Ever wish you could do something to help those less fortunate than yourself? This campaign offers an opportunity to do that in a very personal way because you know me! Let me go back to Africa and work towards improving the living conditions of subsistence farmers. I have been to Africa to offer workshops in agricultural business management three times but never for longer than 18 days. This isn't really long enough. I just get to know people, just get them started using some new tools and concepts and then I have to leave. I want to go back and work with a project where I can be in touch with the participants over time.
I teach business planning and financial management in primarily agriculture and value added areas in order to help participants to improve their skills in business and entrepreneurship. This can include everything from record keeping to goal setting to interpersonal relationships. Cooperation, collaboration and compromise are necessary skills when working in cooperatives or small groups. The skills I teach help farmers grow from subsistence farming (growing a garden for the families use) to selling surplus products at a profit. Profit is a concept that is not obvious to illiterate farmers. Nor is calculating the cost of production so they can price their products such that they are not losing money.
The money I am raising will get me to Africa and support me while in country. I need help with airfare, in country transportation, lodging and living expenses. But my needs are modest and I am very frugal. By commiting to two years, I can follow my participants' progress and help them build on the skills and knowledge they are acquiring.
While I am raising funds for my living expenses, I will not go without an agency sponsor. It would not be smart. I would not have support, infrastructure and it would not be safe. Besides I don't want to lose my citizenship. But this way has many merits. The overhead is low and it offers contributors a personal role in the project. I believe this may be the way of the future when it comes to this type of aid. It is cost effective, efficient, direct and very personal. I believe this is good work. The people in Africa whom I have worked with have told me that it is helpful. Small amounts of cash translate to large improvements in the quality of life. Some things cannot be obtained without cash; like mosquito netting and seeds. This is teaching a woman to fish instead of giving her a fish!
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