed to operating within the existing reporting structures present in every community, and to support the strengthening of the community so that all to ensure greater awareness of the needs of every child and vulnerable adult, so that everyone is safe.

We believe that it is never acceptable for children or vulnerable adults to experience abuse of any kind. We expect all our staff to operate in a manner that protects and enables a safeguarding culture within Ripple Effect. Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults is everyone’s responsibility within our organisation.

Welfare and Rights of Children and Vulnerable Adults Statement

Ripple Effect will endeavour to ensure that the welfare and rights of children and vulnerable adults are paramount in all policies and procedures. All actions on child safeguarding are taken in the best interests of the child. Safeguarding the best interests of the communities we work with is our priority at all times.

In particular we recognise that a key element in working to safeguard the welfare of children and vulnerable adults is the promotion of their rights. We affirm our belief in the right of all children and vulnerable adults to be protected from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states: “Parties shall protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse” (Article 19).

Code of Conduct

All staff and volunteers in their contact with children and vulnerable adults are expected to interact in a mature, capable, safe, caring, and responsible manner, with high levels of accountability. This includes staff who are in direct face to face contact with children and vulnerable adults, and staff who are in indirect contact with children and vulnerable adults, for example through handling or processing their data.

All staff and associates working with children and vulnerable adults are in positons of trust. It is therefore vital that staff and associates ensure that they do not, even unwittingly, use their positon of power and authority inappropriately.

Where can I find your latest Annual Report?

You can read or download our latest Annual Report here.

More information about your donations

Who is eligible for Gift Aid?

For a donation to qualify for Gift Aid, you must be a UK taxpayer. You must pay enough income tax or capital gains tax to at least equal the amount of tax Ripple Effect will claim on your donations made in that tax year. The tax year runs from 6 April; to the following 5 April. This means that if you have given a donation of £100, you will need to have paid £25 tax.

How much of my money actually goes to projects?

If you give £10, £7.50 will be spent on development work in the country you are supporting. The remainder is reinvested in finding new supporters, raising more money and providing you with updates on how your money is spent. If you gift aid your donations, we will receive an additional £2.50 per month, making your donation go even further!

Who do I contact if I have a question or issue about my donation?

Please contact us at info@rippleeffect.org for any questions or issues with your donation.

How much of the money you raise goes to Africa? 

80% of our funds made up of Africa programme spend and advocacy are spent on our projects in Africa and on bringing the voices of those who we work with in rural Africa to the world’s stage.

What are virtual gifts, how does it work and how do I order?

Our eco-friendly virtual gifts are typical ways you can support families in the six countries where we work. When you buy a gift, you’re making a donation that helps to provide practical and sustainable support, so families can fight hunger and the climate crisis.

How do you use my personal information?

We are committed to protecting your privacy and we adhere to all applicable laws concerning the protection of your personal data and in line with your rights as an individual.

Find out more about our privacy policy.

We value your support and pledge to ensure you have the best experience on your journey to make a difference.

Read our supporter promise.

Volunteering with us

I would like to volunteer, who do I contact?

If you are interested in volunteering with Ripple Effect please contact info@rippleeffect.org for more information.

Can volunteers really make a difference?

Definitely. You have the skills, contacts, time and knowledge that can really help us. Volunteers encourage people in their community to support our work and fundraise for us. Through volunteers, we reach more potential supporters, which means we can help more families work their way out of poverty for good.

Last year, we estimate that volunteers gave over 16,000 hours of their time to Ripple Effect, saving us the equivalent salaries of around £170,000. They directly raised over £150,000 and told thousands of people about Ripple Effect’s work.

I don't live in the UK, can I volunteer for Ripple Effect?

Unfortunately, we cannot offer volunteer roles to those who live outside of the UK. The key to our volunteer programme is the level of support that we provide to our Head Office and our regional teams. Practical constraints mean that we are unable to give overseas residents the support that is necessary to make volunteering effective and rewarding.

We do however have many overseas supporters who donate through our website and organise fundraising events for us. If you live overseas we would encourage you to use our online resources for schools, churches and fundraising events.

Can I volunteer overseas?

Ripple Effect is not able to offer volunteering opportunities in Africa. However, many of our volunteers have been on a study tour to our projects and would be happy to visit your group to tell you about the people they met and what they learnt. Volunteers fund their own study tours.

What training do you provide for volunteers?

We can provide all volunteers with written information about our work. We are happy to give advice by phone and email and encourage you to meet with other volunteers in your area. We can also provide resources such as posters, leaflets and collecting boxes.

All new Ambassadors attend a short training course to help them prepare for giving talks about Ripple Effect’s work. The course includes learning more about our work in Africa, presentation skills, resources available and how you can encourage people to support us. We encourage all Ambassadors to attend an annual workshop in April to keep their knowledge up to date.

I work full time, can I still volunteer?

Yes. We fully recognise that our volunteers may also have family, work and church commitments. We encourage volunteers to be realistic and honest about how much time they can give. Our roles are flexible and can fit around your existing commitments. If you do decide that you don’t have time to volunteer for us on a regular basis please consider doing a one-off fundraising event.

Can I tell you if I think something needs to change when I'm volunteering?

Please do! We value the time and energy you give and want to listen to you and learn from you. If you feel you would like to change roles or would like to stop volunteering please let us know.

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