We do not directly employ anyone in East Africa, instead working in partnership with locally owned and led Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). All direct project work is undertaken by our partner organisations, not UK staff. COCO works with these organisations to build capacity and develop sustainability, so they are effective, efficient and sustainable without need for support from COCO to cover every day running costs of the organisation.
Our values are accountability, ambition, common-sense, social responsibility, honesty and integrity and innovation. You can read more about COCO’s values here.
COCO began focusing on education as it was initially founded in response to the devastating conflict in Bosnia. One of COCO's co-founders, Jim Panton, was serving in the British military in Bosnia and witnessed local communities struggling to rebuild their lives first hand. It was decided that investment in education was essential to ensuring that such a situation would not arise again.
As COCO grew as an organisation, the focus increasingly became on poverty alleviation in stable countries. In such an environment it was also decided that education was particularly important. Nelson Mandela famously said 'education is the strongest weapon you can use to change the world'. By educating children in East Africa, we believe that children will be have the skills and knowledge they need to be able to lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty.
Many young people have insufficient skills relevant to helping them to find employment. This not only results in high unemployment for young people, but also means that the economy cannot grow as fast without the talent of young people.
Schools for Life promote group debate and participation, as well as training in vocational skills, nurturing curiosity, equality and an entrepreneurial spirit; helping children to reach their full potential; and giving them the best possible preparation for the future. As well as this, students are taught in accordance with the national curriculum so that they have relevant academic qualifications when leaving schools.
We provide help to organisations in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda.
Our organisation contact details can be found here.
For enquiries related to events, challenges and fundraising email [email protected]
For enquiries related to donations or volunteering email [email protected]
For anything else, email [email protected]
If you would like to make an online donation, click here and donate using one of the methods outlined on the page.
Transferring directly into our account our donating through Wonderful are most efficient for COCO, as we receive 100% of the donation.
From our point of view, the best way to make a donation or payment is through a direct transfer into our account or donating through Wonderful. It's quick, cheap and transparent! You can find our bank details here, along with other ways that you can donate.
100% of your cash donations go to the charity. The best way to give to COCO is to donate directly to us via cash, cheque or BACS transfer into our bank account (please note, fees may apply to international bank transfers – for more information, contact [email protected].
We do not use JustGiving due to the high charges taken from each donation received via this platform.
Please see more about online fees here:
Last financial year (2017), 78% of COCO’s total income went towards charitable expenditure. We look to increase this percentage year on year through lean management and increased restricted funding*. The remaining 22% of our income was spent on raising funds and the profile of the charity, in addition to sustaining our future through building our reserves.
* Restricted funds are donations received for a specific purpose, e.g. the Mercy Classroom appeal. Unrestricted funds are donations given for the charity to use wherever it is needed most.
COCO doesn’t offer child sponsorship programmes for several reasons; they are unsustainable, expensive to administer and can often cause more harm than good.
Sponsoring a child for, say, three years achieves very little unless you sponsor the child for a fourth year. There is no end in sight and the process promotes dependence, which COCO tries to discourage. Sending correspondence between students is expensive and time consuming, and can sometimes alienate children from their families and communities.
Instead, COCO’s programmes seek to help communities to help themselves and place a great emphasis on sustainability. One of the ways in which we do this is through our Food for Fees programme, growing vegetables in a food forest which are sold to generate income for the school so fees can be kept low for poor families. Another way is by providing parents with small loans and sustainable agriculture training so that they can increase their own income, empowering parents to be able to contribute towards fees themselves.
Registration with the fundraising regulator is only available for charities based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are currently in the process of signing up to the fundraising guarantee.
Please fill in the application form which can be found here.
Thank you for fundraising for COCO! Please get in touch with us at any time to ask for advice and tell us your story, and we will share it with our supporters and followers to help boost your fundraising efforts.
Look in our fundraising hall of fame for some inspiration of the exciting ways other supporters have raised money for COCO.
Yes and no. If you’re thinking of volunteering by painting and helping to build classrooms then COCO doesn’t offer placements of this nature. We employ local contractors to do this work and voluntary placements would restrict the opportunity for these contractors to generate income.
We do offer limited placements for individuals with key skills; generally to experienced teachers or researchers. For example, we welcome qualified teachers who are keen to pass on innovative teaching methods to the teachers employed in our Schools for Life.
No, we don't collect items to send to Africa, as it costs more to ship than it does to buy local. By buying goods locally in East Africa we can support the local communities, which ultimately helps in the fight against poverty.
However, we do run a Christmas Appeal for donations instead! If you would like more information on this, please contact [email protected]
COCO invests in great people in the UK and East Africa to ensure that every single donation is processed, spent and accounted for in line with our mission and your wishes.
Many people in the UK are in great need, which COCO recognises. Many COCO staff members, supporters and trustees also choose to support causes in the UK as well as COCO’s work overseas.
COCO chooses to work overseas as we believe in global equality and that all children should have an equal opportunity to be educated so that they can make informed choices and develop skills for a bright future.
We’re living in an increasingly small world and it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate issues overseas from those experienced in the UK. The ongoing refugee crisis demonstrates that the impact of poverty and conflict in one area can spread across the globe.
No. As an organisation we stand strongly against practices which pressure people into donating. We never cold call, buy from or sell data to third parties, and we compliant with data protection rules.
One of our wonderful volunteers summed up our attitude to fundraising better than we could ever hope to; "COCO has mastered the most incredible approach to work; it inspires people to give instead of forcing them."
COCO is a Scottish registered charity (SC030428), so we are registered with OSCR rather than the charity commission. You can find us here.