Newsletter February 2014

Happy New Year to all our supporters from everyone at Abaseen Foundation!

When we started to send out Newsletters we aimed to send out 2 per year, but so much is happening that we want to share with you that we have barely staggered into 2014 before this first letter is pinging into your inbox or landing on your doormat. Inflation seems to be an inevitable feature of life, but hopefully a rise in the number of Newsletters you receive will be a welcome inflationary sign if it means that the charity you have all been kind enough to support has good news to share with you about what we have been able to do in the communities we are working with. 

What’s been happening?

Great news! We reported last time that we were pursuing a bid with DIFD, the government department responsible for international development. We are delighted to report that after months of intensive work we have been successful and will receive almost £250,000 over the next 3 years to extend the currently limited range of healthcare services provided at Baghbanan Health Centre, the facility that serves the Baghbanan community where the Noor Model School is situated. In particular we hope it will secure improvements in maternal and child health as this area and Pakistan more generally lags behind comparable countries in maternal and child mortality rates and will miss internationally agreed targets (called the Millennium Development Goals). Work on the project starts immediately and we are very excited about this success. We will, of course, keep you abreast of developments via the newsletter, but if you can’t wait our website is regularly updated. 
www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk

We should say that the current services provided at the Baghbanan Health Centre, although limited were an improvement on the situation that existed before AF got involved in 2011 in the project to provide basic health services which was funded for 3 years. Prior to this the desperately poor community of around 250,000 had no access to healthcare unless they could afford to travel into Peshawar or access private clinics locally. The target for the number of consultations was initially set at 15,000 over the lifetime of the project, but this was later revised up to 25,000 and in fact even this target was exceeded with over 29,000 patients seen. The project was independently evaluated in November 2013 in a document titled ‘BHU Shamshatoo- Health as a Basis for Existence’ (see our website for further detail) www.abaseenfoundation.co.uk . The evaluation was very positive highlighting the health benefits to the local community and the value they placed on the services provided. Importantly the evaluation identified enhancements to services currently provided and additional services that were required that would deliver additional health gains, but which were not affordable within the budgetary constraints. The successful DIFD bid will allow us to build on our earlier work and address some of the deficiencies identified. 

We currently have 2 project ‘clusters’; one referred to above based in the community of Bagbhanan involving Noor Model school and a Basic Health Unit and a second in Shamshatoo which currently involves Mian Gul school only, but which we hope in future will 
include Shamshatoo Hospital where we plan to replicate the successful model we developed at Nahaqi, our first hospital project. We have long recognised that access to healthcare, adequate nutrition and education are all essential to improving the lives of beneficiaries. Consequently AF’s strategy is rooted in the effective integration of these key strands (to see our strategy document go to our website www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk ). All our projects and our funding bids reflect this philosophy An example of this is that we have submitted another large bid to The Big Lottery which would allow us to develop and integrate the health and education services at Shamshatoo and also expand our research capacity and our ability to disseminate good practice.

Health Surveillance Work at one of the Government Schools

Health Surveillance Work at one of the Government Schools

New Abaseen group gets off the ground 

We told you in the last Newsletter that a group of our active supporters were establishing an Oldham based AF branch. Meetings are chaired by Shauna Dixon MBE and membership of the group includes representatives of the local Pakistani community other and 
representatives of the 2 schools. The first meeting has taken place and the group already has an ambitious draft action plan involving fundraising activities and developing or enhancing links with local education and health providers and a potentially sympathetic 
business community to build ‘ a family of AF supporters’. They are pledging enthusiastic involvement in the 2014 Yorkshire 3 peaks sponsored walk on Saturday 14th June. Why don’t you put the date in your diary and join them there. More details of the event will be announced nearer the time.

Is that all we have done since we were last in touch?

Of course not! AFUK Chief Executive, Helen Bingley, Head of Research Nicola Lowe and AFPK Chief Executive Dr Mukhtiar Zaman attended the Global Health Equity Foundation Symposium in Geneva in October 2013. They had been invited to give a presentation on the work of AF because some of the innovative practice models we have developed have prompted much interest amongst governmental and other non-governmental organisations. Indeed our approaches to community based vaccination and supplementary nutrition have been adopted by other larger charities including UNICEF. Their presentation was well received and you can see a copy of it on the website www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk 
 
Abaseen Foundation at work
We have produced a new Information leaflet for distribution at conferences and fundraising events. It comes in 2 different colours and gives general information to potential donors about who we are and what we do. It also tells them how to donate and how to find out more and get involved. You can see copies on our website at www.abaseenfoundation.co.uk If you are involved in a fundraising event for AF and would like some to distribute please contact Helen Bingley helen.bingley@btinternet.com 
 
In September last year Helen Bingley and Julie Collins completed the Lykewake walk, a 40 mile crossing of the North Yorkshire Moors to raise sponsorship for AF. They raised £2,800 including gift aid.

A Typical Outdoor Kitchen of a House on the Brick kiln

A Typical Outdoor Kitchen of a House on the Brick kiln

Changes at AFUK 

Don’t panic, we haven’t given up or left the country! 
 
We have made some changes to the structure of AFUK. These have become necessary, not because of any problems, but because of our increasing success in securing money from ‘corporate’ donors such as DIFD and the Wellcome Trust. The first change which is still in progress is to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). This change is necessary because AF trustees are currently personally liable for any debts, which is no longer tenable in the face of the significant sums involved now. The CIO is a relatively new charitable entity (introduced in 2012) and confers the same benefits, but without the risks to trustees. We are still overseen by the Charity Commission. 
 
Previously in the UK we have relied wholly on unpaid volunteers doing work for AF, in addition to other, often full time work, but the workload has increased exponentially as the number and complexity our projects have increased and the old arrangement that has 
served us so well is no longer sustainable so the second development is that for the first time we have employed someone in the UK. We are still adopting a very cautious approach and the appointment is initially a 3 month temporary part time one with a review built in. It has been a very positive experience so far in that although Jabien Kauser joined us only 2 weeks ago, she is already making excellent progress in achieving the initial objectives set and generating income for the Foundation greater than her salary. 

Have you made a New Year’s Resolution? 

We started the Newsletter by wishing you a Happy New Year and of course the New Year is traditionally a time for making resolutions. These are often things that will improve your personal situation like getting fit or losing weight, but we are asking you to think about a resolution you could make to improve someone else’s lot. Could you support our work by setting up a regular standing order with your bank? You can go to our website to access the necessary form www.abaseenfoundation.co.uk. If you are a UK taxpayer you can make your donation work even harder by completing the gift aid form at the same time which increases the value of your gift by around 25% at no extra cost to you. This form can be found on the website too. If you already have a standing order perhaps you could manage to increase it; every little helps! If regular giving via this route is not possible for you a one off donation via the ‘donate now’ button on our site would still be a great help to us or you could give a gift to a child in Pakistan by purchasing one or more of our gift card as a present. There is a new way you can raise money for AF while you shop. Over 2,700 well known retailers including Amazon, John Lewis, eBay and Tesco will donate a percentage of what you spend to the Abaseen Foundation UK to say thank you for shopping with them. All you have to do is register at www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/abaseenfoundation . Finally, you could join us on one of our sponsored events. Who knows, if you were to train for and then join us in walking the Yorkshire 3 peaks on the 14th June you might do a good deed and at the same time fulfil those personal get fit and lose weight ambitions! 

Happy New Year

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT IN 2013 AND 
PLEASE STAY WITH US FOR 2014! 

Abaseen Foundation

Abaseen Foundation UK Registered Charity Number – 1095882
www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk
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