Hub trains community mediators to access crowdfunding

Access to seed funding makes a huge difference for small community projects. A trained mediator can help others to run effective crowdfunding campaigns.

Crowdfunding, the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people is still in its infancy in Namibia.

Since 2017, we have had Namstarter, a local crowdfunding platform for the Havana community – developed by RLabs Namibia, another Namibia University of Science and Technology project funded by the Embassy of Finland.

For those who want to attract crowd funders outside the Namstarter space – or attract more visitors to Namstarter – there are thousands of online platforms on offer. Through sites such as Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Causes, one can reach millions of people all over the world. But how to know where to go, what to write, and what kinds of images to post?

A new training concept now answers precisely these questions. Together with Aalto University (Finland), The Inclusive and Collaborative Local Tech Innovation Hub has developed a programme to train tech mediators from urban and rural communities. The mediators learn to establish and run crowdfunding campaigns for their communities.

A 5-day pilot of the training took place in Windhoek recently. It was attended by five people from Windhoek’s informal settlement of Havana – the home of the Namstarter community – and by four people from San settlements in the rural areas.

The training started with an introduction to persuasive photography and videography. The participants then applied their learnings in Havana the next day, where they were tasked to capture photos and videos for their crowdfunding campaigns. With the help of the facilitators, their ideas were turned into production-ready material. After the field day in Havana, the photos and videos were edited by the participants assisted by the facilitators.

The week will result in two crowdfunding campaigns on the famous crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. One campaign will be seeking crowdfunding for Havana’s Namstarter community and another – going under the name of Sanstarter – will be seeking crowdfunding for projects by the Namibian San communities.

The training was well-received by the participants, as captured by their comments afterwards.

Ms Maggy Kamueze, Namstarter Secretary, said: “It was very useful because it was educational and it gave me a new outlook on how to do things on the website. I can now assist the community on how to create awareness about problems affecting them or their businesses to the outside world.”

Mr. Onesmus Shetunyenga, Namstarter Chairperson, said: “The workshop was very helpful. I was taught the skills on how to capture quality images and videos to create a positive impact on our projects and to attract a lot of people onto our website. We were also taught on how to communicate effectively to our possible donors and investors.”

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