John gets loads of emails inviting him to get involved in one thing and another – things that claim to offer benefits to Fantsuam Foundation. He doesn’t want to miss out on any genuine ones – but most of them are spam. He’s a busy man, running an overstretched community organisation so he shouldn’t be spending time checking them out himself – especially as he faces various challenges getting online, so it can waste a lot of his time.
Hence the email to me this morning asking for advice. I’m a Dadamac Foundation co-founder, advisory board member, and “volunteer who tries to cover all the stuff that needs doing but there is no-one to do it.” I’m hoping that Dadamac Connect may help me to find people who’d like to volunteer with Dadamac Foundation.
Given this is a kind of “Shout out” on behalf of John relating to the email I’ll quote some of it below – although usually I don’t quote an email without permission from the person who wrote it in the first place.
I am part of an organisation called Enactus. Enactus Sheffield is a social enterprise company, based at the University of Sheffield. Through both social and commercial projects we aim to harness students’ entrepreneurial spirit, to make a difference in our local community and to communities abroad. Enactus Sheffield has already implemented very successful international projects and we recently represented the UK at the Enactus World Cup in Beijing.
Our team is hoping to implement the project I have outlined below this summer. For this project to be successful, it is essential we find the correct location and an in-country partner organisation to support us during implementation and support the project after we leave. Having looked at your organisation, we think you may be a real asset to our team and have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be used in the deployment of our project. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like me to email you more information.
I’ve googled it – http://www.enactussheffield.org/index.html
It looks genuine enough, but I think you need to ask yourself some searching questions before you get involved. I’m thinking of various “hit and run” experiences I had with ICT4D students regarding the work in Ago-Are, and given I didn’t invent the term I know I’m not the only person to have suffered from them. Will they really bring you any benefit to justify the time and effort they expect you to put in?
What they offer
The Recycle Swap is a not-for-profit venture seeking to simultaneously tackle the problem of waste disposal, empower a community and help to alleviate poverty. The project will involve setting up an enterprise employing people to collect and sort recyclable waste from households to be sold on to waste processing companies. The money made from the sale of the waste will pay the wages of the staff and pay for a good which local households desperately need (e.g. food, contraception, transport, healthcare etc.) to be given in return for their waste.
What they want to know
I’m just looking at the questions in the email that they expect you to answer:
To help us decide whether Kaduna would be a suitable location for us to implement The Recycle Swap, we would be very grateful if you could provide us with any information you have to help us answer the following questions:
· Do households in the area produce recyclable waste (plastic, paper, glass, metal etc.)?
· If so, what would an average household’s weekly waste typically consist of? And what do they currently do with this waste?
· Are there organisations in the area which are willing to pay for waste of this nature? And if so, how much money do they pay for the materials?
· What is the average wage for the area?
· What are the local people most in need of (e.g. food, contraception, transport, healthcare etc.)?
Given our previous experience of a recycling plastic project you do have some of the information, but who is going to find it all again and send it to them?
You? Filo? Anyone else? Is it worth the hassle and opportunity cost? Will it really be worth your while to get involved?
Information is a precious resource because it takes time to gather and present
If the students want some background on the waste plastic situation locally maybe they should do some of the initial information gathering by going to the Dadamac.net site and searching for plastic recycling – and then get back to you for additional information.
Fantsuam Foundation is not some big NGO with spare capacity, and a load of people who have time to search out information for people. Probably the students don’t realise that. Maybe they could send a donation to Fantsuam Foundation to help you cover the costs of getting someone to put in the time to dig out the information.
Once Dadamac Foundation has more resources
Once Dadamac Foundation has more resources then we’ll be able to help you with things like this – either through our volunteer team, or by giving Fantsuam Foundation some money for an information agent. Then you can pay someone on your team to act as the information agent and do the extra work necessary to answer the questions.
For now, what I’ve written above this is the best I can offer. I’m also posting this at Dadamac Connect (a new “Dadamac happening” – which I hope will have spin off benefits to many of the people and organisations I already care about – and others that I have yet to meet).