1. Project Name: Computers for Sustainability (CFS)
2. The Problem:
We have relied on freewill donations, gifts and meager funds raised from our IT Centre to be able to run our non-profit organization called Helps International (HINT). However, shortage of funds has always been a huge hindrance to implementing our mission to improve the social and economic well-being and health of the poor and under privileged in our society through education, skill development and job creation. We have projects in the areas of IT training for underprivileged youths, educational support for orphans/underprivileged children; micro-loans for rural women; HIV/AIDS sensitization and information/training seminars. Most of the time, the progress of these projects has been hampered due to lack of funds. Over the years, these projects have expanded as the needs become enormous but there has not been a corresponding increase in the amount of funds needed to support these programs.
3. The Solution:
Therefore, instead of continue to rely on spontaneous donations from our partners (to whom we are very thankful for their generosity in the past), we will like to work with them (current partners) to establish a profitable social enterprise that will generate the funds needed to support our on-going projects and to initiate new ones. After research I have discovered that sale of computers and accessories is one of the most profitable businesses in the country now. Calculations have shown that the business will generate about 21,091,250 million CFA XAF (US$ 42,781) annually.
The business idea is to ship 400 refurbished Pentium 4 computers to Cameroon and sell. Some of the computers will also be used to set up 2 additional IT centers that will employ a number of people too.
The fundraising strategy is to get 2753 people all around the world who will donate $25 each. This will raise US$ 68,831, the needed start-up capital for the business. This amount will cover cost of shipping, seaport clearing and setting up the sales centre in Buea, Cameroon. I will be launching an online appeal for donations as soon as all plans are made concrete. I will also be in the USA between May and August 2009 mainly to raise these funds. I hope to visit churches, organizations, individuals with whom we have a relationship and trust that all needed funds will be realized by October 2009. Shipping should take place in November/December 2009.
I should have asked for hardware donations but that would be difficult to assemble and ship. We will work with an organization such as interconnection.org in Seattle, USA that assembles and ships refurbished computers to the developing world. I am also researching the possibility of shipping from computeraid.org in the UK or from Dubai, wherever shipping cost will be minimal with high quality computers. Mr. Paul Fonkwo a Cameroonian based in CA who has been shipping PCs to Cameroon will be providing advice and help.
All funds will be collected and managed by the following organization:
Hope Outreach International Ministries (HOIM)
10993 N Harrell’s Ferry Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70816
Email: hopeoutreach @ gmail.com
HOIM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and will manage all in-coming and out-going funds for this project and issue tax-deductible receipts to all donors. Financial records will be available to all donors at the end of the fundraising drive, and also upon request.
8. Business Ability:
I developed a Business Plan for a similar project while at Santa Clara University in 2006 while attending the Global Social benefit Incubator (GSBI). I received a full scholarship (US$ 25,000) to attend this highly prestigious and competitive business training opportunity because of the impact we were already making in the lives of young people in our community through IT. My desire for social and economic change especially among the youths and the need for our NGO to be financially sustainable are the main motivations for such project.
Implementation of this project will provide a permanent base of financial support for the work of HINT and we will not have to continually ask our friends and donors to support our work year-in year-out. I believe if you had to make a choice, you would rather teach someone how to fish than to give him fish. By supporting this project at this time, you are actually making provision for years to come.
To see details of how the capital will be invested click here.
I will greatly appreciate your suggestions, thoughts, advice, opinion or any kind of support on this project. Just use the form below to comment.
Genesis G. Tinshu
Executive Director/Helps International (HINT)
Cell Phone: +237 76274131
Email: tinshu @ hintonline.org