Oshede is an online empowerment & support initiative to help people in developing regions with assistance towards paying for post-secondary education or towards developing a sustainable income via micro-enterprises. We do this by giving them a platform on which to crowdsource solutions for their challenges/ projects, be it via goodwill monetary contributions from members of the public or through specific pieces of advice aimed at tackling a particular challenge.
© Lars Plougmann, Walking to the Well, Malawi
This is important because historically, the billions of pounds/ dollars in funding which have been funnelled to most developing regions over the last 70+ years have largely failed to achieve their overall objectives. They certainly have not translated into sustainable development of proportions seen in most parts of the developed world. There are many reasons for the failure, but one reason identified by experts is that the aid does not actually reach the people who need it most, but is instead misappropriated by officials, or used for purposes that do not benefit locals. Aid Agencies too are not without blame in this complicated dependency equation (1, 2).
Unfortunately, young people have been the most affected victims in this failure in that structural inequalities have failed to create a level playing field where children say in a city such as Lusaka (Zambia) can have the same educational opportunities as those in Ottawa, to give just one example. The disparity has affected other aspects of life including creating unsustainable levels of unemployment.
We believe we can help address this, and there are others already working on a similar model.
Thus, this pitch appeals for your support for Oshede, so that we can provide quality post-secondary education, and fund creation of sustainable micro-enterprises, be they cooperatives or otherwise. This will help the recipients gain employment mentored by a team that includes volunteers with many years’ academic & business experience.
It is indeed unfortunate that while some people have access to education as a right available to them (in some cases freely), others unfortunately don’t even have that opportunity. Instead they are forced to toil to survive, some working as child labourers, to support their families / make ends meet.
We know first-hand what it is like to struggle to pay for education. As a young boy, our founder watched in desperation as his mother sold items in their house to pay for his school fees, including a refrigerator. Growing up, the home lacked many things because his mother, a single mother who was the first to go to college in her family, had to pay school fees for her nieces and nephews in the village. Today, most of those nieces and nephews are now independent, in full-time jobs and have escaped the poverty trap. We have seen first-hand how education can change lives and communities for the better, and it is our hope that with your assistance we can reach a much larger pool of people, and create sustainable employment in the process.
Oshede will also work with organisations such as Reach Volunteering, Restless and others that provide advice and opportunities for retired professionals looking for a new challenge. We believe we can use technology (e.g. smart-phones) to tap into this expertise and experience to foster knowledge transfer, best practices, and reduce failure rates of micro-enterprises/ cooperatives in developing regions.
Thus, each recipient who signs up to Oshede will be partnered with 2 mentors, in a mentorship group (for example via a Chat app such as WhatsApp) who will be in continuous communication, with the recipient, to help and support them through their challenges/ educational journey. Such an approach removes the need for physical offices, or for full-time staff on the ground. Further, and to reduce overheads, we will also be working with local NGO partner organisations already on the ground to deliver some aspects of our programs.
In terms of sustainability we aim to create an events and co-working space whose revenues will be used to pay for the single office we intend to have (which will be housed in the same building). This will prevent using donated funds to pay for overheads and staff (meaning a much greater percentage of donated funds can get to the recipient, and consequently we can help more recipients). Further, by funding micro-enterprises with the proviso that within any 5 year period they should invest a portion of their profits into the initiative so as to help other micro-enterprises, we are locking-in sustainability into the initiative. We believe among our recipients will be some commercial successes who will help subsidise other recipients.
We aim to use our resources for high impact funding drives, mentoring and hands-on support for between 2,000 to 3,000 individuals, initially in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, but spreading to other parts as the initiative grows. Our numbers show that such an intervention can within 5 years of launch help create between 5,000 and 10,000 new jobs a year, supporting between 4,000 to 10,000 families (roughly between 12,000 and 40,000 people).
Thus, please help us reach this goal by partnering with us. Your help will make a big difference. You can also help by highlighting our initiative to your friends and family, colleagues, employees and partners.
Oshede envisages a nimble and efficient third sector, with minimal overheads. Our model will create sustainability which if adopted widely would prevent the need for NGO to constantly go to corporate partners to request more donations. It means more CSR funding can be focused towards urgent causes, in particular, those to do with famine, war and displacement in places like South Sudan, Yemen, Myanmar and Syria.
In the end we are all after the same thing. A more prosperous and equitable world means that people will have access to better education, better healthcare outcomes, greater security, and there will be less instances of conflict. It means young people can create more sustainable jobs in their own countries, which would reduce unemployment and prevent brain-drain to the west. There will be a significant and measurable reduction in poverty levels and more resources from a larger pool of diverse people will be available to tackle global challenges such as Climate change.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our initiative and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We hope you will contribute to our initiative, and share the contents of this page with your friends and family, colleagues and associates.