Friday, 25 September 2009

No White Flag!

Dear Blog,
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I haven’t been writing because I haven’t been travelling and it would be futile to write a travel blog when there’s been no travelling wouldn’t it? So you must be wondering if I’m travelling again since I’m writing this blog. No, I’m writing because I need to talk about the challenges to Celebrate Africa.

We’re now 6 months behind schedule. Ordinarily, 6 months is not a long time, it’s just 180 days, half a year, no big deal right? Wrong! It’s a big deal, it’s 180 days we could have spent travelling through 12 countries. It’s 6 months of hawking proposals and waiting for responses from potential corporate sponsors. 4320 hours of anticipation and being in limbo. Half a year of dodging questions and emails about which country we’ll be visiting next and where we are ‘right now’ because it just felt silly to keep telling people we’re still in Nigeria.

In those 6 months, we’ve been ‘advised’ by a certain pan-African bank to ‘seek funding elsewhere’; Been informed by one Nigerian telecommunications company that our budget was ‘a drop in the ocean’ only to have them turn around and say they couldn’t afford to sponsor us.

We’ve been asked to change our proposal to fit yet another telecommunications company’s media strategy which we did since it was in line with our project. Then to have this proposal misplaced by this company, not once but twice! Eventually after weeks of phone calls, visits and general ass-kissing, we got a verbal promise that our project would be sponsored. Imagine my frustration then when we were turned down after submitting the proposal a third time with that old line ‘budget constraints’.

We’ve even gotten the services of a PR company to help with presenting our work, just in case we were not making any headway because we didn’t know how to write proposals for corporate sponsorship. We’ve had to answer the question, over and over again, ‘what is in it for our company?’ We’ve sized and re-sized our budget to suit every possible sponsorship combination.

Now, 6 months behind schedule, I’m asking myself, what next? Should we forget about this whole celebrating Africa thing and get a regular 9-5 job like everybody else? Is Africa really worth any of this? As I think of giving up on this, I remember the hundreds of emails we received from total strangers encouraging and supporting us by telling us how they have been inspired by our work. The radio station that has been inspired to start a ‘good news’ segment, the secondary school student who has taken up geography just so they could learn more about Africa.

Thinking about this, I realise that we’re not only doing this for ourselves but for all these people. For this alone, it is worth it. Now, it’s back to Plan B which used to be Plan A until Plan B became Plan A. We’re asking everybody to donate and not just to donate but to ask somebody else to donate. As Dido says in her song, White Flag, “there’ll be no white flag above my door…” we can’t give up now!


Anonymous said...

i've always wanted to do what you've been so blessed to do and i can't wait to start next year. i really, really hope you can get this sorted very soon. i can't imagine how it must feel.

keep the no white flag flying :-)

Marin said...

Let us know how we can get across to support you.>Rooting for you girls!!!

tenfourty said...

Great to hear from Celebrate Africa again - so glad you ladies aren't taking no for an answer!
Do let us know how we can all support you guys - and of course we can all leverage our networks to find you free places to stay in your travels too...

Chioma said...

@Anonymous 20:52, you bet we'll keep the no white flag flying :-)

@Marin, you can support by donating (click on the paypal button on the website), forwarding our website to others and asking them to donate. Point us in the direction of any funding organizations you might know.

Thanks @ Tenfourty, we'll be in Limbe soon so get ready to host us!

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StandTall-The Activist said...

Pls don't give up sis. Help will come by God's grace!

Anonymous said...

Finally, something on Celebrate Africa : ) Yaay.

I'd love to support you ladies. Please let me know how.

Oluchi said...

@Freedomdisplay, thanks a lot for reading it :-)

@Standtall,Hey! Long time, its good to hear from you again. We wont give up, thats why we are back on the road already.

@Daniel, it feels good to be back too. Please cleck the support page on our website, on how u can support us.

Thanks everyone for you kind comments

ade said...

hi, there seems to be a problem with I can't find a link to the paypal page and the text seems to have turned to gibberish:(

Really pleased that you are getting back on the road though - you guys inspired me to come back home:)

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