Operation Hope Foundation was founded in 2001 by Mr Robert Kee. Serving as a philanthropist and a volunteer before founding OHF, he learned that while many are keen to receive his funds, they are less enthusiastic about revealing in detail how the funds were spent. He decided that the best way would be to set up a foundation that owns the properties and assets, recruit the local staff and executes the programs with regular supervision from Singapore. Working in developing countries like Cambodia and Nepal, he faces many challenges. Wide spread corruption, the fact that receipts are easily faked and a lack of proper procedures allows donations to be siphoned off, purchases inflated and even reports given for projects that never happened. As Mr Kee owns a manufacturing operations in Singapore for 30 years, he applied his principles in running cost effective operations to OHF.
In the course of 20 years helping Cambodia and Nepal, he found that donations were often bounced from one organisation to another leaving a small percentage to the eventual beneficiaries. OHF is not just a grant-maker but both a grant-maker and a grantee. Grantmakers raises funds and allocates them to Grantees who carry out the project. Grantees are often local NGOs who often lacked the discipline of proper project management and financial discipline. Local laws often do not ensure proper governance making it even harder for donors to ensure their money reaches the beneficiaries.
OHF has a methodology to check and detect fraud without totally relying on receipts. Since receipts can be faked, alternative methods were developed and tested by OHF that helps prevent corruption and wastages. The methodology goes beyond financial checks to how operations and projects are executed properly. A house for example can be built at inflated prices, with unsound structure and cheap materials that does not last.
With his wealth of knowledge and experience in running Operation Hope Foundation, Robert Kee has developed several educational videos for NGOs to detect and prevent fraud in the cash-based system nations such as Cambodia and Nepal. The videos help donors to understand how donations flow from them to the beneficiaries.