Participatory philanthropy is what the organisation The Nourafchan Foundation (TNF), is using to bridge gaps between communities and revoltuionising the way we practise our philanthropic activities.
It is well-known the act of charity can be a rewarding and satisfying act. However, what makes TNF stand out from a long line of organisations, is its emphasis on social and economic impact. Based in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums, TNF focuses their aim on improving human conditions through sustainable and stable initiatives. At the TNF, it chooses to go the extra mile through philanthropic tourism; a movement that establishes connections, creates treasured memories and offers an immersive experience for those looking to donate.
So, philanthropic tourism?
The idea is to offer people the chance to get more involved with causes that matter to them. Essentially, it reflects our increased awareness of world issues that simply makes donating, not as gratifying as it formerly was, to satisfy our increasing concern. At TNF, people are given the opportunity to connect with communities, and help contribute positively to those living in extreme poverty.
As we become increasingly aware of our lifestyle choices and a need to adjust certain habits such as; the food we eat or the clothes we purchase, it is also extending to way we travel.
So why fly with TNF?
To be involved in sustainable, economical and immersive experiences that are carried out to the highest levels of efficiency is what the TNF hope to achieve. They want people to see that they can help contribute to their cause and maintain priorities like, education and health care. For TNF, they wish to be the platform for people seeking their philanthropic drive. They therefore, rely on participants to be completely involved with the planning, execution and improvement of philanthropic initiatives.
This participatory framework allows contributors to come up with various creative ideas like a community project. When considering the impact of philanthropic work, it is extremely important to assess the needs of the community that you are travelling into; based in Kibera TNF achieve this, and in essence makes their aim distinctive from other multinational organisations. Rather than be given an option for voluntary work there is the opportunity for a more tailored experience, which if successful can be replicated elsewhere.
The Nour Maji Water Project
It is access to water that is significantly affecting Kibera (and other similar communities) and becoming a daily struggle for families. These families will either have to spend a considerable amount of water availability or otherwise encounter long, tedious and harsh journeys back and forth from their next water source. This means that families that have to pay school tuition fees or supplies are put in an incredibly challenging position, and more children end up not attending school, which can cause long-term effects.
Long-time donator for TNF Robert Flaxman, expressed his keen interest in getting more involved and an idea for a project that addressed the water issue was in development. By being an active part of the process the positive and powerful effect it has for both the recipient and participator, as the video highlights, is a changing experience. It is bridging the gap and bringing people closer together, that allows more understanding of the situation at hand; which is what Flaxman achieved whilst out there, and proved to be so fundamentally important in the water project creation.
The water project helps with;
- Improved access to clean and affordable water
- More children attending school
- A borehole installed at the school so that water costs will eventually go down
- Prevention of long and dangerous travels to water sources which are often undertaken by children
The sustainable borehole that has been installed, comes with positive development for the school, students and the surrounding community. It also paves the way for a clean water initiative, which otherwise had traces of typhoid and cholera, and will allow the water to be extracted, distributed and sold at a subsidized price. The resulting additional revenue, will provide financial stability for the school, and be able to cater to the needs of their pupils (some of who are orphans) such as uniform costs, supplies, and lunches. In the long run, the savings from the borehole (around $7000 a year in water fees) will be used to either produce another borehole elsewhere, or on other projects within the school. Ultimately, the most beneficial outcome is more children attending school and getting an education.
The role that active participants play, in comparison to passive participators, is a necessity for TNF as the engagement and understanding are of paramount importance, to identifying appropriate solutions to the situation at hand. At TNF their focus on progressing philanthropic travel has provided a direct way and answer for people who like to say, “how can I help?”