Fast Tractor

(Updated August 2013 and March 2014)

Fast Tractor is a UK based initiative started in May 2012 to help Fantsuam Foundation purchase a government subsidised tractor. The tractor is to use at Attachab and to share, at a fair rent, with local farmers.

The initiators

The initiators were Steve Podmore and Pamela McLean.

The backstory

The backstory was about a government scheme to enable organisations like Fantsuam Foundation to buy tractors at a subsidised cost. Fantsuam Foundation had paid a deposit of £2,000 more than two years previously. There had been various false hopes in the past about the tractor becoming available. There were new hopes that with the new administration the tractor scheme might become a reality for Fantsuam Foundation.

The catalyst

The catalyst was an unexpected 21 day deadline for Fantsuam Foundation to find over £7,000 to claim their tractor. John Dada brought this situation to a Dadamac UK-Nigeria team meeting. 

Steve heard the news during a subsequent conversation with Pamela when he asked after John

Steve came back later with the idea of Fast Tractor, and crowd funding.

Timeline 2012

  • April 25th John and Steve met for the first time when John was on a brief visit to London
  • May 15th John was given the 21 day deadline to raise the money for th tractor
  • May 16th John shared the problem at the UK-Nigeria Dadamac skype (typed) meeting
  • May 17th Steve got involved
  • May 26th Steve and Pamela  met to set up the necessary structures to launch Fast Tractor
  • May 28th Fast Tractor crowd funding initiative launched under the umbrella of Dadamac Foundation and using Dadamac Foundation's online donations account at Bmycharity.
  • June 4th over £5,000 had been donated or promised in UK - but it was needed in Nigeria. A friend based in London and Nigeria agreed to organise a full bridging loan to be repaid by the end of the month.
  • June 5th - the official deadline but, given the evidence of funds raised, the Ministry of Agriculture granted Fantsuam Foundation an extension of one week.
  • June 12th Steve and Pamela handed over the first cleared funds from Dadamac Foundation to Casimir (Cass) Biriyok to start repaying the bridging loan, and continued fund raising (a couple of informal loans enabled us to reach the target).
  • June 11th. Mr Shinggu attempted to pay for the tractor.  He was told of an additional £171 payment required for tractor insurance before the tractor will be released. An additional one week extension was granted to make the extra payment.
  • June 19th Mr Shinggu (a member of John's team at Fantuam Foundation) had the additional funds ready to make the payment. He was prevented from doing so because of curfews in Kaduna following suicide bombings on June 18th. and reprisal attacks.
  • June 28th Shinggu and team were told by MOA (Ministry of Agriculture) to travel to Kaduna  and collect tractor. Waited in vain at the Tractor Company, only to be told that the MOA official was unable to come over to authorize release of the tractor.
  • July 3rd tractor was collected, needed to stop on its drive to Fantsuam because of the curfew, arrived safely on July 4th.
  • December 2012 - the tractor committee made their first repayment to the Fast Tractor Fund of £500. This will be used to repay money that we borrowed in order to lend to them.
  • December 2012 - When Dadamac Foundation contacted the people who were owed money by Fast Tractor the lenders said they were now able to make the loans into gifts, so the money did not need to be repaid. The £500 was then lent to Zittnet for upgrading equipment.
  • 2013 - the tractor committee made repayment of £400.

The ongoing story

Fast Tractor is a regular agenda item for our Dadamac UK-Nigeria meetings. Use the search box to find references to Fast Tractor.

There is an occassional newsletter, to get on the mailing list email pamela.mclean@dadamac.net and put "Request for Fast Tractor NL" in the subject line.

March 2014 update ref the newsletter. John Dada was in London in November 2013 and we arranged a Dadamac Day event in collaboration  with GlobalNet21 and Impact Hub Westminster.  A final newletter was sent out inviting people to come and meet John at the London event.

The early story was told through our fundraising channels, but don't expect to see action there now that the tractor has been acquired, and the fundraising sprint is over.

Collaborators

John and Pamela have collaborated for many years. Steve met John through Dadamac when John was in London on April 25th 2012, and good bonds of undertanding and trust were established.

Mr Shinggu is a long term friend of John Dada and supporter of Fantsuam Foundation. Mr Shinggu and Pamela met in 2008 when he was helping John full-time at Fantsuam Foundation (FF) for a while. Shinggu returend to help with FF management in 2012 after the ravages of the post-eletion disturbances.

Casimir (Cass) Biriyok and Pamela were introduced by John. Cass lives in London but came originally from somewhere close to Fantsuam, and has supported Fantsuam Foundation from its earliest days. His business interests include a bookshop in Kaduna, where the tractors were being released. John suggested that Cass could play a key role in enabling funds raised in UK to get quickly to Nigeria.

Other people connected with Steve or with Dadamac helped in various ways to spread the word about Fast Tractor and bring in donations.

Future vision

Steve originally hoped to raise a total of £10,000 so John would have no worries in the early days of using the tractor, and so that there will be money for various related initiatives. He hoped to include a children's art competition about the tractor, and costs of sending back photos and reports about the project.  

John wants to repay the money as the tractor gets rented out.

Steve, John and Pamela have a shared vision for enabling the Fast Tractor funds to be reused in other ways in future in other "impact investments".

Update December 2012

Fast Tractor was a great sprint by a very few people, and the tractor arrived successfully. After that, Fast Tractor people had to get back to their usual activities, so there has been no ongoing marathon regardiing raising money, or other high-energy follow-up activities from the UK side. However, the sprint was a triumph!

John continues to give updates about the tractor at the Dadamac UK-Nigeria meetings. However techie glitches, and other problems that have yet to be recovered from after the violence, have made John reliant on his phone for many of our recent meetings, and this has reduced the amount of information we have been able to exchange. It has also made us delay scheduling any online meeting between John and donors.

Things are never easy at Fantsuam and they have been particularly challenging of late so  the tractor was a much needed injection of good fortune at a very diffiuclt time.

The last newsletter included photos of the floods that initially prevented the tractor from earning its keep. At present I am doing the Fast Tractor newsletter as no-one else has come forward, but it was never my intention to take it on, and I would love to find a suitable volunteer.

The next newsletter will have better news - including the first repayment to Dadamac Foundation of the money raised through the Fast Tractor appeal. We are delighted that the tractor commitee has been able to manage things so effectively. As repayments come in, our initial responsibility will be to repay the loans that some of our friends kindly made available when there was a shortfall between donations and the full amount that John needed. After that, as repayments come in, we will be able to discuss needs with John and make decisions about new impact investments.

Update 2013

John has sent more photos but at present there is no-one to take responsibility for writing the newsletter. This year Dadamac Foundation is focussing on raising its own visibility, in order to increase its team. If that is successful then Dadamac Foundation may be able to help Fast Tractor to tell its ongoing story.