Volunteering abroad: Anita Brook recently volunteered in Malawi. She is principal of Accounts Assist, an ACCA firm based in Silverstone, Northamptonshire and is both a Bedford, Luton, Northampton Panel Member and a member of the ACCA Practitioners’ Network Panel.
Q. What is your involvement in Accounting for International Development?
A. AFID is a charity that sends volunteers to developing countries to improve their accounting systems. I registered with AFID some time ago and they asked me to go to Malawi to support Coyida. Coyida is a youth-focused organization aimed at building a youth community responsible enough to contribute towards development of their communities and the country at large. Coyida has four programme areas: food security; water and sanitation; gender-based violence and child abuse; and HIV and AIDS. It works in rural areas.
Q. Why did you get involved?
A. It took me two and a half years to qualify and I wanted to put my skills to good use – not just in my day-to-day job helping small businesses. I wanted to apply these same skills in another country. I want to make a difference through my own actions, rather than give money. Sometimes it is actually more important to directly help people.
Q. How can accountants support international development?
A. There is a real need for accountants in developing countries. A lot of organizations in developing countries don’t have the knowledge and training to complete their accounting records properly. Yet they may be dependent on money from international agencies – which often comes with complex reporting obligations. So accountants are very much needed out there.
Q. Are you continuing to support Coyida?
A. Yes. I have taken on another trainee! I run a training practice here and I now have a trainee in Malawi. I am sponsoring Grace in Coyida’s accounts to become ACCA qualified. Grace completed her high school education, which is very rare in Malawi. She will sit her first ACCA exams in December. I will also be continuing to champion Coyida from the UK
AFID works with 60 partner organizations in 12 African and 3 Asian developing nations.
It aims to increase that by 2014 to 200 partners in 20 countries.