Watoto is the Swahili word for children.

There are many countries with high levels of poverty, but in 2001 our founder was living in Tanzania , where he was struck by what he saw there. Our support there is still desperately needed.

Tanzania is a very poor country; youth unemployment is high and there are very few opportunities for underprivileged children who do not have a good education. That is why our help is still crucial, even though we hope that in time our projects can become more self-sufficient.

In Tanzania, like almost everywhere in Africa, there is corruption. Unfortunately also within the government. Although we are independent, we have to deal with government agencies for things like housing, licenses and running our primary school. Our local team maintains good contact with those authorities and all other people (indirectly) involved with our project. With a good track record, the established goodwill and the principle of not paying bribes, we have been able to maneuver well and to get things (sometimes with delay) done.

The managing board safeguards spending. Once a year it publishes its figures in the annual report, which is audited by an accountant. In addition, we frequently provide progress reports via our website and newsletters. Our projects are led by local management, but under the close supervision of the Dutch managing board. Board members pay all of their own expenses, and our overhead is very low.

The managing board has almost daily contact with local management. In addition, there is a permanent advisor on location to assist and advise the managing board and local management. Delegations made up of different members of the managing board visit the project at least 3 times a year.

The managing board is made up of people with board experience in the business world or in social organisations. In addition, the managing board can draw on the expertise of the advisors in areas such as education, pedagogy, communication and management development.

Board members receive no remuneration. Moreover, board members pay all of their expenses they incur as board members, including travel and hotel expenses. The same is true for our advisors.

We publish our accounts once a year in the annual report and provide progress updates on our website and via newsletters. The annual figures in Tanzania are checked by an auditor. Our projects are led by local management, but under the close supervision of the Dutch managing board. Board members pay all of their own expenses, and our overhead is very low.

The foundation in the Netherlands has a very limited overhead (1%). The managing board is unpaid and members pay all of their own travel and hotel expenses. Nor are there any costs involved in activities related to raising money via sponsors.

At present we are entirely reliant on sponsoring and donations from the Netherlands and Germany. Because we would like to reduce this reliance, a local fundraising project will be set up in the hope that these funds  will eventually cover a substantial portion of the costs. Moreover, we are trying to reduce our fixed costs, for example, by growing our own fruit and vegetables.

We work with the German foundation Good Hope; together we manage the children’s home. In Tanzania, we are also in frequent contact with other, similar foundations, with whom we exchange information.

We focus on the most deprived children. Our social workers, who are familiar with the area where our projects are located, are responsible for the initial selection. We use no criteria other than the level of deprivation.

English is the second language in Tanzania, and it is required in all secondary schools. Learning to speak English at a young age is an added advantage.

We maintain a level of education and housing that is as close as possible to that of daily life in Tanzania. We try to focus on the “need to have” instead of on what would be “nice to have”. This helps to avoid problems of reintegration at a later stage. Also, children return to their families in the long vacations so that they remain in touch with relatives and society.

No, we have religious agenda, nor do we select students on the basis of religion.

There a number of HIV positive children in the school and children’s home. Our medical facilities are capable of dealing with this in a secure manner. Since 2014, we have not admitted any new children with HIV because their care is too complex for an organisation of our size. If during the intake procedure we discover that a child is HIV positive, we send the child to a specialised facility.

We pay for the secondary education (at local schools) of children who leave our primary school. These are generally boarding schools, and we receive individual progress reports for these children. We continue to monitor children  after they have completed their secondary education and, if necessary, to provide support.

Very low, with the exception of rare instances related to family circumstances. In such cases we try to find housing elsewhere.

Screening is done locally by the management team. New personnel must speak English at an acceptable level.

The children’s homes and schools are located in closed, secure areas. At school, teachers monitor the children, and in the children’s homes, matrons and patrons care for the children. There have been no safety issues during the past years.

If you have any questions, suggestions or complaints, please contact us via info@happywatoto.nl.