Comment/Thinking Big, And Improving the Process
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Exhorting the Faithful
A successful volunteer group requires perseverance and motivation. And collective responsibility.
By Amadou Basiru Jallow, My Basse Associate Editor
As an association, Friends of Basse, Inc. has been working hard since its inception in 2009 to fulfill its main objective: “the promotion of charity, education, recreation, and/or any other cultural and/or social activities for the advancement of the township of Basse.” The fulfillment of this task has not been an easy one.
The association, through its general membership, executive team, and outside support from generous donors, has been able to attain some success in fulfilling its main objective. However, we realize that the journey is just getting started. We have a long way to go in scoring the kind of success we desire as an association. But by celebrating our baby-step successes along the way, we will be providing some impetus for bigger ideas and actionables, a motivation to bridge the yawning chasm between our aspirations and abilities. Better said, we need to do something that will lead us into a startled realization that we have hit it big!
Notwithstanding, the recently completed RAMADAN PROJECT is arguably one of the most successfully-implemented projects of its magnitude by the association. Although we are still awaiting the official auditor’s report, we are confident that the report will be positive. A lot of precautionary measures were employed to ensure its successful implementation as described in the RAMADAN PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION REPORT.
The association has implemented several projects up to date. We are not proud of the outcomes of all the projects that were implemented in the past. However, we can confidently say that we have learned a great deal from these projects. And, we are prepared to improve as evident by the Ramadan Project implementation and the planning-in-progress for the implementation of the LIBRARY/COMPUTER CENTER PROJECT.
The LIBRARY/COMPUTER CENTER PROJECT was selected to be the next project undertaken by the association for implementation. This project has been talked about from the inception of the association. However, it now seems the most auspicious moment to try to implement it. So far, the association has secured several dozen computers and thousands of textbooks for this project. A team of fundraisers has been identified to help secure funding for this ambitious initiative. Also, a Library Project Committee has been set up to work out the modalities of operation, from conception to inception. We understand the importance of this project to the association and the community of Basse. We are confident that this project will be successfully implemented.
I am very optimistic about our future as an association. I think everyone should be. However, I think that the future requires that we deeply ponder about sustainability and growth of the association. So far, many of us have been generous enough to pay our annual membership fees as well as donate towards individual projects. That is indeed highly exemplary. I encourage all of us to keep up that spirit of kindness.
I believe it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the association engage in sustainable projects that promote growth and longevity. This responsibility should not be left to the leadership team alone. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us. As a start, I urge everyone to share his/her thoughts with the association through the website's forum and/or during meetings. Believe me, we do take note of your comments and suggestions. They influence our decisions. For example, during the Ramadan Project consultative meeting with the general membership, one of you suggested that both the two mosques in Basse be provided with equal days of Iftar (Ramadan meals) instead of the initial recommendation of providing just for the Central Mosque alone. That suggestion was factored into the selection process and it emerged as the winning choice. Please speak up. Your opinions matter.
Secondly, I believe that for the association to achieve its goals and objectives in a way that promotes growth and sustainability, we have to improve our operational pattern. That is, we cannot continue to provide everything at face-value. Meaning, we have to ask the community to help sustain the project(s) the association is implementing by paying a token when and where appropriate. For example, once the Library/Computer Center is fully implemented, the Internet users should be asked to pay a minimal fee to help offset some of the costs of operation and maintenance. This will ensure the longevity of the project while allowing the association to embark on new undertakings.
Furthermore, the association, in order to stay solvent, has to continue to seek alternate sources of funding besides just the annual membership fees. The leadership team is working on organizing fundraising events to help us realize our goals of implementing more meaningful projects for the community. Please, let’s go out and support these events when they’re organized. Remember, no executive member is getting paid for his/her time and efforts - everyone is volunteering for the sake of giving back to the community.
My fellow Basseans, we are embarked on a worthy cause; do not be overwhelmed by the seeming magnitude of the challenge. Our satisfaction should come from the understanding that our efforts are purposeful, and are changing lives for the better. The association is merely a platform to enable all of us to give back to our community that raised us and contributed immensely to our individual and collective growth. I encourage everyone to continue to support the association in realizing its goals and objectives. When the association succeeds, our community will improve. That’s the ultimate goal!
***Amadou Basiru Jallow is also the secretary general of Friends of Basse. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, with his wife Isatou Jallow and their young son.