Crowd funding is brilliant, let’s just start with that. For those who are new to the idea it is just as the term says, it is a financing plan that comes from the little that can be contributed from the average citizen. In theory it allows for less of a reliance on big donors and backers and allows the users to contribute and build what they need for themselves. To say the least Africa should have latched onto this idea a long time ago but that is a story for another day. I am here to talk ACU108.
ACU108 is a Crowd Funding campaign run by the African Christian University (ACU) this week, 14th – 18th December. It is meant to provide the finances for the building of the campus to the new university. All the information to this is readily given on this website, do check it out especially after you read this. The need for the financing is there and so the campaign has been set up to get the necessary finances. To put it another way the call has been made and now the answer must be given. The trouble is as Africans we tend to view financial support as something that should be done by someone else, preferably someone who is not part of the situation.
In order for this to change two things must be noticed and taken to heart. The first is that the project is ours. This has been mentioned several times and like all good messages it must be said over and over till the cows come home and then played till the cows go to sleep and then played the next day again. ACU is ours, it is going to be on home soil, providing education for our own people. Who else should look after it? The second thing to take to heart is that support comes from what you can give, whether in cash or in kind. There is a mentality that we do not have enough to give so we shouldn’t or we don’t but this, in the pattern of all living tissue, must die. God has given us all something with which we can help other people, not just ACU but our neighbours, it is on us to find what that is and give it.
And this is where the idea of crowd funding works its magic. We don’t need to kill off 20% of the required amount ourselves, what we need to do is find what we can give and help out the cause. The trouble is we end up seeing campaigns such as ACU108 as a plea to “other people” for aid. It’s not just that. It is the opportunity for us to give what we have, no matter how small and the combination of it all amounts to something much larger than we could give individually. And ACU knows this, in fact they are calling for help in whatever form we can give it, each as he is able but we must look on the project as our own and not just something that is happening across the road.
If we see it as our own we will care enough to see it progress. We will find ways in which we can provide support to it in whatever way we can. Not everyone has the financial capability to help out but once again it is on us to find the way in which we can help out and lend a hand there. As Africans we need to wake up and see the good work that is going on in our back yard and take a hold of it as our own. Seek to see it take root and thrive on home soil not just because it will benefit us but because it will benefit our neighbours. Programs like ACU108 are a chance for us to take of ourselves what we can, to embrace the qualities that we want to see in ourselves and make that first step towards a goal much larger than ourselves.
It is very possible that all the necessary funding for a campaign like ACU108 to come from elsewhere and not from us but if you think about it, how is that any different from what has been happening for decades on the continent. The biggest motivation for us to change this lies in the second letter of the acronym, Christian. The Christian mind-set that is propagated in the bible is one that is different from that of our human nature. One that causes us to see the world as more than just me and mine but looks to our neighbour and shows love. Looks to our community and shows love. Looks to our country and shows love. And yes, you guessed it, looks to the world and shows love. As much as we might think of our position, be it personally or as a continent as not having much to give, God has given us something with which we can give.
It is this transforming mind-set that should enable us as Africans, even more so as Christians in Africa to see this project as our own. To give of what we can to such a campaign because that is what we are called to do. The University is ours, it will be of service to us and ours and so it must be on us to rise up and give of what we can to the campaign. And as the University rises and grows our working with it will be of great service to those around us and even to ourselves. After all that is the brilliance of a crowd funder; your little plus my little makes enough to get the job done.