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We've put together the answers to the questions we are most commonly asked.

This is not an exhaustive list, so if you have a question or query that is not detailed here, please contact us, and we will be happy to answer these for you.

You can call us on 01225 874222, or use the contact form. We hope you find these questions helpful.

Who we are and how we work

No, we don’t physically send cows from the UK anymore, although we were founded when a group of farmers did originally send cows from the UK to Africa - hence our name!

In 1996, there was a ban on importing European animals into Africa, so we began sourcing our animals locally. This also supports local markets and reduces transport costs and journey times.

They will need to apply to their local Ripple Effect office in Africa. Our country offices can only help community groups (not individuals) who are poor by local standards, who would benefit from our package of livestock and other assistance, and who fulfil various other criteria. If you are interested in applying, please call us for details of the relevant country office.

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'

No, the farmers that we work with are trained how to manage their animals to have the most benefit to them and a minimal impact on the surrounding countryside. We do this by giving all the families we work with thorough training in how to manage their animals, and we check they have built suitable shelters before we place any animals.

Generally, animals are stall fed. This means the animal is not allowed to roam freely but is kept in a roomy shelter and has food brought to it. This also means that farmers can easily collect their animals' manure to enrich their soil. Some animals may be grazed but under close supervision.

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.

No, we believe that if cows are part of a small-scale, mixed crop and livestock farming system they can enable people to live in harmony with their environment. Using manure to enrich the soil means that farmers do not have to use chemical fertilisers, which can be damaging. Recent research indicated that our programmes absorb more carbon than they emit.

We only donate larger animals to families with enough land to grow fodder. We provide training in how to grow fodder and check there is enough growing before we provide a large animal. We also check they have a good water supply, and teach water harvesting techniques too. Families without enough land for cows will receive more suitable animals, such as goats or poultry.

Ripple Effect is deeply committed to helping others, regardless of their religion, putting their needs before our own and creating a more just and balanced world.

When our founding farmers sent the first cows to Africa they did so as a practical way of expressing their Christian faith and this heritage lives on. We are proud that some of our founding farmers are still working with us today, helping families in Africa, farmer to farmer.

Their knowledge and experience have been invaluable, helping us grow into a practical, innovative charity - helping families in Africa to work their way out of poverty for good.

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.

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.

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.

More information about your donations

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.

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!

Please contact us at info@rippleeffect.org or +44 (0) 1225-874-222 to arrange a refund for your donation.

Volunteering with us

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

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.

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.

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.

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 Ambassadors attend a two-day 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 training weekend in May to keep their knowledge up to date.

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. There are lots of ideas in our Fundraising guide.

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.