Dadamac Foundation is a UK registered charity (number 1104228). Its mission is to listen to changemakers in Africa and enable the effective use of resources.
Our work is inspired by people who are doing great work locally in Africa. We call them changemakers. Unfortunately they lack resources. Very few changemakers have time to tell their own ongoing stories in order to get the support they need. They are too busy doing what they do. They have no time to tell people about their work and their needs. This is ironic, because they are often working more effectively than outside agencies, who are much richer in financial resources, but lack local knowledge and connections.The local changemakers can work effectively because they have local knowledge, they speak the local languages, and so on. Fortunately there are people who would like to help such changemakers, if only they could find them.
This is where Dadamac Foundation comes in. Our mission is to listen to changemakers, and help them to tell their unfolding stories to the people who have resources and want those resources to be used effectively. Our work to date has been on a small local level, also feeding our information into wider debates about development and the use of resources. Through our work changemakers have made new connections and accessed support - both material and immaterial.
We are confident about our mission, and our vision to increase our work and impact. Our confidence comes through the work we have been doing for many years on a small scale, mainly helping John Dada and the team at Fantsuam Foundation to tell their ongoing stories. (See the archives of Dadamac.net especially Nikki's blogs and Frances' blogs). We connect with other changemakers whose stories also need to be told, and we know where to find even more. We know how effective local changmakers are in making good use of the limited resources available to them. Now we want to tell the stories of more changemakers and enable more resources to be used effectively. The additional changemakers need extra help (your help perhaps) to share their ongoing stories together.
Why the stories need to be told - and our vision for sharing more of them.
This is what happens when the ongoing stories are told:
- Changemakers find it easier to attract resources for their projects if their ongoing stories can be told.
- We work with changemakers through communication channels like mobile phones, Skype, digital cameras and the Internet,
- We "listen" to the changemakers and help to tell their ongoing stories in various online spaces.
- Donors who who want to support changemakers benefit because they know there are structures in place for following the progress of projects they support.
- The people the changemakers are helping benefit because the changemakers have more resources.
- The changemakers benefit both in material and immaterial ways because they become part of a peer-to-peer (P2P) mutual support group within Dadamac Foudnation.
- The P2P group explores the issues, opportunities and challenges that people are facing and they share much of this exploration openly.
- The combination of ongoing stories and shared problem-solving creates an ever growing "information bank" or "information commons".
- Students, journalists, volunteers, policy makers and others with an interest in development benefit because they can use this information as a resource to root their work in reality.
- Stakeholders of many kinds become better informed about what is needed, what is available, and "what works well and why".
- Through the ongoing stories people also learn, in considerable detail, what doesn't work (or hasn't worked yet because of a specific barrier).
- All of this combines to improve the way that resources are targetted, projects are defined, and feedback is given.
- This happens in a virtuous circle of increasing information and better informed decision-making which enables more effective use of resources.
- The information bank (or "commons") is freely available, but as it grows we anticipate that helping people to find specific information in it could become an additional source of income for Dadamac Foundation.
This is the detail behind our mission of listening to changemakers and enabling the effective use of resources.
How practical is all this
It is all completely practical. Everything described here is already happening in various ways. It just needs to be brought together, made visible, and enabled to grow. We have a core team with a history of achievement and working together.
Nikki Fishman and Pamela McLean are in London. They are co-founders of Dadamac Foundation. The proof of concept is based on their work with John Dada and weekly online UK-Africa Dadamac meetings with him and his team since 2009, work together online with other groups since 2007, various practical collaborative UK-Africa projects, and earlier work that John and Pamela did face-to-face and online from 2003.
We are building an advisory council to take the work forward, and are committed to achieving a new level of visibility and action during 2015. See our three minute video “#dadamac2015” which gives a flavour of our January event "Africa-UK Connections in Practice - New Approaches for 2015" The ten minute keynote gives more details of why changemakers need the visibility that Dadamac Foundation provides - Tim Unwin’s keynote address video
Work so far has been with a tiny team and is largely self-funded. To accelerate our work to the next level we will need more volunteers, external sponsors, and a few paid people to keep things on track and provide the online platform for our work.
Volunteers are needed in two broad categories, information agents (who help the changemakers to tell their individual stories) and ambassadors (who help us to tell the story of Dadamac Foundation to potential supporters). Ambassadors and information agents come in many guises, are based in many places, and can work as much or little as suits them (as long as they do what they have said they will do). To date information agents include someone (based who knows where) who was sending an occasional tweet on our behalf, to Nikki (in UK) blogging each week about John's work at Fantsuam, to Filo (in Nigeria) working full time with John partly as his PA and partly as our information agent. Some of our changemakers are Africans who live in London but "go home" to work on projects in the land of their birth. They also need information agents to help tell their stories. Story telling can be through words, images, videos, whatever best suits the information agent and changemaker. There is also other behind-the-scenes work to be done organising information and how it flows. Many kinds of information agents and ambassadors are needed.
Sponsors can support our work through direct financial donations, on a regular or one off basis, or through other kinds of material contributions. We have a donate button for direct giving with a gift aid option.
For more details
If you are interested in volunteering or sponsoring, or any other aspect of our work please contact us