This is what we came up with for Evans’ Conservation Project on Rusinga Island. Evans has a tree nursery on his farm, and the local community are busy planting thousands of trees. The work is mainly tree plantjng and forest protection to allow natural regeneration. The forest protection is done on public land owned by the forestry ministry.
Evans has about 15 people working as volunteer forest guards and 4 people working in the nursery. In a place where there is no social security, it’s difficult to do such a project without paying people. The main problem is how to do a project involving multiple people and avoid making an organization that controls the money.
It’s really important to point out that it’s not Evans that we don’t trust! Together with Evans we’re designing a system to be used anywhere, and we need to make sure it can’t be hijacked by someone who will set up an organization, take in loads of money and then pay a bare minimum to a few people and keep the rest for himself.
Let’s say in the place in question we need to pay 40 dollars a month for a person to do say, 10 hours a week of work in the project (the numbers don’t matter in this context). With 19 people working and various expenses, we’re talking about easily 1000 dollars a month, and if it was being done by a “normal” charity org we would be looking at easily 10 times that. Such incomes would surely attract parasites.
So instead… we have project workers. They are paid by their own sponsors. Sponsors don’t throw money into the bottomless pit of an NGO, they send it directly to the workers on the ground.
Project workers have a much better life than Organization workers. For one thing most workers for orgs are outsiders anyway. Our system has no outsiders unless the people decide they need one, raise the money to pay for them and then employ them. That’s a very different power relationship.
- Anyone can start a project. If they have a good idea they will attract workers and sponsors.
- Workers can just do the work and get paid, if that’s all they want to do.
- Workers can, if their sponsors agree, move on to a different project or even start their own.
The website will
- have facilities to enable all of these possibilities
- host the accounts for the project
- Have blogs, discussion groups and other comms to facilitiate the full communication between sponsors, recipients and project creators.