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Dadamac Sprints will get easier once the first “sprinters” have gathered the essential information that will help other sprinters to quickly get up to speed. Sprinters may be happy to simply jump in starting with where we are now, or they may like some background to make sense of it all. This gives both.

Where we are now

On November 9th I co-organised an event related to Dadamac Foundation.

The video makes the point that African changemakers, working in Africa, need help in telling their stories. Dadamac Foundation supports such changemakers.

It wants to support more of them. In order to do that it needs to tell its own “changemaker” story – the story of Dadamac Foundation – hence the first Dadamac Sprint.

Dadamac Foundation

Dadamac Foundation is a UK registered Charity. Nikki Fishman is largely responsible for bringing it into existence. It is not a “typical UK-Africa NGO”.  It began in a very small way with friends helping friends, and with the initiatives coming from the African side of the collaboration.

Dadamac Foundation  has a website, which needs work done on it.

Nikki is a co-founder of Dadamac Foundation and was involved in various Dadamac collaborations at the time Dadamac Foundation came into being.

Dadamac Foundation 2015

In January 2015 Nikki and I co-organised another to share our vision of Dadamac Foundation and why it is needed. We described it as a new approach to International Development, one that is radically different to the traditional top-down approaches. The event aimed to kick off a year that would build opportunities for people to connect, communicate and collaborate with Dadamac Foundation, and take its work to a new level.

Our approach is one that belongs firmly in the 21st century. There is an emphasis on two-way UK-Africa communication, now possible thanks to mobile phones and the Internet. This two-way communication means that the initiatives in Africa can be driven by local knowledge, genuine needs and current opportunities for development. True UK-Africa collaboration is possible, based on relationships of equal respect on both sides.

The name “Dadamac”

Initially the name “Dadamac” only related to group initiatives that John Dada and I (Pamela McLean) were both involved with. These initiatives were either connected with John Dada’s work in Fantsuam Foundation, in North Central Nigeria,  or with another project, which worked closely with Fantsuam Foundation, that was initiated by the late Peter Adetunji Oyawale.

Gradually the name “Dadamac” got used for other things that I was doing in collaboration with one or more people, even if John was not involved.

On my side it started with Peter Adetunji Oyawale

Peter Adetunji Oyawale, a Nigerian living in London, was the first friend I helped with a project in Africa.

After Peter’s untimely death my role in his project increased, because his project could only continue if everyone did a bit more (more about Peter Adetunji Oyawale)

My “doing a bit more” involved going to Nigeria on working-holidays for “reality checks”, helping the project to stay true to Peter’s original vision, and using my reliable, affordable  24/7 Internet connection on behalf of the project when I was home in the UK. During my Internet-based learning and research I followed many leads that I thought would prove relevant. The best connection that I made was with  Fantsuam Foundation directed by John Dada, so that is how John and I started to collaborate.

Various Dadamac initiatives

Over the years John Dada and I put energy into various initiatives together, with Nikki helping from 2007. Our collaboration is how the name “Dadamac” (short for John Dada and Pamela McLean) came about. I could never say that I spoke for the organisation Fantsuam Foundation, because I didn’t know enough about its governance etc. However, I knew the place and its work, because I visited it on working holidays, just as I visited Peter’s project.  I could speak about Fantsuam Foundation, and I knew John well enough to often speak for John Dada.

The systems that Nikki, John and I put in place for communication between London and Fantsuam gave us the “learning experience” that is the basis for what is now the registered UK charity, Dadamac Foundation.  Our work serves as an illustration of UK-Africa collaboration, and what is possible regarding local and global approaches to International Development, now that we live a ‘connected world” thanks to mobile phones and the Internet.

Future vision

The work that Nikki and I have done over the years with John Dada and his team serves as “proof of concept”. It demonstrates the practicality of Dadamac Foundation’s future vision of new approaches to working with Changemakers in Africa. The work this year (2015), both through the events and through working with additional African changemakers in London, shows that there is a demand for this new approach.

The work that “Dadamac Sprinters” will do is essential in satisfying that demand for a new approach –   a new approach based on the the successful “prototype” that has emerged through our years of UK-Africa practical collaboration.