Start With What You have as You Look for Money

Start With What You have as You Look for Money

One very serious bottleneck we face is that there is a firm belief that without money, nothing can be done.

I use the words “serious bottleneck” because this belief permeates the entirety of society and has both a demand side – which is our people who refuse to do anything where there is no money involved and this fuels the perpetuation of this bottleneck. I am not in any way against money, but I am against this notion that without money, we cannot do anything because it is self-defeatist and is what will make money even more elusive.

Money follows where there is a promise of a return, and one cannot show that promise of a return without first using what is within their reach to show impact which then attracts money. We have no choice but to break the vicious cycle of this “serious bottleneck” and this will be done by people like you and me and the few others who refuse to believe that without upfront money we cannot do anything. I will encourage you to contribute towards breaking this cycle by re-strategizing the delivery of any initiatives as follows:

a) Do not frame ideas as a “project” because the moment you mention project, people know that it is about sitting back and waiting for money to be brought and things to be done for them. Instead, frame it as a bringing of knowledge and expertise to the community to work with them and guide them to turn their challenges be, they in plastic pollution problem into a sanitation solution.

b) Make it clear that this is a community friendship initiatives and that those who call themselves friends of a given community need to volunteer their skills, knowledge, networks, towards building the first demonstration community toilet built using plastic waste. So, the logic is, use your power of communication to mobilize members of a given target community to bring their hands together and support their community with this practical sanitation solution. It will be the way people organize “free medical camps” but this will be slightly different as the community will be expected to play a key role in delivering this solution – e.g. local administrators need to provide space, local youth be ready to collect the plastic bottles and prepared them, other professionals from the community who are in cities and that are not on the ground to donate towards material, tools etc. So in other words, make this a coming together of the community to deliver an innovation that has come from your ideas and where you will play a coordination role to deliver it.

c) In this way, you innovatively volunteer your time, ideas and efforts to make a difference and the community also benefits from a solution and this solution delivered by the community depending in each other and this drives ownership and sustainability. So, organize a mobilization campaign through twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others to bring together all these actors of a given community to work together towards delivering solution to community.

d) Long term sustainability of this will need some kind of model. And for this, I think you will need to have a committee – which will be some kind of cooperative responsible for managing, maintenance and continuous improvement of the facility you have help put in place – and this will then put charges for using this facility. And the payments made will be pooled in cooperatives to enable expansion of the solution. You, your team and initiative will also be part of this cooperative.

Leverage the logic of mobilizing community members to collaborate and co-operate around delivering a solution – in this case, a solution to empower village youth with skills in recycling so they can serve the community. This will need to be a recycling of waste into items that are of use in the community. E.g. for instance, you can tie this to the first initiative where the youth are trained to recycle plastic waste into building materials fir making toilets and such sanitary facilities. Hence, the youth who build these toilets are trained first. The same model will apply here as well.

a) mobilize willing youth to be trained as solutions providers for community sanitation challenges.

b) community members contribute in-kind – including by volunteering to train these youth.

c) engaged youth who build these toilets become part of cooperative and be benefiting from the little fee payed by users of these solutions.

d) expand this model to other communities and plays coordination role.

Start with what you have which is your ability for mobilization, our free guidance, and the platform that Innovative Volunteerism provides that can make it a trusted custodian to coordinate community actions on the ground.

Start with what you have you look for Money!

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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