News Christmas Appeal: The Charities Three Agencies Benefiting from `the Independent' Christmas Appeal

Article excerpt


The African Medical and Research Foundation, based in Nairobi, began in the 1950s as a flying doctor service mainly for whites, but has become the biggest indigenous aid agency in Africa. It specialises in using everyday objects to save lives, for instance distributing needles and thread so that mosquito nets, made by tailors with the help of interest-free loans, can be repaired. The nets have cut malaria cases by up to 80 per cent. The agency has also taught local doctors how to close wounds using the pincers of safari ants. The principle is to train local people and give communities the tools to help themselves.


The agency's emergency teams can send immediate relief to the scenes of disasters, and then help with reconstruction and development, aiming to empower local people to do the work themselves. But it also asks why poor people in Africa live on such narrow margins of existence that it takes a comparatively small thing to tip them into disaster. …