Funding that makes a difference: East African Playgrounds

Find out about East African Playgrounds' fundraising efforts to help bring the joys of play to the children of East Africa.

Article 31 of The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has the right “to engage in play and recreational activity”. In the UK that right is taken for granted. Sadly, for many children in poorer parts of the world this basic right simply isn’t reflected in reality. East African Playgrounds strives to give children in Uganda and across the region a chance to enjoy their childhood by building playgrounds and running play advocacy programmes with teachers and parents, giving children a chance to participate in the universal language of children- play.

Why Playgrounds?

There are a plethora of reasons as to why children need to play; numerous studies have pointed to it having a positive influence on a child’s learning, well-being, healthy brain development and imagination to name but a few. A child’s development through play can drastically improve their prospects later in life.

Uganda is also home to the 5th largest refugee population in the world and this is where EAP (East African Playgrounds) carry out much of their work. With conflicts and unrest in South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea driving people across the Ugandan border the work of EAP is crucial to addressing the complex needs of refugee children. These children have experienced trauma, lost family members and been victims of violence. EAP’s efforts to bring play to refugee settlements help children start to rebuild their lives.

Whilst providing a safe place to play, EAP also ensure that local communities play the pivotal role in constructing and maintaining the playgrounds. With the region in the grips of high unemployment this provides a valuable opportunity for young adults in the area to gain practical skills and training.

To date, EAP have had a huge impact on the region. They’ve built over 200 playgrounds, trained 45 Ugandan staff and impacted the lives of over 300,000 children across East Africa. Despite EAP being a relative newbie to fundraising from trusts, Fundraising Manager Suzie Rees explains how has helped them in their change in fundraising strategy and saved valuable time in their goal to find matchfunding for future projects in East Africa.

Suzie Rees, Fundraising Manager, East African Playgrounds and EAP’s Fundraising efforts

We only began fundraising from trusts and foundations in 2015, and has been brilliant in helping us set up this funding stream from scratch.  Recently I’ve been using a lot to find good prospects for match funding for a large project we are undertaking this winter in conjunction with UNICEF, providing playgrounds and play training in refugee settlements and deprived communities across Uganda. We have a large match funding requirement that we need to find relatively quickly so I have been sending out a large number of applications, and has been a great timesaver.

Using as a Professional Fundraiser is great as a time-saver as key facts that would only be found by trawling through annual accounts on the Charity Commission website are presented quickly and clearly, essential in a small charity like ours where there never seems to be enough time for everything we want to do! For instance, one of the most frustrating situations for a fundraiser is finding a funder that seems a perfect fit for your charity and then, after much effort, finding out they don’t accept unsolicited applications.. Sometimes you’ll find extra information on that cannot be found anywhere else.

“ is great as a timesaver as key facts that would only be found by trawling through annual accounts on the Charity Commission website are presented quickly and clearly

My top 3 Fundraising tips

1. Research, research, research, but be sure to prioritise where you spend your time! For trusts giving away smaller amounts, obviously check the basics, their accounts and that you fit with their criteria, but there is no point spending hours researching everything you can about the trustees of a trust that in the end is only likely to give you £500. Save the very in depth research for those trusts that may give you larger amounts.

2. Keep good records of contact with trusts – record everything, from what was said during that initial phone call to what you have found out through research online, and of course what applications you have submitted. It’s easy to think you’ll remember things but it is amazing how quickly things go out of your head.

3. Delegate – can you get in a volunteer to help you with some of your fundraising tasks, even if it’s only a few hours a week? A regular fundraising volunteer can help with those small applications, research, and record keeping, meaning you can use your time in the most efficient way. This can be a really interesting role for a volunteer and a great way for them to gain experience and skills and take ownership of an area of work.

If you want find out more about East African Playgrounds you can visit their website here. If you’d like to donate to help them continue their work in East Africa, click here.