Why do you not give the charities the funding to buy the school equipment?
The average value of the goods in a Contain-A-School shipment is around 30-40k, we wouldn't be able to offer this level of funding to each charity; and often the equipment we send cannot easily be purchased in-country and/or it is very expensive.
By delivering a Contain-A-School project we can add real value to the work that the charity is already doing, taking on all the organisation and logistics of the shipment, leaving the charity to focus on its many other activities.
Also, if we just gave out grants we would miss out on all the other fantastic benefits that delivering Contain-A-School projects offer – including children in the UK getting involved, young and older people participating in our volunteer programme, opportunities for recycling perfectly usable, but unwanted goods, that otherwise may end up in landfill.
How do you make sure that you are not shipping waste overseas?
We work with the recipient school to draw up a wish list of equipment & resources, making sure that we only ship items that are needed by the school. We also ensure that all the donated items we accept are unwanted new, or good quality second-hand items with plenty of usable life in them.
Is there a risk that you will be leaving redundant containers all over Africa?
No, we ensure that at the start of every project we sit down with the project partners to agree the end use for the container, making sure that this is realistic and achievable.
How do you choose recipient schools and your project partners?
When we are looking to take on a new Contain-A-School project we have a preliminary meeting with the project partners, where we discuss the needs of the recipient school. We go through an example project plan, discuss timeframes and make clear the roles, responsibilities and expectations of all partners. We will also explore the type of goods needed and the final use of the container.
It is essential that the overseas charity partner is established enough, with a secure relationship with the recipient school, to manage delivery of the container and distribution/use of the resources in country.