Hope, I believe this entire partnership is a gift from God to us because it allows us to enhance our branding while doing something beneficial in a small, measurable locale where we have a partnership opportunity.
We can offer assistance to our sister organizations, OICI and IFESH, in reinitiating or expanding existing or past programs in Sierra Leone. That would address educational and employment needs in Sierra Leone and enhance our relationship with these two organizations. We have past partners , such as MedShare, Books for Africa and Habitat for Humanity, who would have no problem focusing on Sierra Leone. Moreover, we have connections in the United states with organizations that could be persuaded to seek funding for programs in Sierra Leone.
We have gained a reputation on corporate social responsibility through the Global Sullivan Principles. With the Chinese preparing to make major investments in the country, we have an opportunity to use our relationship in Sierra Leone to foster discussions leading to an agreement on Chinese CSR in that country – the first time our Trilateral dialogue will have made a quantifiable contribution.
We have the Afripolitan program that you conceived, which encourages contributions and volunteerism. With a notable Afripolitan as the face of the effort, we can go full force in encouraging people to do what they can to help Sierra Leone progress. As so many African-Americans taking the DNA test are identified with Sierra Leone (such as our chairman), it gives these people something to act on. This would be especially helpful for our youth efforts since it could involve large number of college students who will have a solid reason to be allied with our organization.
We have the capacity to do some other programs. For example, we have the ability to conduct entrepreneur training to help Sierra Leoneans take better advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Also, we could duplicate our SPLASH water program in Sierra Leone, although I would maintain the initial proposed program in Ondo State, Nigeria. When we initiate the Diaspora investment program, it could be used to identify investment funds in America for fundable projects. Additional programs means additional staff tied to in-country work. As they would not be in our office, it doesn’t cause logistical issues here, and they are on notice that their tenure is grant-dependent. Thus, our employee load would not be extended without funding.
In short, we have every reason for the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation to partner with the Gondobay Manga Foundation for the benefit of one of the world’s poorest countries, as well as the mutual enhancement of our two organizations. The public relations benefit long-term could be significant for both organizations.
This would not prevent us from doing the events we do, such as the Sullivan Summits, forums, dinners and reception. Our advocacy would still be general, and for all intents and purposes, we would still operate on behalf of the continent as a whole. I strongly urge we explore a partnership in this regard.