Chairman’s Report March 2020

 

Just be a Child web logoThe last year has been one of major growth for JBAC.

We have built one new library in Shimba Hills and supplied books to two others in Homa Bay County. The latter two are the start of our new “Partnership Libraries” venture where we work with local authorities or other partners in Kenya who will then run the libraries.

JBAC has started work with two new communities, Mawaroni and Kombani, and built playgrounds at each site in advance of the libraries that will be built and stocked in a few months time. We are able to support two new libraries at once, and benefit from efficiencies in doing so, thanks to receiving a UK government grant from UK Aid Direct. We will also supply a further Partnership Library this year.

Hence we are looking forwards to a second year in which we supply books to three libraries. This is a huge step up from building and supplying three libraries in JBAC’s first five years of operation from 2013 to 2018.

Needless to say there is a lot more book handling associated with this increase. We are very grateful to Dollimore and Christie for their support in expanding our book storage and handling capability in the UK. There are now two recently arrived 40ft shipping containers in place for JBAC use, with some final work required to connect the two to give a warehouse facility. This will make a huge difference to our ability to deal efficiently and effectively with the many book donations we receive.

All of this activity is reflected in our accounts. Our annual charitable expenditure has increased from just over £23,000 in 2018-19 to nearly £42,000 in 2019-20.

Our income hasn’t quite kept pace with our expenditure, and hence we operated at a small deficit, made possible by money brought forwards from the previous year.  Nevertheless, we feel we are in a reasonable financial position for the coming year with much of the work being supported by the UK Aid Direct grant.

Other notable activities this year include the progression of a registration for an International Non-Governmental Organisation in Kenya. JBAC is also honoured to have been chosen as one of the Stevenage Mayor’s Charities for the year.

Special thanks go to

  • Everyone who has donated books and other items
  • All the volunteers who have helped in the UK with book sorting, packing and more (the “Saturday Club”)
  • All the community volunteers in Kenya who are at the forefront of our work
  • The hardworking and effective fundraising committee who have worked tirelessly this year
  • The trustees who have an important “critical friend” role in supporting JBAC and having ultimate accountability for it, but who also get directly involved in much more.
  • JBAC’s two staff members: Jay who is our coordinator in Kenya, and our Chief Executive and Founder in the UK, Lenka. They provide the inspiration, vision and hard work needed to make JBAC the success it is.

 

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