What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Funding an Office

I know that this project has been slow going.  Similar to most of you, I have been trying to juggle day jobs/responsibilities and the desire to see this project through.  This project means the world to me, as most of you know.  However, I have been asked by my academic advisers (I am now in a PhD program in Anthropology at Rutgers University) to step back from this work as they see it as a possible conflict of interest with my academic work.  As a result, I am not planning to spend any extended time on the ground in Sierra Leone working on this project.  This does not however mean that we will not be moving forward with our work, just that I won’t be moving to Sierra Leone!  

Our current goals are to provide a computer to send to Yapo, our country manager, and to help fund an office building there in Makeni.  That office will provide the tools to allow our team there to make things happen as per their own efforts. Our assessment is that with this office building (which will double as a community space) we will be able to launch our other programs and send volunteers to work there with our local team to see our projects through.  Yapo, has said the legitimacy of an office has been tremendously holding them back.  We are still in line for our brick making project, skills training programs, and most pressingly our women's cooperative network.  I have been actively recruiting volunteers to spend time there to help facilitate these processes, and I have some positive leads.  

For the office/community space we had looked at leasing space, but prices have risen sharply and the price of a three year lease (required) is more than if we build from scratch.  Our local team has found suitable land that garners a 25 year lease and made plans for a small office space.  They estimate that this space will cost $4600, $1000 of which they can obtain themselves for exchange in kind with the community.  This means that we need to send $3600 to them.  I already have purchased the computer.  A small notebook for $460 and will be sending it shortly.  We have garnered commitments of $2020, thus far towards our goals.  That means we need $1580, or to get as close as possible to that figure.  Please consider donating.  You can find a donation link on this website to the right, or contact us at walkinglion.org@gmail.com. Obviously, we do not have a large list of people to ask, but this is also not a large sum of money.  Any level of donation would be greatly appreciated, we have received pledges/donations from $20 to $500.  

All of this donated money will be used to build this office. An office and community space does is allow our local team to get to work.  It is not a hand out, simply a tool to allow both them and the community to make things happen for themselves. I have bought the computer on my own, and will not take anything from these donations.  Every cent goes to the Sierra Leone project or the cost of wiring the money there.  If we receive anything extra, it will go directly to our next project there.  So don't worry about giving too much!  ;)  

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