Amref Health Africa UK

Changing Africa Together

2015 Annual Review

Thank you for your support

  • HRH The Prince of Wales

  • The Duke of Richmond & Gordon

  • Gautam Dalal (Chairman to May 2016)
  • Mark Chambers (Chairman May 2016 – present)
  • Amanda Caine
  • Paul Davey
  • Liam Fisher-Jones
  • Justine Frain (sub-committee)
  • Sue Hunt
  • Sally James
  • James Murray Grant
  • Craig Pollard
  • Dr Josephine Ruwende
  • Alistair Smith
  • Katy Stewart

  • Accenture Foundation
  • Allen & Overy
  • Diageo
  • Euromoney Institutional Investor
  • GSK
  • Nelsons
  • Simmonds and Simmonds
  • Somak Holidays
  • ViiV Healthcare UK Ltd
  • Williamson Tea

  • Big Lottery Fund
  • British Council
  • Comic Relief
  • Department for International Development
  • European Commission
  • Jersey Overseas Aid Commission

  • A P Bartleet Trust
  • Andor Charitable Trust
  • Bryan Guinness Charitable Trust
  • Cumber Family Charitable Trust
  • Daily Mail and General Trust
  • Evan Cornish
  • Evans Trust
  • Gilander Foundation
  • Lord Maclay Charitable Trust
  • Mainhouse Charitable Trust
  • Miss K M Harbinson’s Charitable Trust
  • P F Charitable Trust
  • Pawle Charitable Trust
  • Peter Storrs Trust
  • Professor D G Montefiore Charitable Trust
  • Roger Vere Foundation
  • Sheila Whitley Trust
  • Simon’s Charity
  • Somerset Local Medical Benevolent Fund
  • The A and E Education Trust
  • The Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust
  • The Ardwick Trust
  • The Austin Bailey Foundation
  • The Batchworth Trust
  • The Beatrice Laing Charitable Trust
  • The Charities Advisory Trust
  • The Cotton Trust
  • The De La Rue Charitable Trust
  • The Dulverton Trust
  • The Emerton-Christie Charity
  • The Fulmer Charitable Trust
  • The Golden Bottle Trust
  • The Hermitage Trust
  • The Hollick Family Charitable Trust
  • The Honourable M L Astors 1969 Charity
  • The Leswyn Charitable Trust
  • The Lord Deedes of Aldington Charitable Trust
  • The Michael and Anna Wix Charitable Trust
  • The N Smith Charitable Settlement
  • The Paget Charitable Trust
  • The Pennycress Trust
  • The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation
  • The Seventh Earl of Bradford’s 1981 Charitable Trust
  • The Souter Charitable Trust
  • The St Mary’s Charity
  • The Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust
  • The Thousandth Man – Richard Burns Charitable Trust
  • The Vernon – Educational Trust
  • Tula Trust

  • People for People
  • Sally Poltimore – Hungerford Christmas Fair
  • Wolfson College, University of Oxford

  • David Baker
  • Mike Beswick
  • Mick Csaky
  • John Fuller
  • Ian McQueeney
  • Simon Waters
  • Adam Williams
  • Alice Zhang

  • Jessica Clark
  • Maya Dudok de Wit
  • Abigail Johnson

We are grateful for gifts and donations of all sizes which have made our work possible this year.

Welcome to our Annual Review 2015

Mark Chambers | Chair of Amref Health Africa UK

Hello and welcome to our Annual Review 2015. I am delighted to have the opportunity to share with you a snapshot of the amazing work that takes place in the communities we support across sub-Saharan Africa and to recognise the contribution of the incredible people who are doing so much to make a very real difference to so many people’s lives.

Since joining Amref Health Africa as Chair earlier this year, I have been overwhelmed by the commitment and dedication this organisation has to the communities in which it operates. Indeed, our belief in the power of our communities is at the heart of the organisation and its successes. We are part of a global organisation, with a global purpose and global partners, but the needs of individuals and their communities are still at the forefront of every decision, just as they were 60 years ago when the charity was founded.

There are no easy answers or quick fixes for improving healthcare and tackling the root causes of poverty and disease, but we are making outstanding progress in improving healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. Our team in the UK is small, but we have the reach and resources of a large and diverse organisation in Africa – Amref is the biggest health NGO on the continent – and we should be immensely proud of the difference our health workers, midwives and nurses make.

Our achievements are transforming lives beyond those we touch directly. Increasing health worker numbers, reaching new communities and pioneering health solutions bring essential healthcare to remote, vulnerable communities, and, by doing so, they help end the cycle of poverty and provide a vital foundation for sustainable social change across the continent.

We thank you for your continued dedicated support and we hope you enjoy our Annual Review 2015.

Frances Longley | Chief Executive of Amref Health Africa UK

For almost 60 years, Amref Health Africa has been working in partnership with local communities, health workers and governments to deliver our vision of lasting health change for Africa. A colleague recently described Amref Health Africa as a humble, behind-the-scenes organisation that changes Africa from the ground up and I think that captures the spirit of this extraordinary organisation well. In a world where messages sometimes seem more important than action, Amref Health Africa continues to stand out from the crowd by focusing on achieving a lasting, sustainable and life-changing effect for good.

There’s an African proverb that says that if you want to travel fast, travel alone, but if you want to travel far, go together. Our focus is on sustainable change, which means travelling far, so we always work with others to make sure that, together, we make significant progress that lasts the distance. We do this very deliberately, with respect and humility and a quiet pride in what we achieve for others. It is in that spirit that we share stories from our past year with you here. It’s a powerful story of real change created by remarkable people in tough situations.

Over the course of almost 60 years we have earned the trust and loyalty of a wealth of partners, from community health workers in the slums of Nairobi, who use our mobile training platform, to local NGOs, who work with us to bring about change in their communities, to global companies like GSK and Allen & Overy who work hand-in-hand with us to deliver lasting change. In this year’s Annual Review we’re telling the stories of the real and lasting change those partnerships deliver, through the voices of the people we work with, and for, in some of the hardest to reach and most marginalised communities across the continent of Africa.

Amref Health Africa’s work is established, proven and effective. I hope the stories in this report inspire you to step onto the path for change with us: together we can go even further to create lasting health change for Africa.

About Amref Health Africa

Amref Health Africa is Africa’s leading health charity and one of the leading healthcare development agencies on the continent. Working primarily with women and girls, our vision is of lasting health change within Africa’s most vulnerable and remote communities. Headquartered in Nairobi, we are a truly African organisation which combines grass roots development with government partnerships. This ethos defines our community-based approach and echoes across each and every one of the projects and programmes we deliver.

We started life in 1957 as the Flying Doctors of East Africa. In 1970 the UK office was founded to support the growing work of Amref across Africa. Beginning with aeroplanes to provide the most remote communities with health care, we have always used the ‘tools of our time’ to bridge the gap between heath systems and people. Today we use e-learning, telemedicine, and mobile phones to spread health knowledge and care. Our work – ranging from maternal and newborn health to water and sanitation – has won high-profile international awards such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Award for Global Health and the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Award.

Why Amref Health Africa?

Amref Health Africa is known throughout sub-Saharan Africa as being an indigenous African organisation and one which understands local culture and the realities on the ground.”
Isa, WASH Project Officer

Themes We Address



Training health workers

Women & child health



Our promise

To improve the lives of disadvantaged people in Africa through better health.

To bridge the gap between communities, health systems and governments.

To be a leading force for advocacy for health-system reform in Africa.

To be a leader in the NGO community, developing and documenting best practices and training programmes.

Our priorities


Maternal health

Making pregnancy safe and expanding reproductive health.


Child health

Reducing illness and mortality among children.


Fighting disease

Scaling-up HIV, TB and malaria responses.


Water & sanitation

Preventing and controlling diseases related to water, sanitation and hygiene.


Improving medical standards

Increasing access for disadvantaged communities to quality medical, surgical and diagnostic services.


Training medical workers

Developing a strong research and innovation base to contribute to health improvement in Africa.


Amref Health Africa

Creating a strong, unified global Amref Health Africa.

Amref Health Africa UK 2015 headline achievements

  • In 2015, Amref Health Africa UK funded 20 projects across 14 countries.
  • Total income generated for the year was £5.7 million, up from £4.4 million in 2014.
  • From 2014-2016, Amref Health Africa UK was selected as Allen & Overy Global Charity of the year. To date, the partnership has raised nearly £1 million.
  • From December 2014-January 2015, Amref Health Africa UK featured as a beneficiary in the Times Christmas Appeal. Nine articles were run, with a focus on maternal health and prevention of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The partnership raised £158,788 from public donations and received a £20,000 match fund from GSK.
  • Amref Health Africa UK became the Annual Beneficiary of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, thanks to the support of our President, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, and his son, the Earl of March and Kinrara. The event raised over £171,000.
  • Income from individual givers reached over £500,000.
  • 2015 saw the development and start-up of seven large projects across Africa, including the expansion of our sexual reproductive health and rights programme in Tanzania and our maternal and child health portfolio in Kenya and Uganda. Together, these projects will reach almost 400,000 people.

Where we work

Click on a flagship country to see more.
Amref Health Africa UK is one of 11 Northern fundraising offices. With our headquarters based in Nairobi, we are a truly African organisation, working primarily with women and girls to bring better health to those living in some of the region’s poorest and most remote communities.

Bringing about sustainable change

Our partnership with Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy staff and partners voted for education, training and employment to be the area of focus for the partnership. Amref Health Africa’s sexual and reproductive health programme in Tanzania is an example of the importance of health programmes in enabling young people, particularly girls, to stay in school. In Tanzania, 5,000 girls a year are permanently excluded from school and denied their right to education as a result of becoming pregnant. Limited attainment means limited opportunities for these young women, and a continuation of the extreme poverty cycle, which not only affects the young women, but also their children, and has far reaching effects for the community. With Allen & Overy’s support, Amref Health Africa is tackling this. We are working with communities to improve universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive education and health services for youths aged 10-24, giving girls more choices about their reproductive health and helping them stay in school. Through this we are helping to ensure a whole generation of young men and women have the resources they need to make positive life choices.

Allen & Overy’s people have demonstrated incredible generosity during the partnership, smashing their fundraising target and raising over £900,000 to date. In addition, they have also given their time and skills to support Amref Health Africa globally with pro bono work. In particular, teams from Amref Health Africa and Allen & Overy have worked together to develop a training tool for advocacy on sexual and reproductive health. It is designed to assist project managers with communicating the organisation’s messages effectively and bringing about sustainable change.

Older people supporting

Ensuring Bright Futures for young women

Mother holding child By working with young people in the context of their peer groups we are enabling them to make informed decisions around sex and pregnancy.

Sexuality and the right to reproductive health are fundamental human rights and fundamental to a healthy society. However, many governments fail to provide adequate services and enforce health policies and laws that work for all. Young people, and especially young women, are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of poor services and support in making positive personal choices. Amref Health Africa is working to change this, breaking the cycle of poor attainment and extreme poverty.

This issue is particularly acute in Tanzania where, over the last decade, 50,000 girls have had their education terminated when they were expelled from school for becoming pregnant. Tanzania has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the world. Girls become pregnant as young as 10 years old, ending their own childhood long before they have even reached their teens. Although free primary education and access to secondary education is a right for all children in Tanzania, a mass of legal and cultural factors prevent the realisation of this right in the case of girls who become pregnant. Traditional rites of passage encourage girls to have sex and marry years before the legal age of consent. Moreover, girls often have a fundamental lack of ownership of their own sexual health and agency, which is reinforced by harmful traditional practices such as FGM and forced marriage. Inadequate sexual education in school and poor, youth-unfriendly health services therefore jeopardise the future of thousands of schoolgirls every year.

Our Bright Futures programme – funded by Allen & Overy, Big Lottery Fund and the Faroe Islands Trust – is working to ensure positive futures for young women in two of Tanzania’s poorest rural communities – Meatu District in the northern region of Simiyu and Handeni District in the eastern Tanga Region. By working with young people in the context of their peer groups we are enabling them to make informed decisions around sex and pregnancy. We work with teachers to ensure they provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive education, and train healthcare workers to establish youth-friendly services that are available when young people need them. These activities are also combined with focused advocacy, seeking to implement changes at all levels, from the grassroots community up to national policy.

Amref Health Africa’s work with young people is all about empowerment. Engaged, educated and healthy young people will help break multi-generational extreme poverty, increase societal resilience and, as skilled and informed citizens, contribute to strengthening their communities in the long term.

Mobile phones

Improving community health in the Kibera slum
Dorine is a Community Health Volunteer trained by Amref Health Africa. She lives in Kibera, Nairobi – the largest urban slum in Africa.

Kibira is made up of 250,000 people. Conditions are tough and unemployment is high. It is Dorine’s job to visit her neighbours, offering support and advice to expectant mothers and women with children to ensure they are healthy. Dorine is responsible for over 100 households in the slum, advising on ante-natal care visits, ensuring mother and baby records are kept up-to-date, offering assistance with breastfeeding, immunisations, nutrition and family planning.

Dorine is a member of a Community Unit called Soweto, which is made up of 120 Community Healthcare Volunteers who, together, look after the people of Kibera. To perform her work effectively, Dorine has been trained on LEAP – an innovative mobile phone-based platform which uses regular updates and peer-to-peer communication to strengthen the skills of health workers. Dorine’s smartphone is now a key factor to her work as a Community Healthcare Volunteer.

“LEAP has really increased my confidence”, she says. “When I visit a household to advise a neighbour, I know that I have all the health content right there with me in case I need to check anything. I know I am giving the correct information at all times.”

Most Community Health Volunteers live a hand-to-mouth existence in Kibera. The mobile technology gives people like Dorine flexibility. They can now fit study into their routines, around work, and SMS alerts mean that visits run much more smoothly. Being able to access material through the mobile platform at home is also much safer than walking the streets after dark, where crime and the risk of attacks are high.

LEAP has also encouraged a strong sense of group identity and responsibility. Many of the volunteers are more engaged in their work because they feel invested in it. Features such as a ‘group chat’ are popular for arranging visits, Community Action Days and circulating test results. A ‘buddy system’ has evolved between older and younger Community Healthcare Volunteers, ensuring that the less tech-savvy Community Health Volunteers aren’t left behind.

Older people supporting

Improving Maternal, Newborn & Child Health in Ethiopia

Mother with child With a population of over 90 million people, Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa. It is also one of the poorest. The South Omo and Segen regions are two of Ethiopia’s most remote and marginalised zones, and maternal and child mortality are incredibly high.

In April 2013, Amref Health Africa – with funding from The Department for International Development, The Pharo Foundation and The Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust – started tackling this issue. Our aim was to increase the awareness and use of health services, improve the skills of existing health workers at facility and community level and strengthen health systems so that they could deliver more effective services to women and children in the future.

It didn’t take long for local communities to realise that Amref Health Africa was different to other organisations, after seeing first hand our commitment and collaborative way of working.

Zenebe Shanqo is a clinical nurse at the Gidole Health Centre in the Derashe District, Segen Zone. He has been in his role for six years and works in the outpatient department.

“I am very happy with the training that I have received through the Amref Health Africa project. Since implementation, I have seen a lot of change. We used to treat patients according to signs and symptoms, but now we have a chart booklet and guidelines on how to treat children under five years old. For me, this has been the biggest development."

“Now, our patients are making great improvements and mothers on the street tell me how much better their children are doing. They call me ‘specialist of the children’. I really appreciate Amref and the work that they do. They work hard to provide supplies, fill our skills gap and address the severe shortages we have.”

Training health workers – improving the quality of life

Our partnership with GSK
The Amref Health Africa/GSK partnership is a remarkable, long-standing strategic alliance. Working together for more than 28 years, in more than 15 countries, our programmes have been working towards achieving both organisations’ visions – that of lasting health change in Africa and improving the quality of life.

In our latest collaboration with GSK, we have teamed up to train frontline health workers through the GSK 20% Reinvestment Initiative (RI) programme. Launched in 2009, the initiative is now being implemented by Amref Health Africa across 13 different countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. This programme sees GSK reinvest 20% of profits generated in the least developed countries back into strengthening those countries’ healthcare systems. It is a sustainable model to help improve healthcare infrastructure long-term and improve access to healthcare. Through the RI programme, the Amref Health Africa/GSK approach is threefold: build local capability to enable improved delivery of healthcare services, primarily by ensuring access to trained health workers at the community level; educate communities to recognise diseases and refer to health services and work with governments at a policy level to work towards greater investment, and improvement, in healthcare.

Nearly 30 years ago, Amref Health Africa and GSK joined forces to distribute bed nets to communities at risk of malaria. Over the years since, our partnership has collaborated on projects focusing on malaria and HIV prevention, access to proper sanitation and non-communicable disease prevention. Together we created the PHASE programme in Kenya to teach children the importance of handwashing and good hygiene practice. This programme has since been rolled out across 16 countries, reaching more than 1.5 million children.

The World Health Organisation believes that an additional 7.2 million global health workers are needed. A chronic shortage of trained frontline health workers in the world’s least developed countries is recognised as one of the most fundamental constraints on improving access to healthcare. This presents an incredibly complex health challenge affecting the world’s poorest communities, including many of the countries in which our partnership works. Through the RI initiative, we are working together to help plug this gap to ensure communities across sub-Saharan Africa have access to trained community health workers, who are essential to providing frontline care to the most hard-to-reach communities. Health workers on the ground, living and working in the community, can provide life-saving healthcare advice, medicines and vaccines. In Tanzania for example, only 50% of pregnant women are assisted during childbirth by a doctor or other trained health worker. The risk of death in pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 23.

To date, the RI programme has reached more than four million people in East and Southern Africa. Through the partnership, we have trained more than 8,300 health workers across 13 African countries.

Older people supporting

Water and Sanitation clubs

Rebuilding lives after civil war

Girls carrying water Amref Health Africa is supporting recently settled displaced people to improve their access to clean and safe water and sanitation facilities.

Madi Kiloc Primary School is situated in the Lamwo district of northern Uganda. It is a very remote and under-developed region, which endured almost two decades of civil war. An estimated 1.8 million people were displaced from their homes and forced to live in camps. Since 2006 people have begun to return to their homes in the north and people are now rebuilding their lives. Access to clean water and sanitation facilities remains low, with 80% of schools having no water supply and 65% of schools lacking handwashing facilities. This results in a range of illnesses including diarrheal disease, typhoid, trachoma and skin diseases. Amref Health Africa is supporting recently settled displaced people to improve their access to clean and safe water and sanitation facilities.

With the generous support of the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, we worked with 20 primary schools in northern Uganda to help rebuild their water and sanitation hardware, improving hygiene for 13,111 primary school children.

In Madi Kiloc primary school, the project established a new borehole for clean water and a rainwater harvesting tank, and built a new latrine block with five cubicles. This has dramatically changed life for the students, particularly for adolescent girls who previously had nowhere to wash. It supported the School Health Club to promote good hygiene knowledge and practices including good handwashing and cleaning of the latrines

Financial highlights

financial highlights chart

Amref Health Africa UK

  • Amref Health Africa UK
  • Lower Ground Floor
  • 15-18 White Lion Street
  • London N1 9PD
  • Amref Health Africa is Africa’s leading health development organisation, saving and transforming people’s lives in the continent’s poorest and most marginalised communities.
  • Amref Health Africa UK is a company limited by guarantee registered in England.
  • Company Registration Number: 00982544
  • Charity Number: 261488