Monday, 24 November 2014


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You know that old clichė about teaching a man to fish to feed him for his entire lifetime? Well, Shivia have applied that philosophy to impoverished areas of West Bengal in India, directly helping 8,000 families lift themselves above, or nearer to, the poverty line, whilst indirectly helping over 50,000 people to improve their lives significantly.

Their Livelihood Programmes equips families with the skills to take full advantage of the resources available to them, whether transforming a single chicken into a reliable source of food and income for an entire household or applying special techniques to coax crops out of poor quality land. Providing people with these kind of skills allows them to achieve ever greater levels of self-sufficiency.

Shivia also run two Partner Programmes in collaboration with two carefully-selected local NGOs. They empower people through microfinance schemes and livelihood training, enabling them to access better employment prospects and financing for enterprise projects.
Shivia allow people to change their lives their way. Change the world your way at

Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime...

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So, you've decided to do something good and donate some of your precious time or hard earned money to a charitable cause. The reasons to give to charity are as varied as the motivations behind it and the amounts given. And of course there are just as many causes to donate to…. 

Some people feel personally attached to a specific situation, they have seen or known people from a certain region that they are trying to support while others just acknowledge that they have a bit more than the most disadvantaged and would like to ‘give back’. Of course there are also people who like the image elevation that comes with publicly donating and the ones who simply want to feel a little bit better about themselves. 

No matter what the motivation behind your decision to donate is, benevolence or a tax return, giving charity is always a positive action that can make a great difference in somebody’s life or help further a cause that you believe in. 

In order to ensure that your donation or time, no matter how large or small, has the greatest possible impact you should see how your charity of choice scores with the following points: 

1.       Sustainability
2.       Overhead cost
3.       Mission ( open or hidden)
4.       Impact on local communities  

Let me elaborate a little bit further on the topic of sustainability. In the charity field sustainability can refer to different issues: the environment, the project itself, the charity...  No matter what aspect sustainability is referring to, it’s a concept that it is in my opinion one of the most important ones.
Think about it: you donate your time or money to building a school in Malawi for example; you witness the opportunities and hope that is given to the children studying there. Unless you commit to a lifetime of volunteering and donating significant amounts to this same school, you would want to make sure that this project is actually sustainable. What happens next school year when you have committed to other causes or simply don’t have the money or time to give anymore? The big question of sustainability here would be whether the school can manage to be self sustainable and continue to exist, even when the donors or charities can’t help out anymore or if you donate money for tuition, will the parents be able to pay their children’s tuition without that aid.  

Many charity projects start with a great and noble idea: let’s raise money and go and build a school in that village. But is that village actually committed to education and will you be able to pay the teachers’ salaries or the children’s tuition for the years come? And if you are a donor you should ask yourself if you want to donate to a cause that might simply crumble if the donations start drying up.

Thankfully, there are lot of projects and charities that have a sustainable framework and if you pay attention you will easily identify those charities. Take the Somali and American Fund for Education (SAFE) as an example. Before I started working with them I have interned at numerous non-profits, where I often times wondered about how long lasting and life changing the impacts of their projects were, if they had any impact at all. I think anybody who has worked for large international organisations has experienced this feeling of ‘am I actually making any difference?’ at some point.

At SAFE however I discovered a different kind of charity model, where I was actually able to see a change within short time and most importantly a long lasting one through the education projects. This charity basically sponsors schools but instead of just raising money and then putting a school somewhere they actually turn to local communities in Somalia that are already committed to education, have a sustainable school model but just need that little extra cash to improve. One school for example was doing great in terms of taking in students and paying their teachers but they couldn’t take in female students because they didn’t have a dorm for them. They applied with hundreds of other schools for a grant from SAFE, survived a rigorous application process to prove their school model and were granted a fund to build the dorm. Since then hundreds of girls have been able to attend the school, graduate and go on to university. Even long after the donors moved on to other causes. 

Additionally there is a local certification program, where college students are responsible for making sure that the grants are being used exactly for what was agreed on. As a donor and also as someone working there it was so refreshing to actually be able to see where exactly the time and money goes that I invested and most importantly the fact that these schools will still be standing and providing an education even when I moved on. 

So, next time when you donate it might be worthwhile to see how the charity scores in terms of sustainability. If donors emphasize more on this aspect, the charities will have to follow suit and this would in turn change the living conditions of the recipients for a longer term.

Makerble gives you the opportunity to see the impact your donation has and the positive change you can bring about. You get to see the difference your impact can make - something we believe is really important for potential donors. 

- By Yasmin Mahdy


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Therapy for Monkeys

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Therapy for Monkeys
… And the dastardly Ebola

Think that therapy is only for Homo Sapiens? Think again. The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone specialises in rehabilitating traumatised chimps so that they can be confident and happy members of monkey society. Many witnessed horrific the slaughter of their whole families at the hands of ruthless hunters, all in the name of the illegal bushmeat trade. However, the babies are often too small to be worth much as food, and are therefore sold, ostensibly as pets but in reality as playthings. They find themselves malnourished and mistreated, force-fed cigarettes and booze for their owner’s entertainment. Child cruelty, it seems, is not confined to human victims.

Neither, however, are the nurturing effects of therapy. As with humans, abuse during their foundational years can have a decisive effect on a chimp’s life. Tacugama takes a holistic approach to treating rescued chimps; specially trained members of staff act as surrogate mothers, providing nurturing care. The mum helps the chimp to learn how to be a chimp again - to feed, to play, and to overcome the stress of their early years of trauma.

When the chimp has reached a certain level of development, it’s onto the fun part. You see, chimps are like us in many ways… including their love of, erm, monkeying around. The baby chimps are initially introduced to each and put into little playgroups of 3-4 monkeys by the surrogate mother, where they learn to play, grow, and act like chimps again. Then it's onto the larger peer groups, which are closely monitored to ensure that the other chimps don’t pick on the new additions, ‘cos apparently our apeish cousins can be as bad as we are when it comes to teasing the new kid in school. This holistic approach to monkey welfare makes Tacugama a number one destiny for intrigued tourists.

However, Tacugama hasn’t escaped the malignant reach of Ebola. They usually derive around 30% of their income from tourism but the shadow of Ebola has driven visitors away from Sierra Leone, so Tacugama’s bottom line has been eroded, along with its capacity to provide therapy for traumatised chimps. Wanna help some orphaned chimps learn how to monkey around again? So do we at Makerble.
Change the world YOUR way.


Makerble Story & Team

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Imagine if we could unlock the world's humanity
Makerble is addressing distrust in charities so that people have one less thing holding them back from making the change they want to see in the world.

Makerble gives visibility to the projects behind charities, the progress behind the projects, and the people behind the progress. From what we can see, nothing brings you closer to the difference all your donations make. We hope you enjoy using Makerble as much as we've enjoyed creating it, and more!

And this is just the beginning. We're always improving on how Makerble works. We are on the lookout for new charities and partners. Do get in touch with us if you have an idea or suggestion. For media resources & media enquiries, please scroll to the bottom of this page.

Our Story
As a team we have previously created successful fundraising movements which have inspired people to start giving to charitable causes they had not previously considered supporting. This is the story of how Makerble came about. 

In 2001 Matt Kepple started studying at The University of Birmingham
In 2002 Matt used his student loan to start sponsoring a child for £15/month
In 2003 Matt could no longer afford to continue the payments due to other expenses. This gave him the idea to get his friends to pitch in £1/month each so they could collectively Sponsor a Kid for a Quid
In 2004 Matt and some friends created the Sponsor a Kid for a Quid scheme and after a couple of months of marketing recruited over 100 students and staff to start collectively sponsoring children
In 2005 Channel4 awarded Matt an Ideas Factory Award for Sponsor a Kid for a Quid. This spurred him to consider how to take the idea to other universities. Meanwhile Matt started working at London advertising agency DLKW alongside Kate Gault who started at the same time.
In 2006 inspired by a Megabus slogan whilst on a bus trip between London and Birmingham, Matt had the idea to apply the Sponsor a Kid for a Quid concept to projects by charities tackling all causes so that everyone could get updates on what their donations achieved, similar to how people received updates from the children they sponsored. That year Matt and his school friend Abhi Patel began running Gradulicious parties for graduates that had moved to London and wanted to meet like-minded people.
In 2007 Matt started singlehandedly developing the idea into a website but only got so far working alone. Meanwhile he, Ahmed Al-aagam and several others co-founded the Commission for Youth Social Enterprise to help young people become social entrepreneurs. Matt was appointed by The Cabinet Office to be a UK Social Enterprise Ambassador and was named as one of the Top 100 Global Social Entrepreneurs.
In 2008 Matt joined the team led by Annabel Dickson that was creating the Youth Funding Network, a crowd-funding event for people in their 20s & 30s which won a Third Sector Excellence Award and spawned a spin-off organisation called Filanthropy*. Combined, both initiatives have raised close to £100,000 for little-known charities. The secret has been to simply create welcoming non-pressurised environments where donors get to hear about interesting charitable projects and have the option to choose how much they wanted to give to each one.
In 2011 having built up a portfolio of marketing clients and wealth of experience as a freelance consultant, Matt began winning grants to create Makerble.
In 2012 Matt began the detailed planning Makerble around how Makerble would work with 3 close friends, Abhi Patel, Ahmed Al-aagam and Ola Obaro. The award-winning growth hacker Liam Reynolds also joined the team as a pro bono associate.
In 2013 the first web developer on Makerble was hired, Matt went full-time on Makerble and the first few members of the team came on-board as full-time staff. Annabel Dickson joined with responsibility over charity relationships and Kate Gault with responsibility for messaging and partnering with brands.
In 2014 Makerble received start-up funding, won the Foundation Prize created by WhatIf Innovation Partners, and was joined by Abhi Patel who left his role at Goldman-Sachs building trading algorithms in order to to head up the programming and finance sides of Makerble.

The People Behind Makerble
Matt Kepple, Founder & CEO

Matt created Sponsor a Kid for a Quid as a university student 10 years ago when he couldn’t afford to sponsor a child. Students and staff got involved and collectively sponsored 8 children. The idea won Channel4’s Ideas Factory Award and on a bus trip between London and Birmingham Matt had the idea to apply the concept to every every cause so that people could sponsor projects related to the issues they cared about and get progress updates on their achievements. This is what has become Makerble. On his journey to creating Makerble, Matt has worked across the marketing and innovation spectrum ranging from creating campaigns and strategies for brands, government departments and charities; producing parties and ethical fashion shows; managing a music artist; and co-founding the Commission for Youth Social Enterprise, Youth: The Funding Network and Filanthropy*. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Commerce and Manufactures, a former Sandbox Fellow and a former UK Social Enterprise Ambassador appointed by The Cabinet Office. Matt is yet to be defeated in a limbo competition.
Profile Pic.jpg

partnering with charities, foundations and philanthropists
Annabel Dickson, Director of Social Progress 

Annabel and Matt have worked together since 2008 bringing people closer to charitable projects they care about and raising close to £100,000 in the process. Annabel co-created the award-winning Youth: The Funding Network and then Filanthropy*, an organisation that creates parties to spur on social change. She has a background in working with philanthropists to evaluate the effectiveness of the projects they support as well as working front-line for charities whose clients have ranged from people with experience of homeless to people on death row. Annabel has been recognised for her work to catalyse social change by the World Economic Forum, becoming one of their Global Shapers and is a trustee of Nexus (Europe), part of a network of 2000+ young people working to increase and improve philanthropy and impact investing by bridging communities of wealth and social entrepreneurship. Annabel has a long held desire to sail across the Atlantic, invest via others in some rainforest and become a shadow puppeteer.

partnering with brands, employers and digital services
Kate Gault, Director of Brand Strategy

Kate and Matt got their first jobs working in the same advertising agency DLKW. Kate went on to become an Account Director at AMV BBDO leading national campaigns for clients ranging from Walkers Crisps on the Create Your Own Flavour which also included a partnership with Comic Relief, to campaigns for the UK Government Department of Transport. She led her team to win Gold at the prestigious Cannes Lions awards for the advertising industry worldwide. Kate then moved to ITV where she looked after the marketing of ITV Drama. Her love for drama runs deep, to this day she can still recite words from the songs of Joseph & The Technicolour Dreamcoat.
Abhi Patel, CTO & CFO

Abhi and Matt went to high school together and have collaborated on ideas since they graduated university. Abhi left Goldman-Sachs to join Makerble. At Goldman-Sachs and Deutsche Bank he programmed trading algorithms and in his spare time learnt to DJ, promoted parties, learnt piano, played Ultimate Frisbee at an amateur European level and became a photographer.  
TJ Morgan.jpg
TJ Morgan, Head of Marketing & Engagement

TJ has a background in online magazines and content. At AOL he created content marketing campaigns, at NUPE he steered a team to create a first of its kind online magazine which engaged university students across the UK.

With Special Thanks To

WhatIf Innovation Partners - for donating their consulting services and workspace
WhatIf is a global innovation company with over 20 years heritage in helping organisations create and capitalise on new ideas for products and services. Each year WhatIf donates consulting services and workspace to a socially motivated organisation and in the year of our launch they chose Makerble. Special thanks to the London and New York teams who have made us feel so welcome and shared their insights and innovation processes with us to enrich what we’re creating with Makerble.
TrueUp - for donating their consulting services
TrueUp is a fresh-thinking data-driven agency that helps digital service providers better cater to the needs of the people that use them. Special thanks to the founder Liam Reynolds for continued support and ideas to make Makerble even better and the team in Farringdon donating their time to work on our web analytics.

Contact Details
For general enquiries email
For press enquiries email

Press & Media Resources
Bios of the team
List of charities in the Makerble portfolio


Makerble Champions: Quarraisha Karim

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Quarraisha's tireless work on HIV epidemiology and prevention in South Africa has saved thousands of lives. This week she has gained further acclaim, becoming the first woman to receive the highly prestigious TWAS-Lenovo award for the advancement of science in developing countries. The honour was given in recognition of her latest work trialling a topical gel which has been shown to help prevent HIV infection in women. I cannot help but be bowled over by her absolute dedication to this cause and the humble way in which she has spoken of her success during interviews.

Source: The Guardian
Globally there are an estimated 34 million people living with AIDS, 65% of whom live in sub-saharan Africa. Since the onset of the AIDS epidemic 30 years ago over 30 million people have die. Those are some overwhelming figures and the people behind them are the reason research is critical.
Dr. Karim has remained at the forefront of AIDS research. Having completed a masters degree at the Columbia School of Public Heath she joined South African Research Council and conducted some of the first community based studies of HIV. In her own words, when interviewed by TWAS she said she was drawn to AIDS work ʻby the convergence between advocacy work and science.ʼ She saw the chance, as and epidemiologist, to make a positive step for social justice, working to give people in poorer countries access to treatment.
Her work looking at the combined treatment of HIV and tuberculosis, one of the leading causes of death in those who are HIV positive, has given a huge reduction in the number of deaths. She is a founding member or CAPRISA ʻCentre For the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africaʼ, sits as an expert on the United Nations AIDS programme and consults on policy and social strategies with the World Health Organisation. Thatʼs quite the accolade in itself, but her most celebrated work is that dedicated to developing female focused HIV prevention methods, and these are the recent studies for which the US$ 100,000 TWAS prize-fund was awarded.
Her initial surveys found adolescent girls were being infected on average 5 - 7 years earlier than boys and that women under 24 had up to an eight times higher chance of infection than boys of the same age. This was more marked in rural regions and attributed to several social factors. Women still have a lower economic status and often engage in intergenerational sex to ensure their protection from poverty. This dependency on men for income and security means that women are left with no power to negotiate their partnerʼs monogamy and are left unable to protect themselves from potential infection despite being educated on condom use. There are also big gaps in trying to deliver contraceptives, in sub-saharan Africa there were only 8 male condoms available for every sexually active individual.
These findings have dominated her career, have lead her to spend the last twenty years collaborating with different institutes to develop new treatments specifically aimed at giving women back control of their bodies and so protect them from early infection. In 2010 she published results of her trials using an anti-retroviral, Tenofovir, applied topically in a gel. 889 women used the gel over a 3 year period and there was a 39% reduction in the number of new infections, this was up to 54% in the women who used it most reliably. Now, just think about that for a second, put the people back in those percentages... up to half the number of new infections. In 2013 there were 1.5 million new cases of HIV. Bridging this gap in female protection could be a vital step in halting the spread of AIDS and it could prevent over half a million new HIV infections in South Africa alone over the next ten years.
It takes a special sort of a champion to continue diligently through the minute day-to-day work of experiments and trials in order to tackle a nemesis as big and far reaching as HIV...The minister of science and technology Derek Hanekom summed Quarraisha perfectly when he said:
“While her influence on South African science and her impact on the countries AIDs response have been profound, it is her passion and deep commitment to human rights, equality and access to health care that have been the true mark of her character.”
If you want to help the fight you can donate directly to Caprisaʼs research on Tenofovir gel here. Alternatively RED and UNICEF are big charities working in Africa and worldwide to alleviate the burden of AIDS on sufferers and their families.

- By Joanna Mills


Monday, 17 November 2014

Ebola: The Clock is Ticking

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The current Ebola outbreak has been making headlines daily due to the recent imported cases and two locally acquired cases in healthcare workers reported in the United States. Secondary infections of medical workers have also occurred in Spain and one case identified in Mali.  However, this outbreak has been going on for almost a year in West African countries that have had a reported case fatality rate of about 71 percent. It began in Guinea in December 2013 and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, with a small outbreak additionally in Nigeria and one case occurred in Senegal. Now the largest epidemic in history, the World Health Organization reported that there have been a total of 12,008 suspected cases and 5,078 deaths, however, this is believed to understated figures. WHO have also warned that could be as many as 10,000 new cases every week by December 2014. Most recently, The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has now reported cases of Ebola; however, these cases are not related to the ongoing outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. 

At the moment, Ebola is considered a viral disease that has yet to have any licensed treatments or vaccines. When a person is infected with the Ebola virus, their developing symptoms will include: fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, sore throat and intense muscle weakness. These symptoms would be followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, a rash and bleeding both internal and external which can be seen in the gums, eyes, nose and in stool. Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure. These symptoms will occur suddenly between two and twenty-one days after becoming infected. It is absolutely necessary that any one experiencing these symptoms within twenty-one days of coming back from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone should stay at home and telephone 111 or 999 and explain your circumstances so necessary arrangements can take place to determine the cause of the illness.  This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, a rash and bleeding - both internal and external - which can be seen in the gums, eyes, nose and in the stools.

When people begin to experience the symptoms, it is then that they become infectious to others. People become infected with the Ebola virus when they come into contact with the blood, body fluids or organs of an infected person. The majority of people that are infected are when giving care to other infected people, either by directly touching the patient’s body or by cleaning up body fluids (stools, urine or vomit) that carry infectious blood. Consequently, hospital workers, laboratory workers and family members are at greatest risk.

While there is currently no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola virus disease, there are potential new vaccines and drug therapies are being developed and tested. Patients at the moment infected with Ebola are placed in isolation where their blood oxygen levels and blood pressure are maintained at the right level and their body organs supported. ZMapp is an experimental treatment that can be tried; a product that is a combination of three different antibodies that bind to the protein of the Ebola virus. However, it has not yet been tested in humans for safety or effectiveness. 

One of the ways that you can help with the prevention of the spread of the deadly disease currently devastating the lives of people in West Africa, donate to the Ebola Crisis Appeal at Actionaid whose teams are currently helping 271,000 people fight the disease which can pay for cleaning and disinfectant materials for families, buy personal protective equipment for volunteers and training the community on how to keep themselves safe and stop the spread of Ebola. Donations to help raise funds of these materials can also be made at Red Cross, International Medical Corps UK, Christian Aid and many more charities tackling the outbreak and contain it.  

- By Yasmin Mahdy

Photo 1: Daily Mail
Photo 2: Sun News Online