Anton Rupert, an extraordinarily successful businessman who founded and built up a huge empire, once said that people who do not believe in dreams are not realists. Right. We agree. But you can’t achieve a dream without facing reality.
If you have been following this series of blogs you will know by now that Open Africa’s vision, dubbed an African dream, is to link the splendours of Africa in a network of tourism routes from the Cape to Cairo. This in the interests of spreading wealth (job creation) in synergy with expanding biodiversity. Finding money to do this brought us face to face with the first reality, which is that it is very difficult to raise funds for grass-roots initiatives. We know that now but didn’t in the beginning. Initially we believed that given the vast amounts of money allocated to upliftment in Africa, any plan that was effective and economical on top of that would easily attract funding. This turned out to be naïve for many reasons.
Most aid funding is channelled through governments and once caught up there is practically inaccessible to NGO’s. Funding from corporate social investment programs is available but takes a huge amount of effort to secure. It also tends to be inconsistent in that it follows whatever causes are receiving the most attention from time to time. Another thing, howsoever good social entrepreneurs may be at accomplishing their cause, this talent is seldom twinned with fundraising flair, which is a quite different skill. All we know for sure is that it is about building relationships, which is what this blog is really about. So please you tell us if we are succeeding or otherwise in striking a responsive chord with you? If not, we have a problem, and if still not after you have looked at www.openafrica.org then the problem is doubly serious.