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HIPPO is an overseas aid charity that was founded and Registered with the Charity Commission (RCN 1075420) in 1999 by Neville, Hazel, and Mark Fowler.

HIPPO’s motto “Feeding the World with Compassion” has a threefold meaning.

The first and most obvious application is that we implement the compassion of our supporters by feeding poor and hungry people.

The second is that we do that  in a way that avoids causing cruelty to animals.

Thirdly we strive to feed ALL people, both rich and poor, physically well-fed or under-fed, with the ethic of kindness to all living creatures.

 If you are a regular or recent donor to HIPPO we thank you once again most profoundly. We are not intending to press you to give more money than you already do! If you are not yet a supporter however we earnestly request you to consider becoming one because our programme in Africa is an ongoing comittment that depends entirely on the generosity of people like you. Such is our own comittment as the ‘HIPPO family’ that we have put in many thousands of pounds ourselves to set up and support HIPPO. We also pay for all our own costs including travel by air and road when we visit projects, and we administer HIPPO voluntarily (a lot of time and hard work over the last 13 years!) and we cover all the office costs (telephone, postage, stationery, printing, and internet use). Virtually all of the money donated thus goes to our projects except for a small amount spent on advertising in the vegetarian press – which we like to think supports them a little too. Nor do we employ consultants or organise expensive conferences to TALK about aid. We just DO IT! We endeavour to keep our supporters informed of what we are doing and if anyone wants more detail on any of our projects they have only to ask.

So, how can you donate?! Just send a cheque payable to ‘HIPPO’ for whatever you can afford to Churchfield House, Weston under Penyard, Ross-on-Wye HR9 7PA, or go to your bank and transfer what you can direct to the HIPPO account at HSBC, Sort code 40-16-23  Account No.11313738. If possible please Gift Aid your donation by telling us that you wish to do so and providing your street address.

Now here is an update on HIPPO’s current activities in Kenya.

From the beginning HIPPO has been supporting orphanages, supplying food and helping them to establish irrigated vegetable gardens. We currently provide Textured Soya Protein (soya ‘meat’) delivered every month to:

East African Mission Orphanage, Nakuru: Our first interest in Kenya dating from our first visit to the country in 1999

Mission in Action (1) – Orphanage, Piave, for babies and infants

Mission in Action (2) – Orphanage for older children, mostly traumatised by the loss of parents and other relatives in the post-election tribal violence of 2008.

The Ian Castleman Orphanage, Njoro

Between them these orphanages care for about 450 children. The children are from various tribes and they receive a good grounding in harmonious living which is so much needed in Kenya.

Kerry School. We supply food to this infant school and orphan feeding centre in a slum area of Nakuru. About 150 children are fed daily.

Wamba, Samburu Land. A mid-day meal – maize or rice, and beans or TSP is provided daily for 160 children at a pre-school centre.
At the time of writing we are about to begin supplying Sossi TSP to supplement the diet of pupils in a secondary school in Western Kenya. We heard that they were considering the purchase of cows but we suggested this better alternative.

We supply food, seeds, tools, and other essentials for a number of very poor families in the Nakuru area. We also provide clothing and shoes to enable children from these families to go to free government  primary schools, and uniforms and school fees for some of the older ones to go on to secondary school. Always with our work for adults we look for ways to help them become self-supporting even, for example, setting up a severely disabled young man with his own village shop. In other cases a bicycle is enough to enable someone to go ten miles to work or to take vegetables they have grown to market. Also bicycles may help children to go to a distant secondary school.

We have been fostering the establishment of women’s cooperative groups in this previously pastoralist society. Repeated droughts and loss of cattle persuaded a few women to try growing food crops about three years ago. HIPPO helped with tools, water storage tank, seeds, etc.This first group then diversified into baking bread also after HIPPO supplied them with an oven, and later a second larger oven as the demand for their product grew rapidly. For over a year the area has suffered from severe drought and we issued a famine relief appeal last July. The response has enabled us to feed many families in the local community who were suffering greatly. This provided an impetus for our local organiser to set up more women’s groups with ‘shambas’ or smallholdings. There are now six of these cooperative groups, growing vegetable crops to help feed their families plus a surplus for sale. The profits are available to be re-invested in the shamba or to help any group member with pressing needs. For each of these shambas HIPPO has paid for fencing to keep out wild animals (like elephants!), water supplies and tanks, tools and seeds. The drought has now broken but the food situation is still precarious for many in the community and supplementary feeding of about 90 adults and 270 children is continuing. Those that are strong enough to work are doing so in return for the help they have received. One of the shamba groups is growing tree saplings and these will be planted out and protected in order to  improve the environment and eventually produce food and firewood. Guidance on planting and tree care will be given by the local government agricultural officer.

For many years we have been enthusiastic about the use of Textured Soya or Vegetable Protein (TSP or TVP) in hunger relief work. This stemmed from our experience of living and working in Ethiopia 1992 – 1994 when as vegetarians we depended substantially on the sack of TVP we had taken with us. The discovery that it was universally enjoyed by the local pastoralist tribespeople (Afars) who came to our home convinced us of its value.
In the early days we shipped tonnes of TSP through overland aid convoys to Latvia, Croatia, and Belarus. We were unable, because of prohibitive freight costs, to supply it to Africa, though we have taken suitcases full of it to Uganda and Kenya to introduce it to people there. To our delight, 18 months ago a firm in Kenya opened a state of the art factory and is making the best TSP we have encountered anywhere from non-GMO soya beans grown in Kenya. We have been able to agree a special arrangement with them to buy it at a reduced price for use in our charity work. The diet of the poor in East Africa is very low in protein and the inclusion of TSP in our food aid is very beneficial to the health and nutrition of the recipients.

Briefly the benefits of TSP are:

Entirely animal free

High protein content – 35%

Contains all the essential amino acids

Palatable and adaptable to local dishes

Halal and kosher

Lightweight to handle and transport

Virtually imperishable

Does not require refrigeration

Pre-cooked so saves fuel & time gathering firewood.

Efficient to produce for direct human consumption (90% of soya is wasted when fed to livestock).

We get very exasperated when we hear of the wholesale clearance of forests to grow soya for feeding to the cattle, pigs, and poultry of Europe and China. After the massive destruction in Brazil the profiteers are now shifting their attention to other South American countries like Paraguay where in the last two years 486,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) of the Chaco forest have been cleared for soya farming and cattle ranching. If all the soya grown in the world was used to make foods for direct human consumption much less would be needed and everybody could be well fed without the need to fell a single tree! That is why we get so annoyed when we hear people blaming vegetarians for causing rainforest destruction by eating soya. The great majority of soya is consumed wastefully by non-vegetarians who eat the animals that have been fed on it.


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HIPPO is an overseas aid charity “Feeding the World with Compassion”

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