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What is A Little Gesture A Great Help or ALG?


A Little Gesture A Great Help” (“ALG”) is a small UK Charity focused on overseas aid to vulnerable children. Sara Vicente Barreto and 3 founding Trustees set up ALG as a UK charitable trust in 2011. The initiative followed from Sara’s local volunteering experience and her launch in 2004 of Portuguese NGO Um Pequeno Gesto Uma Grande Ajuda (“UPG”). Both charities are focused on underprivileged children and their families living exclusively in the Province of Gaza, a highly impoverished area in southern Mozambique.

The sister­‐charities are financially independent but both intervene directly on the ground through local established operations in Xai-­‐Xai, Chongoene and Chokwé. This is a mostly rural  area  heavily  affected  by  AIDS  where  children typically belong to one-­‐parent only families, have HIV-­‐infected relatives or are already orphans.

What is their Mission and Goals?

Our mission is to promote the improvement of living conditions for underprivileged children and their families in Mozambique.

Our goal is to give them access to academic and skills based education in a safe environment with adequate nutrition, water and housing. We strongly believe our impact is to improve their employability, create income-generating activities and support the local economy.

What do they actually do?

Inspired by how much a little gesture could do in Mozambique, ALG and UPG support 871 children with direct Sponsorship of basic food and school enrolment costs in 2015, in mostly rural impoverished villages.

The two charities also finance complementary Projects in support of 2’106 beneficiaries directly by year end 2013 to promote Poverty Relief (HIV support), improve Infrastructure for living conditions (basic housing, water wells, small community centres), advance Education (academic and technical such as literacy or arts&crafts courses) and invest in Sustainability (micro income-­‐generating activities). In 2013 this number reached an impressive total of 7’019 beneficiaries if we include the direct intervention by the Charity on flood emergency relief. The number was stable around 2’000 beneficiaries in 2014 and will increase again to 4’360 in 2015 with the construction of a new community water well.

Both charities have strict control of costs using essentially volunteer work, and aim to apply c.90p on the ground per pound donated.

How does the organisation operate on the ground in Mozambique?

A Little Gesture works on the ground through the establishment of long-­‐term partnerships with individual and carefully chosen Local Partners. Local Partners will be chosen by the Trustees of the Charity between members of the community, established in the area for a number of years, with charitable operations under their responsibility such as running shelters for orphan children, nurseries for underprivileged and “street” children, community development initiatives as water wells and sewing centers, among others.

Only partners who agree with our Charity´s mission and objects and who abide to our strict supervision rules will qualify as Local Partners. No Local Partner receives any ALG funds raised in the UK without respecting our guidelines for the direct application of these funds on a continuing and longstanding basis, with constant monitoring at headquarters.

How Can I Help

Everyone can help with their own Little Gesture, from small donations to participating in our fundraising efforts or just offering some spare time to help our running of the organization!

We run biannual ALG Quiz nights in the Chelsea area, racing events such as the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge or the big Royal Parks half-­‐marathon in December. Many volunteers launch their own personal fundraising challenge such as  bungee jumping or a birthday party on behalf of ALG. They run a bake-­‐sale at their office or even a competition for push-­‐ ups by the desk. Ask our team more!

What is Um Pequeno Gesto?

Um Pequeno Gesto or UPG Portugal is our 11­‐year old Portuguese sister charity, established by our Chairman Sara Vicente in 2004. It has a similar mission and objectives to ALG and operates on the same areas in Mozambique.

Where does the Charity operate?

Currently the Trustees have established target areas in 6 regional centres in the impoverished Gaza Province, south Mozambique:

  • Chongoene (with neighbourhoods of Nhancutse and Banhine),
  • Xai-­‐Xai, in town and in the village Marien Ngouabi
  • Chokwé, in town and in the village of

It is a dynamic and very flexible organisation where in each UK Trustee meetings we decide specifically which Project to initiate, expand or cancel, always careful to protect the children and the transparency of funds.

How does the Charity know who needs help the most?

The  Trustees  operate  under  a  system  of  allocating  the  Charity’s  funds  to  initiatives  in  chosen  target areas  in Mozambique (“the Projects”), which they believe will further the charitable purposes of ALG.

The Projects are implemented and monitored under the local supervision of 6 Local Partners, 5 of whom are nuns or priests operating local religious centres under Roman Catholic supervision. We believe that by nature of their career these religious individuals tend to match our charitable purposes of poverty relief, advancement of education, etc, but we do not reject in any way beneficiaries based on race or creed or the establishment of future relationships with a non-­‐ religious local body. Typically, the  enlargement of the  action to new partners  is  only expected to  occur by  strict recommendation and following strict due diligence.

The Local Partners will be able to suggest to the Trustees the more urgent areas of need in the region given their first-­‐ hand knowledge of local families and village needs. The decision to proceed or cancel a Project funded by ALG funds will always and without exception rest with the Trustees in the UK. We can chose to reject funding for projects that fall outside our scope of action or that we are unable to monitor and supervise as per our guidelines.

The UK Trustees will work on the ground in collaboration with and benefiting from the experience of the 11-­‐year old Portuguese registered NGO Um Pequeno Gesto (“UPG”).

How do the Trustees and their Partners select the beneficiaries and areas of operation?

All our Local Partners must agree with our Charity´s mission and objects and abide to our strict supervision rules to qualify and receive funds. No Local Partner shall receive any ALG funds raised in the UK without respecting our guidelines for the application of these funds on a continuing and longstanding basis.

The Trustees determine the yearly Projects that receive funding from our Charity. The decision is based on i) area of focus, ii) amount of financing and expected impact, and iii) implementing Local Partner. At launch, each of the Projects are given a standardized Project report, to be filled without exception at regular intervals, including a range of monitoring criteria determined by the Trustees.

The ALG beneficiaries tend to be related to the extensive sponsorship programme ran by the Portuguese NGO, which are initially suggested by the Local Partners given their first-­‐hand knowledge of the local families. ALG will seek to focus the application of its funds on a sub-­‐section of these communities in order to deepen our reach and increase our impact in their lives and of their families.

Does any connected person benefit privately from the organisation? In particular, is anyone remunerated by the organisation?

No financial benefit or remuneration at all has ever been enjoyed by any of the UK Trustees or volunteers and we do not plan to allow it on any ordinary basis. All our Trustees are perfectly self-­‐sufficient financially and expect no financial benefit from the Charity. No work other than volunteer work has ever been undertaken in the UK organisation and no remunerated work is planned to be undertaken. In 2015 ALG agreed to the first staff expense with website development.

We are happy to state that all the trips to Mozambique made over 10 years by our Founder and Chairman, Sara Vicente, have been paid personally out of her own expense. The first trip benefiting from support was in 2015 using airmiles donated to the Portuguese sister charity and taxes paid by the Chairman. There is no plan for her or any of the UK Trustees to travel to the ground on any of the Charity’s funds.

What is A Little Gesture Worth?

We have an open book policy and are happy to share our cost structure in Mozambique with you. We have strict control over our expenses on the ground and where your pound was used.

Please contact us should you wish to know the cost of any particular programme or project you would like to support. As an example, see below an illustration of what your Little Gesture can buy!

How to register complaints?

The Trustees of ALG are careful to ensure that there is a transparent, well-publicised, effective and timely process for making and handling a complaint.  Any internal or external complaints are handled constructively, impartially and effectively. If you would like to submit a complaint, please email Founding Trustee Patricia Acquaviva: patriciaacquaviva@alittlegesture.org

Financial, Child Protection and Futher Risk Policy