We have been asked to explain the relationship between Dadamac Foundation and Dadamac Limited. It is causing some confusion for people who think it must be like the relationship between, for instance, Ford and the Ford Foundation or Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (i.e step one: become a great commercial success; step two: share the resulting financial wealth through philanthropy). Dadamac is very different. We didn't start on the commercial side and then create the foundation. We started with our voluntary work and are now at the start of building our commercial operation (Dadamac Limited). We don't have financial wealth; our wealth is harder to quantify. We have a considerable amount of social capital and a wealth of knowledge and information, built up through years of voluntary work.
The various faces of Dadamac
We are creating an online presence under one brand name – Dadamac – which brings together
- Our voluntary projects that need support – through Dadamac Foundation
- Our availability to do paid work – through Dadamac Limited
- Our willingness to work collaboratively and share ideas freely – through Dadamac OK (Open Knowledge)
- Our interest in how the internet is helping us to learn and teach – through Dadamac Learners.
The people behind all these activities are the Dadamac team or community.
Dadamac Foundation is growing up around voluntary work that John Dada and Pamela McLean have been doing together and separately for many years (since 1996 in John’s case and since 1999 in Pam’s case). Dadamac Foundation ties in with John's voluntary work with Fantsuam Foundation (FF) and with Pam's voluntary work with Dadamac Learners. We hope to attract additional resources (of money and volunteers time) through our online presence.
In 1996 John was one of a group of Nigerian professionals who set up FF. The key activists and leaders within FF have been John Dada and Kazanka Comfort. Their first task was to set up a micro-finance programme. Initially they both worked as volunteers and under their leadership and vision the programme grew and flourished. FF has served thousands of clients over the years and has gradually grown to employ a team of full-time staff. It runs at a profit which is used to support other FF community programmes. The staff team is lead by Kazanka Comfort as general secretary – which is now a paid role.
John's voluntary work
John still supports FF in a voluntary role as programme director. He also gets approached by people in the local community who have immediate needs that FF is not able to fulfil. As an individual, he tries to satisfy these from his own resources and often turns to his family and friends for help. In addition, John has a vision for other projects that FF is not able to fund. Dadamac Foundation aims to support John’s community work both within Fantsuam Foundation and also where it reaches beyond the boundaries of FF.
Pam's voluntary work
Pam’s voluntary work has been connected with teaching. She is gradually bringing all this together under the heading of Dadamac Learners. Over the years she has run various courses during “working holidays” in Nigeria and Kenya. Through these working holidays and various oline activities she is in contacts with people who would have liked to continue their ”learning journeys” on-line and through other face-to-face (F2F) courses, but have been prevented from doing so because of financial constraints. There are the usual costs of attending F2F courses, and, for on-line involvement, there are costs of travelling to cyber cafes and paying to go on line. Pam has managed to help a few people through personal gifts and with the help of family and friends. She hopes to raise money through Dadamac Foundation to extend such support. The initial focus will be on helping participants who are known personally through Dadamac courses.
Foundation and Limited - separate but complementary
There is a clear separation between Dadamac Foundation and Dadamac Limited. The separate existence of Dadamac Limited flags up the fact that John, Pam and people in their networks are available for hire, and it provides the appropriate legal and organisational structure for paid work. The existence of two separate organisations aids transparency and keeps things simple. Dadamac Foundation is voluntary, it is a registered charity. It has no paid staff and aims to keep it that way. Its focus is on social and educational projects. Dadamac Limited is a registered company. Its knowledge and networks are available on a commercial basis. Dadamac Foundation and Dadamac Limited are linked by a wealth of shared knowledge, goodwill, trust and social capital.