Blog Archives


Join our “Peaks Against Poverty” walk across the 9 Edges in the Peak District – Derwent, Stanage, Burbage Upper, Burbage Lower, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardoms and Birchen on Saturday 26th October 2019.

Click here to register your interest.
Peaks against poverty smaller image


Thanks to the amazing donation from IT Schools Africa, Brainhouse Academy now have computers! This is an incredibly generous donation which will support the school tremendously. Senior teachers at Brainhouse have told us that not only will these computers facilitate research, improve technological awareness, and hopefully allow the government to consider the school for further technological initiatives, but they will help to bridge the knowledge gap between the children at Brainhouse Academy and children from wealthier families in Nairobi, thus improving their future prospects.

IMG-20190228-WA0051IT Schools Africa said “We are proud to partner with ACEF and the Brainhouse Academy to enable quality education through e-Learning. We hope these computers will have a real impact on levels of IT literacy at the school and make a real difference to students, unlocking their potential to access further education and improved job opportunities.

We cannot wait to see what a difference this will make.

If any companies or schools out there are replacing old IT kit IT Schools Africa collect computers, under 6 years old, on a 3 hour sweep from Cheltenham. If you can donate please let us know.


A friend of ACEF introduced to us the concept of creating dresses out of ‘pillowcases’ and immediately volunteers, Julie Wooldridge and Janice Addison, realised the potential of this approach to both provide a very personal dress for our girls at Brainhouse and potentially a way to offer vocational training possibilities for these young people.  Can you imagine the joy for the girls at Brainhouse – to pull that dress over their head that has been made especially for them!

Janice and Julie collected a huge amount of material, bedding sheets, curtains and tablecloths as well as ribbons and beads. and began making dresses, later joined by more volunteers – Cheryl, Lyn and Mags.

dresses 4To extend the idea even further, a number of dress kits were assembled as well as finished dresses and shorts so that pupils at Brainhouse could be taught to sew to the simple patterns.

So in April 2018 we were delighted to send to the orphans at Brainhouse, a total of 80 dresses, and 30 kits for the children to make up themselves.  The boys were very disappointed that we only managed 7 pairs of shorts, but this will be rectified by the time of the next outgoing team of volunteers.  We received in return some pictures of beautiful models who were very pleased to be wearing the dresses.  The recipients seemed delighted.

Our focus for 2019 is on making bags.  The Kenyan Government has banned the use of plastic bags so children could use their sewing skills to make simple bags. We are prototyping bags and backpacks of varied designs, which they will be able to use immediately, or sell to buy more fabric in Nairobi. If you can donate braid it will help with these endeavours.

If you have other ideas or skills that you can offer to support the vocational and practical skill development of the children at Brainhouse, then we would be pleased to discuss your ideas – come along and join our volunteer group.






Our adventure into creating energy from human waste!

Aggrey, held a dream to reduce the cost and the environmental damage of using wood and charcoal for cooking and of building healthy toilets for the school and so the dream of ‘green’ toilets to produce biogas was born. In 2017 Dr James Cooper came to our rescue with his passion for creating energy out of waste!

Bogs and teamJames spent 2017 developing prototypes, designing structures and helping to raise the money required. Construction work began in January 2018, and in February the 2-storey, steel structure began to be erected.

In Spring, a team of volunteers from ACEF travelled to Kenya to assist with the construction work and to install the biodigesters, to treat the toilet waste and convert it into biogas. The toilet cubicles were painted by talented volunteers Kate, Emily, Jack, Sarah, Helen and David, with art work from each of the cubicle sponsors, and the entire structure was decorated with a tree of life painting.

The trip culminated with a wonderful opening ceremony for the Green Toilets to celebrate the completion of the project where Aggrey danced for joy!! Replacing the previous ‘long drop’ facilities, the school now has 23 cubicles providing sanitary conditions which will save lives.

James returned to Kenya in December 2018 to finish the innovative biogas digester system and was delighted to report biogas being produced in usable quantities, with a gas burner being lit for over 4 hours on one of the days.  The biogas produced by the Green Toilets will now be used instead of wood and charcoal for cooking, saving the school money and providing many environmental and health in the loos

The Headteacher praised ACEF and its supporters, and thanked all of the volunteers for their hard work and commitment, exclaiming that “the school now had the best toilets in all of Kenya”.  For James and all the volunteers this has been a journey of learning, passion and determination, overcoming challenges to deliver Aggrey’s dream of utilising the waste to deliver useable energy for the school.  Ground breaking for all involved!

The next phase is to enhance the facilities in the girls’ toilets to support menstrual care and we need more companies and benefactors to sponsor cubicles.  Would you like to see you charity contribution celebrated in this way?

Could your school, Science club or scout group do a ‘Poo Power’ project to raise funds? Please do come to talk to us.


Bike Ride announcementHuge thanks to the riders that have committed to coming along to our sponsored bike ride on Sunday 3rd June.

We are hoping for a great day as riders undertake one of the three distances. There will be families on the 12 mile ride, many of whom join us after a really enjoyable ride last year and some riders who have taken on the bigger challenge of 28 miles.

Then there will be the keen and capable riders on the 52 mile route. All are very welcome.

To join in this fun event then book via or email



Bogs and teamEmily Campbell ACEF runnerAn enormous congratulations to ACEF volunteer and bonafide ‘turd nerd’ Emily Campbell for running the Manchester half marathon in May.
Emily is part of our poo-power team who installed the Green toilets at Brainhouse in April. She has been invaluable to ACEF over the past few years and we feel incredibly proud of her amazing accomplishment.

Well done and thank you for all of the funds you have raised and the expertise and time you have given !


This week we were proud to welcome home the volunteer team from their visit to Brainhouse Academy. This has to have been one of the most successful trips to the school with so many significant outcomes for the children there.

equalityThe team undertook leadership training for the school staff, building on successful development activities in the past that have really helped the school to be clear about how it can help it’s most vulnerable students in the short and long-term.

afripadsMenstrual management was successfully provided for all girls in the school. Working with partners Afripads and Ruby Cup all of the older girls were provided with the appropriate products to allow them to be confident that they can attend school throughout their menstrual cycle rather than miss important learning.

Gas2Most significantly the toilet block has been built and fitted out so that all of the children can go to the toilet with dignity whilst also providing the source for biogas collection. The biogas digesters were setup and there was an exciting moment when the Headteacher tested out the system, getting the first flame that will eventually be harnessed to provide energy for the school kitchens (previously powered by coal and wood-burning.

The children and staff were delighted and so were the team who have been working so hard on these projects for over a year.

Congratulations to all!



Guiding has been an essential element of the lives of many our supporters and volunteer, so it is not surprising that Guiding and Scouting has been bought into daily life at Brainhouse Academy – starting with the amazing and inspirational visit to Baden-Powell’s home in Nyeri in 2012, led by Liz Stringer and Holly Parrot, Guiders from the West Midlands and supported by Nyeri Guides and Irene Mwangi. The relationship established continue to grow and in 2014, the International Adviser for West Midlands Guides, Sarah Hole contacted ACEF to see if there was a way we could develop a project where we bought together Guides from Nyeri, Brainhouse and West Midlands to develop a community project.   A germ was planted and together we planned for a team of Senior Section leaders to travel out to Kenya, to collect a team of girls from Brainhouse and to head to Nyeri to start to build a campsite for future guide trips wishing to pay homage to the Baden-Powell’s.   A unique and wonderful experience for all involved and certainly a life changer for the English girls who gave both their time and emotions to this incredible trip and the outcomes will enable a whole new generation to experience the thrills of camping. In October 2016, Sarah and Liz had huge privilege of visiting the campsite and meeting with Effie, an 80 year old trainer who was still travelling Kenya bringing Guiding to all and in meeting the young girls involved. You could see from the sparkle in the eyes of the girls that guiding had ignited a new passion to help others and will make a difference to the lives of these young people. We are delighted that ACEF was the common denominator of bringing all these girls together and linking hands across the world.

ACEF badgeIn 2018 we continue to work with Scouts, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides across the country taking part in fundraising challenges, thinking day activities and generally educating the global citizens of the future. We have activity packs and badges to help youngsters to understand more about the lives of our children in Brainhouse and what they might do to support them. If you are part of the scouting or guiding community please get in touch !


two layers 2March has been an exciting time in the development of the biogas toilets at Brainhouse Academy. After over a year of fundraising, planning and testing we have begun to see the steel framework which will hold these innovative toilets emerging.

IBCBuilt from steel, the two storey building will have the toilet cubicles on the top floor and underneath them there will be the IBCs, huge containers where the biogas will be created. We have even had barrels of dung arriving which will be used to prime the bio-digesters to get the production started before the human waste is added to it!

ManureThis week our volunteer engineer, James who has masterminded the whole project, has travelled out to Kenya to work closely with the local group building the infrastructure. He had the most interesting suitcase full of piping !

We wish James every success in this innovative and essential project. To find out more about this project look here at our presentation about the issues in the area and how this project will deliver real benefits.



We are so proud to have the engagement of youngsters from our local community in the work of our charity. We want to support the fabulous educational institutions that work with us to create global citizens who will go on to do good in the world.

fledglingsIn recent weeks we have been blessed with the continued support of Blossomfield Infant School, the engagement of Fledgings Nursey, and the energy of the girls from the Hockley Heath District Guides.

We were humbled in January to receive a substantial cheque from Fledgings Nursery to support our work. They have also provided donations of pants which will go out to Africa in the suitcases of our volunteers to grateful thanks from the children at Brainhouse.

On Thinking Day in February around 100 girls from Rainbows, Brownies and Guides got together to hear about our work and to learn some African dancing. Their energy, engagement and dancing skill was fabulous and a great day was had by all. Thank you also for the fabulous and generous donation.

blossomfield cutIn March some of the team spent a lovely afternoon talking to Blossomfield Infant School about poo becoming gas and wee becoming electricity!!  The disbelief, the intrigue, the wonder and the ultimate question – how does the happen? Great discussions for science week. We are so grateful for the fantastic continued support, funds and the wonderful artwork for the toilets.

If you think we can engage children in your environment to be more aware of the global context please get in touch.