BEING A SPONSOR WITH AIDE ET ACTION

I want to visit the project I am supporting. How should I proceed?
It is better, not to visit the project during local school holidays. We ask you to please inform either the Aide et Action team in the field or our Donor Relations department in Geneva at least two months before your trip, so we can give you advice on how to prepare for your trip and organise your project visit (however, in no case whatsoever can we cover the costs of your visit). You are welcome to visit any Aide et Action project at any time. Such a visit will allow you to meet and get to know the children that benefit from the project you support and to learn how Aide et Action and its partners work in the field. Once you are back in Switzerland, do not hesitate to share your experience with the people you know!
I want to send a present to the sponsored children. How should I proceed?
To begin with, a present should not create any disparities or injustices amongst the children. Therefore we recommend that you send neither personal nor valuable gifts. It is better to think in collective or pedagogical terms: dictionaries, atlases, maps, etc. are better suited. One should not necessarily think about what the children are lacking, but about what we can share with them: how would you like to show and explain your land and culture to a stranger? Beware, consumer goods often reach their destination in less than optimal conditions and should therefore be avoided. We recommend that you send your present (weighing no more than 1,2 kg) in a small, padded package. This is preferable to a parcel, as you save yourself a considerable amount of administrative effort and you will not have to pay excessive custom fees. Moreover, as with your letters, there is no need to give personal details. The reference of your sponsorship dossier suffices to ensure that your package reaches the right destination and our team in the field will confirm its arrival.
What eventually happens to the children that I have supported?
In most cases, the children still live with their families or are serving an apprenticeship in a small business in their village or neighbourhood.  Thanks to the skills and knowledge they acquired in school, these young adults are now better suited to meet the challenges of adult life and can help improve the quality of life of the entire family.
I have to face an unexpected event. Can I end my sponsoring? What then happens to the project?
Sponsoring is a long-term commitment that you can end at any time, simply by requesting it. All you have to do is inform us by post at Aide et Action Suisse, 11 rue des Pâquis, 1201 Geneva or by email at infosuisse@aide-et-action.org. We will then end your sponsorship (in cases of direct debiting, we appreciate being warned before the 20th of a given month, so that your request can be taken into account straight from the following month). Sponsored children remain at school, of course. The programme continues to run as initially planned, thanks to our sponsorship pooling system – one of the great strengths of Aide et Action – which allows us to honour the commitment we made with communities. This leaves you free to take a decision that might be otherwise difficult to bear.
How does supporting a project, a school or a class work?
You accompany the implementation of a project or the daily routine of a class. In any case, our team in the field will keep you informed and up to date about the activities of Aide et Action in the region. In the opposite direction, your correspondence will contribute to widening the horizons of every single student. The sponsors’ letters, postcards and photos are often used by the teachers as an educational tool.
What are the criteria for selecting schools?
Schools where Aide et Action intervenes are selected according to most urgent needs assessed, especially in terms of primary schooling; as well as according to the motivation shown by local populations. Aide et Action then chooses, as a general rule, to sponsor the quasi totality of children in each chosen school in their first year.
How often should I pay for my sponsorship (once per month, quarter, year, etc.)?
You can freely choose the frequency of your payments. We do however prefer regular payments, as this facilitates our budgetary and long term planning, as well as reducing our operating costs.
I do not know what to write...

We strongly encourage a dialogue between the sponsors and the country where the project they support takes place. The strength of a sponsorship also lies in this regular exchange and show of solidarity.  A postcard, a photo of your surroundings, a poem or a cut out newspaper article are all ways to show your interest. Think about how you want somebody to discover your country and culture. These exchanges also a great opportunity for the teachers on site to raise the children's curiosity and develop a learning process. 

Is there an ideal time of the year to write to the children?

Sending your letters shortly before a "reading session", where the children read the letters together, helps to engage them more fully in the correspondence and encourages them to answer your questions.

Therefore we recommend that you send your letters in the following times of the year:

- West Africa, Madagascar and the Caribbean: September/October, January/February, April

- India and Tanzania: November/December, March/April, July/August

- Southeast Asia (sponsorships only): no ideal time of the year

Can I obtain the contact details of the school or project I sponsor?
Most often, your school/project is located in an area bereft of postal services. Our local on-site teams are therefore tasked with conveying mail at regular intervals.
Why do my letters sometimes arrive late?
The day-to-day management of the sponsorships is handled by the local populations themselves. Our on-site teams regularly hand over the sponsors' correspondence, but they cannot travel to the project site for every single letter.  As far as the most isolated regions are concerned, the journey to reach them can be very long (as much as a full day!).  Our teams must collect the children's responses after the "reading sessions", sort out the letters and check for significant changes in the children’s situations (regular absences, drop-outs, etc.). Moreover, the local postal service can be very slow at times. This whole process takes time and we sometimes have to deal with problems (difficult or impassable, depending on the time of year, access roads, strikes, etc.) that are not of our making.

VOLUNTEERING

How do you become a volunteer with Aide et Action?
It would be best to send us a letter explaining what you could bring to Aide et Action in terms of availability and skills, whether acquired professionally or through your personal interests and leisure time. We will come back to you with a proposal that takes into account both your availability and your personal interests. You can contact us by e-mail at  infosuisse@aide-et-action.org or write us at Aide et Action, 11 rue des Pâquis, 1201 Genève.
Can I help by donating clothes, furniture or other things I do not need any more?
Since the stocking, transport and customs fees are very expensive in most developing countries, Aide et Action, if possible, prefers to receive financial donations in order to buy the necessary equipment directly in the country of operations. In this way, the equipment is produced on the spot by local businesses, thus benefitting the local economy.

WORKING IN THE FIELD

Is it possible to support Aide et Action by working in the field?
Aide et Action sends neither volunteers nor interns to its projects abroad, as the association is not structured to organise and sustain this sort of engagement. All our projects are implemented by employees that come from the country of intervention itself.
Can we give you medecine, clothes, toys, books, etc. that you will then forward to your projects?
Aide et Action does not possess the necessary infrastructure to collect, sort, stock and send this kind of goods. The shipping and customs fees are often greater than the value of the shipment. Moreover we prefer to use local production, whenever we can.

BEQUESTS AND DONATIONS

How to write a will
The most common types of will are: • The holographic will: This is the most common form of will. It is entirely handwritten by you, dated and signed. • The notarial will: This type of will is written up by a notary according to your instructions and in the presence of two witnesses or 2 notaries. Good to know: If you write a holographic will, we recommend that you still deposit it with a notary to ensure that it will not be lost or tampered with.
Can I bequeath my entire estate to Aide et Action?
You can bequeath your entire estate, or a part of it, to Aide et Action. However, you must respect the compulsory portion, so as not to infringe on the rights of your heirs.
How to make a bequest to Aide et Action?
You need to write a will and specify your preferences. You can bequeath a part* or the whole of your effects to Aide et Action. For more information, consult our section on Transfers of assets. You can also contact Carine Sakran: infosuisse@aide-et-action.org *In respect of the rule of the free disposable portion.
Can I ask that money from my donation or bequest be used to a specific end?
The money collected by Aide et Action is generally pooled and contributes to funding (depending on needs) all of our implemented projects. In the case of specific wishes, do not hesitate to contact Carine Sakran at the address infosuisse@aide-et-action.org or at 022 716 52 10.
Is a notary's intervention necessary to make a donation or a bequest?
Consulting a notary is not compulsory, but it is strongly advised. For all complementary information, do not hesitate to contact Carine Sakran at the address infosuisse@aide-et-action.org or at 022 716 52 10.

ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS / RELATIONSHIP WITH AIDE ET ACTION

How do I change the bank account for the automatic withdrawals?
If you wish to use a different bank account or change your bank details, please ask us to send you a new withdrawal authorisation to fill out. This is absolutely necessary for us to be able to continue the automatic withdrawals from your new account.  Once you have filled out the authorisation, you will need to sign it and send it back to us. Contact us by phone at +41 (0)22 716 52 10, by e-mail at infosuisse@aide-et-action.org or write to us at Aide et Action Suisse, 11 rue des Pâquis, 1201 Genève.
How do I cancel my subscription to the monthly e-newsletter?
In order to no longer receive our e-newsletter, you just need to call us at +41 (0)22 716 52 10 or write an e-mail to infosuisse@aide-et-action.org.
How should I inform you about a change in my contact details (address, e-mail, etc.)?
You can call us at +41 (0)22 716 52 10, send an e-mail to infosuisse@aide-et-action.org or write us at Aide et Action Suisse, 11 rue des Pâquis, 1201 Genève.
May I write or talk about Aide et Action on my website or my blog?
Thank you very much for your engagement for the cause of education. If you want to write about our association, our projects or our activities, please don't hesitate to contact us by writing to infosuisse@aide-et-action.org, so that we can discuss your request.
I lost my tax certificate. What should I do now?
We can send you a duplicate by e-mail. Please ask us for one by phone (+41 (0)22 716 52 10), e-mail (infosuisse@aide-et-action.org) or mail (Aide et Action Suisse, 11 rue des Pâquis, 1201 Genève).
Does my sponsorship or donation entitle me to a tax reduction?
Whether you are a private individual or a company, your sponsorship and your donations in general entitle you to a tax reduction. The total sum of donations mentioned on the tax certificate we send you includes all regular and one-off payments to the association up to December 31.
At what period of the year is the fiscal certificate sent?
Aide et Action's fiscal certificate is sent every year in mid-February. It comprises all the amounts perceived throughout the year, up until 31 December (included).

FUNDRAISING / USE OF FUNDS

Does Aide et Action work with the state in its countries of operation?
In its areas of operations Aide et Action accompanies the local actors, so that they can choose, develop, implement and evaluate their own development projects. With that goal in mind, the association maintains a close dialogue with the state and considers it an indispensable discussion partner. Aide et Action plays the role of a facilitator between the state and the other local actors. Aide et Action respects the sovereignty of the state, the guarantor of educational policy.   Nonetheless, the association reserves the right to express constructive criticism of current educational policies in order to accompany their development and evolution. As a facilitator, Aide et Action provides the state with the means, techniques and tools to make informed decisions and to encourage the implementation of suitable educational policies.
How can you ensure there is no corruption in Aide et Action's national offices?
We count on the engagement and the adherence to our values of our employees and volunteers. Misappropriation is also the subject of a training course on budgetary discipline that our teams attend.
  • An external audit is carried out for all our projects. Though this represents a cost, it also protects our funds.
  • A principle on which we will not compromise: we do not accept or condone any form of bribery. The money we collect from our donors exclusively benefits the children/beneficiaries of our educational projects. This is explicitly specified in our employment contracts.
  • If we are faced with a corruption case we are INTRANSIGENT and UNRELENTING. The culprit will be immediately fired, internally sanctioned and legal proceedings will be initiated.
What are Aide et Action's different sources of funding?
Aide et Action derives its funds from different sources:
  • The general public (private individuals): sponsors and regular donors,
  • Major donors, represented by institutions (for example the EU, certain countries, etc.), cantons, municipalities, foundations and private companies.