Accountability is core to Laughter Africa’s values and is at the heart of all our work.
Accountability at Laughter Africa means taking responsibility for listening to the needs, concerns and views of our supporters, donors and beneficiaries. It means acting on what they are telling us and being answerable to them for the decisions that we make. It means that we strive to improve the quality, learning and effectiveness of our programmes as we place our beneficiaries at the centre of our work.
We strive to be accountable to all our stakeholders – those individuals, organisations or groups that have an interest in or influence our work – including supporters, staff, volunteers and donors. Our primary accountability is to the beneficiaries with whom we work – the children and young people living on the streets.
The four main principles that underpin our ability to be accountable are:
- Transparency and sharing of information
- Feedback and complaint handling systems
- Participation and informed consent
- Monitoring, evaluation and learning
All Laughter Africa programmes must have these four principles in place so that we are fully accountable to the people we serve. Laughter Africa’s Statement of Accountability explains how we are doing this.
Transparency and sharing of information
Laughter Africa believes that timely, free-flowing information which is accessible and appropriate to the context is essential for ensuring accountability to our key stakeholders. Laughter Africa has an open information policy enabling members of the public to request any information from the organisation. This policy outlines our approach to sharing information with our key stakeholders including what information is available, how it is shared and how we open up our organisation to external assessment.
You should make any requests for information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or, telephoning 0151 645 7322 or, in writing to Laughter Africa, 124 Princes Boulevard, Bebington, Wirral, CH63 5LP.
We will reply to requests as soon as possible. We aim to reply to all requests within five working days either with the requested information or an explanation as to why it cannot be provided. Response will take no longer than thirty working days. We reserve the right to ask the reason for the information requested.
Feedback and complaint handling systems
As part of an ongoing move to improve our accountability to all stakeholders Laughter Africa has established a complaints handling mechanism for managing, responding to and monitoring complaints within our programmes. This exists for individuals and organisations to raise issues and feedback to Laughter Africa. The complaints handling policy can be read here.
Participation and informed consent
We will ensure that all our supporters, staff, volunteers, donors and beneficiaries will be able to actively participate in Laughter Africa and the different decisions we make.
Monitoring, evaluation and learning
As part of our commitment to accountability Laughter Africa has a genuine commitment to monitoring, evaluation and learning. In accordance with our evaluation policy any evaluations commissioned by us will be published here on our website.
Organisations and codes of conduct to which we are accountable
As part of our commitment to accountability Laughter Africa adheres to requirements from a number of internationally recognised standards, codes of conducts and guidelines. This includes a commitment to The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, which sets out the rights of children relating to basic human rights, civil rights/freedoms, the family, health and welfare, education, leisure and special protection.
Laughter Africa has a number of affiliations with other organisations and government agencies to whom we are accountable, including:
Laughter Africa is accountable to the NGO Unit at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development in Sierra Leone. Laughter Africa reports regularly to the NGO Unit, whose job is to monitor and evaluate NGOs in Sierra Leone.
Laughter Africa is accountable to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs in Sierra Leone. The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs is the government ministry in Sierra Leone responsible for ensuring that social development and the rights of all Sierra Leoneans especially women and children are protected and promoted in general.
Laughter Africa is a member of SLANGO (Sierra Leone Association of Non Governmental Organisations) which is a consortium of NGOs. SLANGO also serves as a unified voice of the NGO community in Sierra Leone. It forms the link between NGOs, government institutions and donor agencies.
The charity commission registers and regulates charities in England and Wales, to ensure that the public can support charities with confidence. The charity commission is responsible for:
- registering eligible organisations in England and Wales which are established for only charitable purposes
- taking enforcement action when there is malpractice or misconduct
- ensuring charities meet their legal requirements, including providing information on their activities each year
- making appropriate information about each registered charity widely available
- providing online services and guidance to help charities run as effectively as possible
Laughter Africa is an Associate member of The Consortium for Street Children (CSC). The CSC is a global network that exists to give street children a voice, promote their rights and improve their lives through their focus on Advocacy, Research and Development.
Laughter Africa is a member of the Youth Federation. The Youth Federation is a charity which supports young people (0-25yrs) and youth groups throughout Cheshire, Halton, Wirral and Warrington. Their Mission Statement is ‘to support and deliver quality youth work through informal education, by working in partnerships with children and young people, voluntary youth organisations and other agencies.’ They aim to invest in young people so they are inspired to make positive choices and differences to their own futures and employability. The Youth Federation is Laughter Africa’s safeguarding umbrella organisation for DBS checks.
Laughter Africa is also a signatory to the ‘The Code of Conduct for The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Response.’
We adhere to the standards set out in the new Charity Governance Code which was published in 2017.
Our Trustee Annual Report and Accounts
Here is a copy of all Laughter Africa’s Trustee Annual Report and Accounts: