This is written for people who connect with Dadamac and need to understand its roots and character, in connection with their developing roles. It's probably too detailed for casual readers.
Dadamac was never planned, it just "kind of happened" in response to needs, and requests, and interests. It has been largely self-funded, running alongside various day jobs. Much of its history can be found by dipping deep into www.dadamac.net.
Dadamac got its name from the fact that John Dada and I (Pamela McLean) were collaborating in various ways and in those situations we needed to speak with one voice - which was the voice of "Dadamac". John was usually in Nigeria, I was usually in London. I also collaborated with John in Nigeria, and John knows UK culture well from when he was a Fellow at Leeds University. This means that we had sufficient overlap in our cultures, visions and values for us both to be confident that I could speak on John's behalf over here in London.
We made the most of the Internet to connect with each other at a distance. We involved other people who were connected to our initiatives, especially the Fantsuam Foundation team in Nigeria with John, Nikki Fishman in London with me (as Dadamac UK), and various groups I connected with in London and online.
As Nikki and I worked together Dadamac UK became a stronger identity in its own right. As a result, other related interests and initiatives I was involved in gradually became part of Dadamac in the UK.
With Nikki's help Dadamac developed in various ways and the work of Fantsuam Foundation became increasingly visible on www.dadamac.net. Nikki was also responsible for the continued existence of Dadamac's UK registered charity Dadamac Foundation (previously known as CAWD).
At the end of 2012 Nikki had to reduce the time she gave to Dadamac so things had to change. This post brings us up to date.
Dadamac Foundation is, at present (November 2014), just a little traditional charity that has been used now and again by people connected with Dadamac to "collect money to buy stuff". The last time it was used in that way was for the "Fast Tractor" money-raising initiative in 2012. It has no regular fundraiser and is usually inactive.
However, if you check Nikki's weekly blogs in www.dadamac.net up to the end of 2012, you'll see that the main support we were giving to John Dada and the Fantsuam Foundation team over the years had little to do with "money to buy stuff". Our Dadamac efforts were connected with information-sharing rather than money or material resources.
In our experience the most effective way for people of good will in African and UK to work together is by focusing on information sharing, and collaborative problem solving. We believe it is an appropriate way to collaborate now that we increasingly have the tools to do so (the Internet, social media, digital cameras, smart phones). In fact we believe it is an essential part of effective changemaking and collaboration at a distance in the 21st century.
We intend to make two-way communication a recognised key part of Dadamac Foundation's work in 2015, something that donors expect us to be doing. It will be a shift of emphasis, reflecting what has been shown to be valuable, but has previously lacked donor support.
We will also be launching a separate Dadamac Foundation website
We plan to extend Dadadmac Foundation so it can do more of what we have done to help John in the past, and it can also give similar help to others.
Does Dadamac Foundation cover everything in Dadamac?
As I mentioned above Dadamac didn't begin as a charity. It wasn't planned, so it never had any objectives, and it has become wide-ranging, reflecting my related interests.
Dadamac began with friendships. The friendships I had with John and others at Fantsuam Foundation. These friendships had come about from previous friendships and contacts through helping with the work of the late Peter Adetunji Oyawale
My London "high bandwidth" role of seeking relevant information for my "bandwidth challenged" friends in Nigeria, led me to be active in many online groups and communities of practice. One of these groups was Andrius Kulikauskas' Minciu Sodas, which has had a huge and continuing influence on my thinking, especially about online global communities, and working in the public domain.
I've also been influenced by Michel Bauwens and the Peer-to-Peer foundation, George Por and the School of Commoning, Mike Gurstein and Community Informatics, Doug Schuler, Yishay Mor, Helmut Leitner and others regarding Pattern Language, Dougald Hind and Dark Mountain, Vinay Gupta and Collapsanomics, Indy Yohar and others at Hub Westminster, everyone in PRADSA (Practical Design for Social Action) Francis Sealey and GlobalNet21, Tony Hall, Fred Garnett and the Everything Unplugged conversations, the Centre for Distance Learning and its lunchtime seminars at London University. the RSA and its Fellows, Lloyd Davis and Tuttle, The Escape School and StartUp Tribe. The list could go on.
In fact my practical interests relating to innovation and digital technology go beyond Dadamac. Back In the 1970s and 1980s I was doing innovative work with computers, integrated into my work as an infant teacher. I was deeply influenced by Max Clowes (Professor of Artificial Intelligence) and our conversations exploring the overlap between my work (with computers and infant teaching ) and his work (on computers and thought).
The point is that although my most visible activity is to do with supporting John and Fantsuam Foundation, that work is only part of what I do. The less obvious activity over the years has been happening in online inter-actions, in face-to-face meetings in London, and in my mind. I have been given endless opportunities to learn and reflect. I have been studying patterns of change, especially related to the disruptive nature of the Internet.
As evidence of this scope my publications have ranged from "Microcomputers in Early Education" (with David Wharry under the name Pam Fiddy) in 1983, to a chapter on "Online Learning in Virtual Academia" in "Teaching and Learning Online - New Models of Learning for an Connected World Volume 2" in 2014 - with some wider ranging, less educationally focused work in between.
Obviously what I learn and think is personal to me, and is not encompassed by Dadamac Foundation, but it feeds into it.
Dadamac Connect, like Dadamac Foundation, has emerged from Nikki's and my work in Dadamac. Dadamac Foundation is a registered charity with an African focus. There are Dadamac things we want to continue doing that are beyond the scope of a charity and Dadamac Connect provides that vehicle. Dadamac Foundation and Dadamac Connnect are sister organisations, part of the same family, independent of each other financially but closely related in outlook. We are nurturing both of them.
In Dadamac Connect Nicola (Nikki) Fishman and I will continue connecting people, organisations and ideas that don't easily connect elsewhere. We'll choose collaboration rather than competition. We'll continue innovating and creating connections - the kind that used to be impossible or irrelevant but are increasingly important and urgent in our rapidly changing world.
However Dadamac Connect isn't a charity, and it wants to do things that can't be done voluntarily, so there'll be a new emphasis on working in financially sustainable ways, based on the lessons that we've learned.
Growing Dadamac with Holacracy
If you get actively involved with Dadamac's work in a practical role you'll probably find yourself introduced to Holacracy. Holacracy- how it works is a good place to start. I came across Holacracy through Westminster Hub and like it as a way to organise Dadamac as it grows.
For more on Holacracy see Update on Holacracy & Conscious Evolution in Organisations. The next training day is Friday, 12 December 2014.
Impact Advocates is a more ambitious and proactive vision of what Dadamac could do during 2015, if it gets the right support. Instead of simply sharing information about changemakers the way that Dadamac Foundation has in mind, Impact Advocates would advocate on behalf of changemakers and support them in maximising their impact.
2015 and our January 10th event.
There has been a lot of thinking and planning about our direction for 2015 and beyond. There's long term vision and the start of building a team to see it through. The first steps have been taken.
We start the year at Hub Westminster on Saturday January 10th with "Africa-UK connections in practice - new approaches for 2015" Details and registration here
I know I'm biased, but I do believe the event will be full of opportunities for people to start the New Year in memorable and special ways.
As the blurb says:
- Come to listen
- Come to share you experiences
- Stay to get involved in the next steps
The people in the room on January 10th will influence what happens next.
You could be part of it.