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The Peter Cowley Africa Trust provides grants to small scale rural development projects in eastern Kenya and small scale community development projects in Nairobi.

Ibutuka Primary School received a new water tank in 2008 funded by grants from the Peter Cowley Africa Trust

The Peter Cowley Africa Trust was established in 1994 and is named in memory of Peter Cowley. Peter spent his gap year in Kenya in 1976 teaching at Kegonge Secondary School in Embu County. Peter died in 1992 in a presumed walking accident in Alaska and the Trust was established by his parents Rob and Joan Cowley.

There are seven trustees: Michael and Andrew Cowley, Peter Cowley’s two brothers; Dave Eldridge, Maggie Peddar and Malcolm Macnaughton, who spent their gap year in Kenya with Peter; Ali Mbugua and Louise Eldridge.

Over the last 10 years the Trust has provided grants totalling over £207,000 and the total value of grants made since the first grant was given in 1996 is now over £270,000.

Trustee biographies

Andrew Cowley acts as Treasurer, Secretary and Honorary Correspondent of the Peter Cowley Africa Trust. He is a qualified accountant and has over 39 years of experience of working in various finance roles mainly in manufacturing industry before his retirement over two years ago. Andrew has a degree in Economics and Business Studies.

Michael Cowley was the older brother of the late Peter Cowley. He is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and retired in 2014 from a career in the actuarial department at Legal and General Assurance Society. He has been a trustee of the Staff Pension Fund. Michael is also a trustee and Honorary Treasurer of Purley Youth Project (charity number 802295). This is a small charity providing facilities for young people in the southern part of the London Borough of Croydon.

Dave Eldridge has a professional background in voluntary sector development and management. His experience includes serving as a trustee of a number of local and national voluntary organisations. He currently works as a Regional Development Manager for Foundations, the national body for Home Improvement Agencies. He has a Masters in Voluntary Sector Organisation from LSE and a Masters in International Development from Birkbeck, University of London. He did his gap year in Kenya in 1976 and was a close friend of Peter Cowley.

Malcolm Macnaughton taught at Kegonge Secondary School with Peter Cowley in Kenya in 1976. He is a Canon of Mbeere Diocese in the Anglican Church of Kenya and in the UK he currently works for the Archbishop of York as his Chief of Staff, where his focus has been on developing and expanding work with young leaders through the Archbishop’s Youth Trust, empowering young people to be 'change-makers'.

Ali Mbugua first went to Kenya in 2008 to visit the PCAT projects. Since then, she has continued to volunteer and work in the charity sector, volunteering in Ecuador, Sri Lanka and in Kenya. Ali leads the support for Project Riandu through PCAT with her brother Peter. She is Programme Manager at International Needs UK, overseeing programmes in Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.

Maggie Pedder has been a Human Resources Professional since 1990, and since 2003, Director of iAupro Consultancy providing HR contract services to corporate clients and charities. She previously served as a trustee and Chair of the Board of the Army Families Federation and a trustee of the Military Wives Choir Foundation. She is the Senior Independent Board Member for a small mutual financial services company. Maggie’s interest is in supporting families and was a volunteer counsellor with RELATE for several years.

Louise Eldridge Louise works as the Policy and Communications Officer at CORE Coalition, working on corporate accountability and human rights. Previously she worked as a Programme Officer at Anti-Slavery International and as a Research Assistant at the International Centre on Taxation and Development whilst completing a Master’s in Development Studies at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. Louise has also worked as a Team Leader on the International Citizen Service Programme for Restless Development in Uganda and as an assistant at the Robin Hood Tax campaign. She spent her gap year teaching in India.



What and how

The Peter Cowley Africa Trust has three main priorities, water projects, education & training, and projects which enable people to increase and diversify their incomes. Water projects include the construction of earth dams, water storage tanks for schools and water supplies for domestic farming. Education and training includes providing grants to schools and support for employment-focused training. Grants to increase and diversify incomes includes the provision of micro-finance loan funds for business development and support for rural income generating projects. The Trust does not provide grants directly to individuals.

The Trust’s grant programmes are delivered through partnerships with three community-based local agencies, two in semi-arid rural areas in Machakos and Embu counties and one in the Kasarani-Mwiki area of Nairobi. These agencies submit an annual funding application which is considered by the Trustees who meet three times per year. Once a project is agreed the local partners are responsible for ensuring the grant funding is used for the purposes for which it was given and that the agreed outcomes are achieved. In 2016 the Trust started working with a savings and credit union in Machakos County, Moco Sakko, to provide a loan fund for Moco Sakko’s members.