Be a good visitor
Joining Ride Africa is not the same as going on holiday. You are visiting communities that Child.org work with, and as a visitor you have the potential to have a direct, negative impact on our work.
Our skilled and experienced programming team ask all our riders to consider their personal behaviour and the impact you might have on the effectiveness of our work in these communities. This page contains some advice on how to check your own impact, if you would like to chat about this further or have questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
CAN I BRING GIFTS?
It is inappropriate for visitors to shower the people they meet in Kenya with gifts that have not been requested. Child.org work hard to set the tone of our project visits as a learning experience for everyone involved, a chance to share experiences and form real connections. Please avoid contributing to the damaging trope of the White Saviour! Bringing a balloon or football to play with the kids you meet is perfectly acceptable and sufficient.
As a rule of thumb - think about what would feel OK if you were visiting a school or community in the UK. Handing out armfuls of lavish gifts, or even your unwanted and worn second hand items, to people you have never met, when you don't know their circumstances or their needs, isn't helpful. Nor do Child.org or our project partners have the resources or facilities to sort and distribute gifts like these.
Child.org are committed to delivering real solutions that improve the lives of whole communities. If you want to make a difference, please concentrate your efforts on your fundraising to support our programmes, or give smarter, and consider a regular gift to fund real, sustainable solutions.
OFFERING INDIVIDUAL SUPPORT
When you visit one of Child.org's programmes you'll meet people living in difficult circumstances. It's very likely that you might feel moved to offer someone individual financial support. You may even be asked for this directly by the people you meet.
Child.org understand why you would be moved to want to help directly. Many of the families we support have heartbreaking personal stories - and that's precisely why we work to support and improve their lives! If you're in a position to help someone financially, it's a very kind thing to offer to do, and of course it is ultimately your decision.
However, we ask that anyone working with us considers carefully and respects the advice offered by the Child.org team. Your well-meant support can unfortunately undermine Child.org's work in the communities you visit, and limit our progress. Child.org's work is carefully designed to lift whole communities out of poverty in sustainable ways, that will ultimately help people to stand on their own two feet.
Here are just a few problems that you can cause by offering individual support:
Singling out individuals can cause them to be resented by other members of their group or school, and more broadly from the community. It can even make them a target.
If you offer one of our beneficiaries regular cash donations, there's every chance they will stop attending our learning sessions and drop out of a programme that offers them long-term benefit and a chance at long-term financial independence.
You will change the impact that our project visits can have in the future. For example, if a young mum from Meru receives support from a Ride Africa rider, and this is noticed by the community, it will impact on the experiences of future Ride Africa visits, as other mums will want to attend to look for donors for themselves.
It's not a sustainable approach to development - Child.org work with expert local organisations who are the best qualified people to support as many people in their community as possible. They know the individuals who are most in need and who are most likely to embrace supportive investment programmes like the training programmes we've developed.