Living Child Inc.: charity review

This is a charity review of Living Child Inc. (LC), an organisation seeks donations online and is a member of Mission Interlink. . (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • Feedback is not sought nor are complaints invited on the website.
  • There is no direct statement about their accountability on the website, but there is this from a blog post in 2013:

  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like last year, they responded within a week. Their comments, where appropriate, have been included below.]

Is LC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • As a Western Australian incorporated association (A1016829Y).
  • LC has a fundraising licence (21738) in its home state (the only state in which, per the ACNC Register, it operates).
    • LC may need a licence in the other five states that have a licensing regime if a state thought that an internet invitation was ‘fundraising’.
  • Not registered for GST, but ‘Gross income’ is under the threshold for compulsory registration.

What do they do?

  • They are working towards this vision, in this way (see the second heading), in these places.
  • And this is how it all came together in 2017:
    • Established a base for Living Child Inc. in Wewak, East Sepik Province: an office with Australian volunteer community development coordinators. They provide support, facilitate outreach activities, networking with Provincial, District government agencies & other NGOs, liaising with hospital staff/managers to reinstate maternal health services to Angoram District, supervising the completion of the maternity building and supply of medical equipment, overseeing refurbishment of a staff house for a PNG midwife to move into, assisting remote village leaders to reestablish health services, infrastructure & clean drinking water in their villages, supervising distribution of clean birth kits & data collection from health volunteers in Keram LLG. Creating and distributing health education materials – story books translated into local language and visual teaching resources for the illiterate. Maternal Health

Our work is concentrated in the Angoram District of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea.This year: 16 Community Health Workers [CHWs] were trained at Angoram District Hospital using the GHAWA Maternal Newborn Health [MNH] course. They had not had training for over 20 yrs. Topics covered: Addressing barriers to women attending antenatal care and supervised delivery, Quality Antenatal Care and clinical physical assessment, Problems in pregnancy, Emergency Obstetric care, Essential Newborn Care & breastfeeding. LC Volunteer helpers provided a vital link to the community, explaining voluntary work of LC, giving health awareness talks in the market about Family Planning, Nutrition & Hygiene. A lesson in personal hygiene was given to teenage girls attending High School. 36 Village Birth Attendants [VBAs] received ‘train the trainer’ training over 4 days in the remote village of Yamen. 150 Portable solar lights were distributed to VBAs & 3 larger solar units for Health Centres were donated. A community feedback workshop was held in the village. Over 100 people participated, men and women, from all areas of Keram LLG. 158 contraceptive implants were inserted. Women came from distant villages. 3 CHWs were certified to insert them. 250 implants were left with them. LC has now linked Marie Stopes with Angoram District Health Administration to set up services in Feb 2018. The ongoing presence of Community Development Volunteers, Jim & Robyn Nottingham, has enabled LC to facilitate the appointment of a senior PNG Midwife to move to Angoram in early 2018 to reinstate MNH services for the District. LC partnered with local government to refurbish a staff house for this midwife. New medical equipment was purchased by LC for the new Angoram Maternity Unit. 2 portable obstetric ultrasounds, 1 oxygen concentrator, ECG machine, obstetric suction, patient observation & oxygen saturation units have been donated to Wewak & Angoram Maternity units. 10 obstetric delivery beds with mattresses have been distributed to Wewak Provincial Maternity, Angoram District Maternity & 3 remote Health Centres. LC set up a streamlined supply of clean birth kits. A volunteer based in Angoram has kits and new data sheets. VBAs from remotevillages can collect from her when needed. 4 Storybooks written and illustrated by Robyn Nottingham have been translated into Tok Pisin. Stories cover the importance of nutrition in pregnancy, Family Planning, what to expect when pregnant and what happens during labour & birth. Cultural issues and taboos are addressed in apositive manner to bring health for women and families. Funding is needed for printing. Robyn has completed 80 culturally appropriate illustrations of pregnancy, birth, family planning, positions in labour to be used as visual aids for training. Funding is needed for printing. [Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017].

Do they share the Gospel[1]?

  • There is no evidence that they do.
    • ‘Gospel’, ‘Christ’ and ‘Jesus’ do not appear on the website. This is consistent with objects in the constitution that do not mention Christianity. ‘Advancing religion’ is not one of their subtypes of charity on the ACNC Register.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.
  • Some anecdotal evidence in this early 2016 blog post.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • Is this promise below, made in a blog post in 2013, still valid in 2018?

    • Ministry comment: ‘Yes. All our staff are volunteers.’
  • The Profit and Loss Statement is not classified to allow the promise to be checked, nor ‘administration’ expense to be reliably estimated.

Do they pay their directors?

  • It appears not.
    • Ministry comment: ‘No. All are volunteers.’

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
    • Ministry comment: ‘Currently working on our PBI application’.

Is their online giving secure?

  • They don’t offer online giving themselves, but direct donors to GiveNow.com.au.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • None offered on the donation page.
    • Ministry comment: ‘When donors have donated to a specific cause we’ve honoured that. All the money raised through our High Tea in 2017 was for renovating the house for a midwife and that was used for that purpose. Some groups have specified that the money is to be used to purchase medical equipment or training resources and we’ve honoured that. Here is a link to our page where projects are highlighted to donate towards http://www.livingchildinc.org.au/our-projects.html.’

Where were the (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2017 says that LC made $23K of ‘Grant and donations’ to be used outside Australia. There is no information on the recipients.
  • Ministry comment: ‘Purchased new medical equipment for the maternity building at Angoram Hospital. Paid for all renovations of the house for a PNG midwife.’

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged nearly seven months after their year-end, a week later than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017:
    • There is a detailed description of achievements, but are these what the ACNC means by ‘outcomes’?
    • ‘Online’ is not selected as a place where fundraising will take place.
  • Financial Report 2017: Yes – but only because one wasn’t required.
    • As a ‘Small’ charity, LC is not required to submit a Financial Report.
    • But it submitted one anyway.
    • A voluntarily submitted report does not have to comply with the ACNC’s requirements.
    • But as an Associate member of Missions Interlink, it must:
      • have available for [their] members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor.”
    • If the minimum standard for ‘appropriate’ is the minimum required by LC’s enabling legislation, then it has complied with the Missions Interlink requirement:

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Last year cash spent exceeded cash received by 48%; this year they underspent by 61%.
  • The description for ‘Our Team’ is ‘All are Volunteers’. Sara David is the first photo. This may fit with the fact that she was paid an ‘Honorarium’ of $2000 ($200 last year), but it doesn’t fit with her receipt of $3K ‘Consultancy fees ($8K last year).
  • The bank balance is 75% of the cash received.
  • There are no other assets, and no liabilities.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Geoffrey Carslake, for Shreeve & Carslake, issued a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • He missed that LC had omitted the Notes to the accounts, and he didn’t say that cash accounting had been used.

If a charity, is their page on the ACNC Register correct/complete?

  • Not quite – ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ has more than LC’s beneficiaries listed.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Seven of the people in ‘our team’ are identified as board members.
  • The CEO, Sara David, is also listed as a board member on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons):

To whom is LC accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • To the Western Australian associations regulator.
  • To Missions Interlink via their Associate membership.
    • For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14. 

 

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